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New York Police Officers to Begin Wearing Body Cameras in Pilot Program (nytimes.com)
299 points by siculars on Sept 4, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 200 comments



This will turn out to be the most important technology news of the year. I live in a lower Manhattan, and as a well-dressed white person, my interactions with police are invariably polite and deferential (including when I got a ticket for running a red light on a Citibike last month).

But I know from friends that those same police officers become totally different people when in a different environment (particularly uptown and in poorer Brooklyn neighborhoods) and especially when dealing with people of color. There is bullying, there is haughtiness, and there is often a complete lack of respect.

Video cameras can change that. The knowledge that any citizen can file a complaint about an unnecessarily hostile interaction means that police officers will begin to act the way they are supposed to, as the only members of our community to whom we grant a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force.

I also believe that video cameras will have a positive impact on police, increasing the respect they receive from the community and their self-respect, and enabling them to prove that they are often in the right around contested confrontations.


Living in South Brooklyn, maybe 10% of my interactions with police have been pleasant. FFS, me and my boss got pulled over by undercover police just last month on a bullshit pretense that we didn't signal the turn, which he did 100%. He was wearing a suit and I was dressed casual.

We were pulled out of the car, his car was searched without consent and I was searched without consent. I got into an argument with the cop because they violated our rights and the Sergeant kept on going on and on about how an unsignaled left turn is probable cause. Fuck that shit, we weren't doing anything wrong and are far from looking like drug dealers or gang bangers. What were we doing before the stop? Boss stopped by a bank, then we got in the car, stopped a few blocks away at a cell phone store where I bought something, I got back in the car and we got pulled over on the first turn.

I for one can't wait for police to have body cameras, because then it stops being your word against the cops. And that changes everything, it gives leeway for people that want to fight these kind of daily infringements on our rights.


I once was driving down Nostrand Ave and there were two unmarked cars stopped side-by-side blocking both lanes in the middle of the street. I slowed, stopped, sat there for 5 seconds waiting and then leaned on the horn. The car in the outer lane went and I continued forward. He then ran up behind me and turned on lights. He immediately came over annoyed that I had the nerve to honk at him and told me he was writing me a ticket because my passenger wasn't wearing her seat belt (she was -- he didn't even look in the car). I was able to diffuse the situation but it is tiny little abuses of power like this that lead to bigger ones.


And that's exactly what I'm talking about, this kind of bullshit would stop if they had body cameras. Plainclothes detectives in NYC are even worse than regular cops, they're arrogant dickheads that think they're above the law.


It's common practice to have dash cameras in many "police abuse" and fraud prone areas Ex: Russia. It may be time for us all to invest in similar technology.


You don't know what you're talking about. The dash cams in Russia are there for fraud alone, not police abuse.

How many dash cam videos have you seen of Russian cops asking for bribes? Not that many I bet. How many have you seen of someone trying to pull off an insurance scam? More than a few.

It isn't because police aren't asking for bribes - it's because people are probably afraid to publicize the bad things the police do, whereas they are okay publicizing the bad things a random poor scammer/druggie does.


Since I've never been to Russia, I have to base my information on those who presumably do know what they're talking about.

http://www.businessinsider.com/why-russian-drivers-have-dash...

  In a post on Animal, Russian ex-pat and journalist Marina Galperina offers 
  a few reasons, which boil down to dangerous driving conditions and the 
  unreliability of Russian traffic police.

http://www.wired.com/2013/02/russian-dash-cams/

  The sheer size of the country, combined with lax — and often corrupt — 
  law enforcement, and a legal system that rarely favors first-hand accounts 
  of traffic collisions has made dash cams all but a requirement for motorists.

http://mashable.com/2013/02/15/why-russians-have-dash-cams-c...

  The Russian Highway Patrol is known throughout their land for brutality, corruption, 
  extortion and making an income on bribes. Dash-cams won’t protect you from being 
  extorted for cash, because your ass shouldn’t have been speeding. It will however 
  keep you safer from drunks in uniform, false accusations and unreasonable bribe 
  hikes
http://www.rferl.org/content/dash-cams-russia-fighting-corru...

  Motorists use these dash cams as a tool to help fight their corner 
  against Russia's notoriously corrupt traffic police as well as 
  against scammers trying to extort money out of drivers.
And.

  Dozorov recounts one incident involving an inspector, which occurred 
  months ago when police officers stopped his car. "He'd accused me of
  going through a red light," Dozorov says. "It was enough for me to say: 'I'm 
  not going to argue. Let's have a look at the dash cam.' At that point the 
  inspector said he’d probably made a mistake. He didn't even bother looking. 
  He said sorry and left."


To be honest, I'm sure that in those cases the camera view would be 'obscured' for a moment so that in a court case it cannot be proved that your boss did indeed use his turn signal.


As a Brooklynite who has been written up for an open-container which was in fact a cup of coffee[0], this is also my first thought. But.. the stats in Rialto are encouraging. It seems as though the presence of the camera has a general effect beyond its use as reference material.[1]

[0] I threw it in a trash can on the corner, officer pulled up 10 feet later, said it was beer, found a beer can in the trash.. Refused to look at the bodega security footage from the place 5 blocks up where I had just bought it)

[1] http://online.wsj.com/articles/what-happens-when-police-offi...


The way to handle that is to stop automatically giving the police officer's statements more weight than the accused. If there was a camera present at the scene and for whatever reason there's no footage to back up the officer's statement, then there should be dismissal due to lack of evidence.


Too many of these and a pattern emergees for that officer


Yes, but innocent until proven guilty and all that.


Many police cars have dash cams that would have captured the signal. Were you able to press the issue and get a copy of that recording?


Dash cams are historically "broken" and footage goes "missing". I expect the same to happen here.


Friend in high school got pulled over with me in the car for speeding. The officer said he was doing 79km/hr in a 50 zone. (He was going a little fast but not that fast). My friend, having been pulled over before, asked to see the radar gun reading and the cop told him "I deleted it."

Fortunately, my friend contested it in court and won because the police are supposed to show you the evidence if you ask for it.


This is where body cams change things - the police can lose footage all they want. The fact they did will be hugely prejudicial to court case outcomes. It means good cops get the results, and to boot some immunity to complaints from people just looking to avoid a legitimate ticket.

Its a net gain for everyone.


Yeah this - unless an officer can prove he was right by showing the camera footage, unfair cases can go right out the window. A lot of evidence in smaller cases (like speeding tickets) are based on 'because the officer saw it', which IMO is no longer valid - since a lot of police officers are falsely handing out tickets and whatnot.


"He was going a little fast but not that fast"

Ok, so he was only a "little" bit selfishly endangering everyone else on the road.

Your friend is an asshole, and the cop is doing me a favour by doing whatever he can to your friend. Good on him.


The legal system in the United States (and most first world nations) is built around the idea that it is far better to let an illegal act go unpunished than it is to take away the rights of an innocent person. Is it really worth throwing away that fundamental principle for something as petty as a speeding ticket?


Speeding isn't petty. It's entirely grotesquely selfish and arrogant. Our democratic system of elected representatives of our society has made it clear to you that you are expected to drive no faster than a limit. You have decided you're better than that and you can drive faster, and fuck everyone else, no matter what the consequences. I say ban for life anyone who speeds.


I think pretty much 100% of drivers have broken some speed limit at some time. So you are suggesting banning all drivers for ever?


"Our democratic system of elected representatives of our society has made it clear to you that you are expected to drive no faster than a limit. "

Actually, society has made clear exactly the opposite. Speeding is the classic example of illegal but not abhorrent behavior.


You don't think it's weird that recklessly operating a motor vehicle on public streets isn't abhorrent? I agree with you: it obviously isn't. But...


Recklessly doing so is probably abhorrent, but people don't think speeding is reckless. Society as a whole (in the US at least) believes it can safely traverse roads at higher rates than the speed limit. Society as a whole is likely wrong, but that's irrelevant :)

Society also thinks it can safely multitask, and is good at being on a cell phone and driving at the same time. It is wrong about that too, but it still makes the behavior not abhorrent :)

At the same time, the same Society seems happy to excoriate anyone who causes a problem (death, accident, whatever) while doing either of the above. Go figure.


If you hit somebody while on your phone, that's proof you're doing it wrong. But see, when I drive with a phone, I do it right and don't hit people. It's those other morons we need to worry about, not me.


I always wonder why the traffic lights in Germany (and other countries I guess) are operated in a way that you have green all the way when you drive 10-15km/h above the speed limit. Depending on the time of day.

You can get a ticket for being 1km/h above the limit but you only get (permanent record) points in Flensburg if you're 21km/h above the limit within city limits. I guess everybody is fine if drivers go above the limit up to 20km/h. It seems to me the speed limit in Germany are always set with that buffer (10%) in mind.


This is the problem. People know the law, but they justify their ignoring it with some vague ideas of "seems to me".


They don't expect people to stay under a limit. They set limits based on what they expect 15% of people to break, actually. At least, that's how it works when they put any thought into it at all. Sometimes they just assign an arbitrary default based on the type of road it is.

Congress designated a national speed limit of 55 mph in the 70s to conserve energy. Now many states are looking to raise it (several have already).


A little bit over the limit also gets you a ticket. Cops aren't judges, they don't get to choose the punishment, only enforce the law.


You're joking right? Anyone who's watched the lowering of speed limits knows they're set 10MPH too slow so that the cops can say you were definitively speeding.

So, no, his friend isn't "an asshole". He was merely approaching the speed he should be driving.

The US has far too many laws. Many exist to simply ensure a consistent stream of income and people for the growing police/court/incarceration complex and their public employee unions. The laws are enforced inequitably - on some portions of the population far more than others (what happened to "EQUAL JUSTICE"?) We could remove 80% of them tomorrow and see no change.


Ah yes, and you have never exceeded the speed limit yourself. We all believe that. Add yourself to your list of assholes.


It was undercover plainclothes detectives, so no dashcam. It would have been his word against mine, and the worst that would have happened if I pursued it would have been a notice stashed away somewhere that would have accomplished nothing.


That does suggest that you think, that the video camera evidence won't be tampered with. Coming from a country with no confidence in our police force, I would not have that confidence.


For a minor misuse of police power it'll likely be more effort than it's worth. They'd not only need to get rid of the offending footage, but also explain the absence of footage from that time (or replace it with something else).


Arguing with a police officer is a surefire way to get arrested. Assert your rights in court, not on the street.


It's not like it's much better in court. In court it's often your word against theirs (and they have much more sympathy from the judges, prosecutors etc, because, essentially, they are working all together).

Plus, this notion leads to a servant mindset. Why should "arguing with a police officer" be a "surefire way to get arrested" (and worse, tasered, beaten up, etc).

Arguing should be totally normal and accepted -- and it is that way in most western countries -- cops don't just bark orders and except mindless obedience "or else". Of course I'm talking about plain arguing (as in talking, proposing arguments, etc, related to what they tell you). Not swearing, or fighting them (which could justifiable get you arrested).

Heck, even the "don't try to get out of the car when you are stopped by a traffic cop or you'll get shot" is a complete BS, that only happens in the US.

No cop in Germany, Sweden, Holland, Britain, Italy etc would even think to shot you for getting out of your car to check why you were stopped. That's what they do at bank robbers in hot pursuit, not traffic offenders...


> Germany, Sweden, Holland, Britain, Italy etc would even think to shot you for getting out of your car to check why you were stopped.

Neither would most cops in the U.S. The cops in my town (Wilmington, DE) might, but then again the murder rate here is 30-40 times higher than in Munich and above that of such safe places as Kingston, Jamaica.


It is not a servant mindset when police are also held accountable for patterns in their behavior. They are public servants but at the same time they have authority to arrest you until people try to figure out what happened. This will waste a lot of time out of your day but it's the "security protocol" that society has established. Humans don't have perfect knowledge and the best thing you can do is cooperate without causing extra drama for everybody. You are more likely to avoid arrest and furthermore even if arrested you are more likely to win later.

As a side note: consider that having very little money saved is like operating without a safety net when you get into a car accident or something gets stolen or breaks or whatnot. Similarly when you cannot afford to lose any time, I think you'll react much more badly to being arrested etc. and cops don't care about that.

http://www.flexyourrights.org/

Not every cop is a lawyer and you stand to gain from asserting your rights while recording yourself on a voice recorder. There are so many different ones you can buy, or use the car's dashcam, or both.

Germany, Sweden etc also have very low rates of gun ownership by civilians. If USA insists on gun ownership, then these are the consequences.

Disclosure: I am a white male living in NYC and I have never been even close to arrested for anything.


> That's what they do at bank robbers in hot pursuit

No, they wouldn't. That would be putting civilians at risk. I don't know about the UK, but for the rest of the mentioned countries it wouldn't happen unless there is anything else to it.


Never [politely] arguing with police officers is a surefire way to reinforce their belief that they can get away with anything. I wish more people had that courage, but I understand why most people don't most of the time.


Verbally asserting your rights or non-cooperation, while being physically non-threatening and compliant, is the right solution, generally.

"No, officer, I do not consent to a search of my vehicle.", said repeatedly, makes it much more clear in court later that the search, which may have been conducted without reasonable suspicion, was also done without consent, and thus the evidence is inadmissible. You're still probably going to jail if they find a suitcase of contraband while searching the car, but jail > conviction.


Sometimes the need to be asserted on the street in order for them to be violated and hold up in court.


Assert you rights, on and off the street. If you give them up on the street you may find you don't have them in the court room.


That's precisely why I let it go. Had there been evidence I could have used, I would have later pursued it.


> This will turn out to be the most important technology news of the year.

I live in Manhattan as well, and I used to think this would help.

But then Eric Garner[0] happened. The video evidence there was about as clear as you can get, and still it was amazing how apologetic the responses I saw from both NYPD and other LEOs in other jurisdictions (e.g. /r/ProtectAndServe)[1][2].

And look at Ferguson. We have no shortage of evidence of the atrocities that have been committed there. The problem isn't just pictorial evidence. The problem is actually turning that evidence into action.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Eric_Garner

[1] https://pay.reddit.com/r/ProtectAndServe/comments/2b4on3/i_d...

[2] Note that this particular thread was later linked from /r/Bad_Cop_No_Donut so the current state is not representative of what it was when it was initially posted - previously, the comments defending the NYPD had far more support (votes-wise), and many of the comments defending Garner are from readers of the latter subreddit.


And this is where the innocent geeks realize that the biggest problems to solve are not technological, but political.

No amount of tech will change the fact that if LEOs treat themselves like a gang and the courts side with them through complicit inaction, the only recourse for the people is potentially violent pushback.


Violent pushback just gives them an excuse to crack down. Nonviolent pushback is ignored.

The only way to win is to plaster the media with enough doubt-proof examples of misconduct to convince the silent majority that there's a problem. Cameras are an important first step along that path. They aren't the last step, but they are the first step.

Next comes journalism, advocacy, leaking of "lost" footage, campaigning to put restrictions on police testimony in the absence of "lost" footage, penalties for policemen caught breaking the law (perhaps another cycle of journalism and advocacy before this happens), and (eventually) policemen everywhere learning to abandon the slew of shady practices that have crept into their routine.


As others pointed violent pushback might not work. It won't work unless it is total and simultaneous pushback. As in at the end of the pushback all the LEOs will be removed and replaced with supposedly better LEOs. I don't see this mythical "revolution" ever taking place.

Now what might work is a slow burn PR effort that will take years. This mean footage of police abuses being pushed to the front. Sharing footage of police killing pets (dogs) without reason. Sharing them abusing their power. Upvoting stories about police violence.

Most importantly, these stories have to involve middle class and higher non-minorities. Those voters, still, as a majority hold the opinion that "police is here to protect us". They have to be exposed to the other side of that message for a while to change their opinion. They can only hold up so long but after seeing innocent children burned by flashbang grenades in no-knock raids. Peaceful family dogs shot in their own yard in front of the children by cop who mistakenly went to the wrong house and so on.


You're right that the police need to stop being so insular and start treating the public with some respect.

"Violent pushback" is not going to help though, it would almost certainly make things worse by making the police's hardline tactics look justified ("look at what we're fighting against!"). It would cause the general population to side (even more) with the police, and would probably result in the police doubling down rather than backing off.

As a start, the politicians need to actually hold the police department accountable, and stop deferring to them by default. [I rather liked Bloomberg as a mayor, but the way he seemed to always defer to Ray Kelly and let the latter get away with anything he wanted (which was inevitably horrid) was downright disgusting.]


Agree technology is insufficient alone to cause change, but I'm pretty sure that the police killing Eric Gargner wouldn't even be a story without the video. The cops would write the report as resisting arrest and that would be it. Some people would be pissed, but not on the level that happened after the video was widely available.

Wouldn't the Michael Brown situation be far clearer if there was a video of the actual shooting? How far away was he? Was he backing up? How did a shot get fired in the police car? Side h actually touch the officer? Etc etc etc. If the facts were indisputable it would be a different conversation.


Civil wars are bad. You don't want one.


It will certainly take more than cameras, but the cameras should at least help. There will also have to be actual accountability, as in, police officers will have to get into legal trouble for things they do on camera.


There is an argument that the cop would have been more likely to not have roughed up Eric Garner if he knew he was being recorded by admissible means.


Not to mention the fact that the perceived lack of action in one particular case does not accurately predict what happens when it turns into hundreds of cases.


The more troubling aspect of this story that no one seems to be talking about is that these cameras are being introduced because somewhere the presumption of innocence on the part of citizens is being abridged. We shouldn't have to require police to wear cameras to prove our innocence. The courts should be more stringent in their requirements for evidence in proving our guilt instead. Police testimony counts too much and too little evidence is required to have unconstitutional stop-and-frisks hold up in court.


It shouldn't be this way, but sadly it is. At least in NYC, a cops word is bond basically. Body cameras will help curb this bullshit.


So where is the protection from all their video taping being used for data mining purposes? I can see a future where their cameras are on all the time or nearly all the time. This indirect recording would treated similarly to how they now treat license plate scanners and I do not doubt some police are actively hoping they can.

So yeah while its nice that cops will have to wear them there needs to be sufficient protection from extending what they are used for.

I don't want to live in a world where every cop I walk by, see or don't see, records me.


Every cop you walk by is already recording you, in a forgetful, hostile, and potentially hallucinatory medium.


While typically a bad thing (see, the unreliability of eye-witness testimony) it isn't always. It is easy to imagine a near-future where all police lapel-cams feed into a centralized database where facial recognition can be used to retro-actively follow individuals throughout the city. It is just as easy to imagine ways that this could be abused.

This sort of tracking can and is already be done manually in relatively small areas using CCTV footage (airports, malls, hotels), but expect to see it become "a thing" for entire cities. "Quantity has a quality all its own."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Mahmoud_Al-Mab...

"The chief of Dubai Police Dhahi Khalfan Tamim said that there are 648 hours of video films in which the 27 suspected persons are appearing.[110]"


The downsides are hypotheticals about the police potentially nabbing you based on an extreme ability to find out what you did, while the upsides involve current, actual, real stories about the police nabbing you by simply making up violations and then getting them to stick.

I'm not a big fan of surveillance, but it seems to me that being able to retroactively follow individuals throughout the city could be a good tradeoff if it means the police can never again send an innocent person to prison by planting drugs on him after arresting him for something he didn't even do.


> The downsides are hypotheticals about the police potentially nabbing you based on an extreme ability to find out what you did, while the upsides involve current, actual, real stories about the police nabbing you by simply making up violations and then getting them to stick.

The problem is having a huge pile of incomplete evidence makes it easier to make up violations and get them to stick.

Illegitimate prosecutions are built on confirmation bias. The amount of false positive evidence against you is proportional to the amount of surveillance you're under. More government cameras only produce more false positive evidence against you. Meanwhile government cameras can't really help you because your public defender doesn't have the resources to look through the footage and regardless any strong evidence of your innocence will have been the victim of a camera malfunction which "isn't suspicious" because it "happens all the time."

The better solution is for citizens to carry cameras and to have strong laws protecting the right of citizens to record the police. That way the footage can't "disappear" as easily and the recordings are decentralized so you aren't making it easier to fabricate an illegitimate prosecution out of the biased selection of false positives from big data.


Ah, I see, the indexed set is much much smaller with primitive police report technology than it could trivially become under an automated surveillance regime.


yeah, but he's talking about automated indexing by a database. not really relevant.


The solution is to keep the recordings locked and unviewed until the court needs them as evidence.


Great idea.


In case you're wondering why you were downvoted, it's not that people disagree with you, but that people don't want to see comments of agreement or disagreement without anything else to say.


In the UK, for the last 10 years, you have been recorded almost all the time in urban centres by CCTV. The end of the world (or even mild abuse of the system) hasn't yet materialised.


There are countless examples of CCTV abuse in the UK and beyond:

http://library.queensu.ca/ojs/index.php/surveillance-and-soc... (UK) http://library.queensu.ca/ojs/index.php/surveillance-and-soc... (Norway, replicated in the UK a couple of years ago, but I can't find it offhand) http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13600869855469#.V... (More meta piece on it)

CCTV hasn't exactly been the panacea that it was made out to be. In fact, councils and private companies have gone ahead with CCTV systems despite the fact that the cost/benefit is dubious at best, and a pretext for reducing staff numbers in a significant number of cases.

tl;dr - Not the end of the world, but not great either, and has paved the way for a number of subsequent surveillance modes.


    > There are countless examples of CCTV abuse in the UK
OK, but you've linked to a paper on CCTV operators being bored and ineffective, a list of papers discussing the moral implications, and finally a 16-year-old piece that claims to have substantiated some of the public's concerns.

That feels quite a long way from "countless examples".


Councils routinely abuse powers under RIPA. Such abuses include spying on families the check whether they live in catchment areas for schools; whether they live in an area where they're claiming parking permits; checking whether people are throwing non-recyclables into recycling bins; etc etc.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8868757/Council...

(That article kind of misses the point of RIPA - councils always did that kind of snooping, but now they're required to work so a standard and are somewhat accountable.)


"spying on families the check whether they live in catchment areas for schools; whether they live in an area where they're claiming parking permits; checking whether people are throwing non-recyclables into recycling bins"

People doing any of those things are absolute assholes and I'm really thankful councils are using CCTV to try to catch them.


I seem to recall lots of reports of what should at least count as 'mild abuse' e.g. voyeurism.


I've had a couple of interactions with the NYPD, and it's never been polite or deferential. It wouldn't surprise me if it's on average worse for non-Asian minorities, but don't think that being white will keep you safe.

Bodycams can help protect all of us from the cops.


How well-off you look probably factors in.


As a white male, I've experienced nothing but respect from police officers. Of course I'm horrified by the reality of stop-and-frisk, but NYPD is far from a force of racist assholes. Body cams will definitely help, but let's not classify them hastily.


> As a white male, I've experienced nothing but respect from police officers

> NYPD is far from a force of racist assholes

i don't think the first statement adds any sort of confirmation to the second (i.e. you literally can tell nothing about how racist nypd are based solely on your interactions with them).


As a white male, I've routinely been disrespected and stopped extraneously in California, Massachusetts, and New York, without further ticketing or incident, just merely as a form of harassment.

I'm inclined to believe that gender and race have little to do with the dealings of a power-hungry organization, and even more inclined to believe that personal (anecdotal) race/age/gender has even less to do with understanding the power-grab that's going on between military groups and the rapidly growing 'paramilitary' that people seem to believe various PDs are growing into.


As a white male, I disagree with your belief that race has little to do with police interactions.

http://www.nyclu.org/content/stop-and-frisk-data

There is much, much more data as well. It's rather frightening that it has taken this long for us to do anything about it.


You're misunderstanding my intended point.

I meant to illuminate the fact that a person of the same race and creed can have vastly different (anecdotal) experiences.

The link you provided shows me two things : Ethnic groups are the chunk of victims (I know this, and it's terrible), and the numbers are rising.

I want my focus to be on that second point. Police are acting out of bounds in recent history. The racial problem is not new. I don't condone it, and it's terrible, but the times' are changing, and police are a problem now for everyone regardless of the racial split. The percentages may stay somewhat static, but check out the difference illustrated by that link in sheer numbers over time! Yes, ethnic groups are disproportionately targeted, but yes, everyone is being targeted for these searches with greater frequency now.


"As a white male, I've routinely been disrespected and stopped extraneously in California, Massachusetts, and New York, without further ticketing or incident, just merely as a form of harassment."

How do you people manage to have so many interactions with the police? I'm 29, white, living in San Francisco for five years, grew up in London. I have literally never even spoke to a police officer in my entire life.


Go to places where it's unavoidable. Courthouses, high security events, political rallies. Any place where the consensus is that they "need to keep the peace".

Live in a place that is considered high crime by the surrounding communities. Be a different color/religion/orientation/gender than the police officer nearest you. Be financially distraught.

Be poor, and have no where to live.

Live flashy within the law. Drive a fast looking car. Paint it red. Put some loud (but entirely legal) exhaust system on it. Lower it to the limits of legality, and put some big chrome wheels on it.

Be empathetic and understanding towards criminals and the reasons they became labeled as such. That's the best way to meet a police officer, probably.

I've never said something this honest to another individual on hacker news before : I envy you who can avoid the police. I'm not familiar with London, but it's miraculous here in the states.


If they're not a force of racist assholes, why do they carry out the racist asshole policy of stop and frisk? Are they just spineless dweebs "just following orders"?


It's almost as if you can't classify the whole by the actions of a subset.


Isn't stop-and-frisk the actions of the whole?


AFAIK stop and frisk is a NYC thing. Also, there are many cops who aren't on 'stop and frisk' duty.


Yes, it's a NYC thing. We're talking about NYC. And perhaps not all of the NYPD is on a duty that directly involves stop and frisk, but how many enable it? How many have stood up to fight it? How many have resigned rather than be part of an organization that officially does something so obviously racist and unconstitutional?


It goes both ways. Average citizens tend to behave a little better when they know they're being filmed, and sometimes spurious complaints about officers are dropped when people watch the video of their interaction.


The NYPD is the most racist and abusive police force that I have encountered in the United States. I'm really looking forward to the cameras.


More than the LAPD? Watts Riots? Rodney King? Or is it just that the LAPD is closer to the limelight?

The problem with US police almost everywhere is that they have been corrupted, both by big corporations and the war on drugs.

I'm not sure if it's possible to clean house, since the judiciary is likely similarly corrupt and police and judiciary support each other.


The devil will be in the policy:

Will there be a PRESUMPTION that the civilian is telling the truth if there is no video? Will officers ACTUALLY be disciplined for not having recorded an incident?

Also, it sounds like from reading this story, that should someone contest the events in a police report, officers will get to go back, review the video and get to change their story depending on how damaging the video is...


It's not just police officers, but really anyone is subject to prejudice.

I was sitting in a hotel once (I wasn't staying there), and some thug-gy teens came in asking if they could use the phone to make the call. They were denied the privilege so they came to me to ask if I could let them use their phone. I let them use the phone under the condition that I hold it and put it on speaker. No one picked up so I went to the hotel staff and asked them if they could let them use their phone. To my surprise, the staff started to apologize to me and said they'd called security.

Point of the story is that almost everyone is prejudiced against thug-looking-people and it's often misattributed to racism.


Or that peoples perceptions of "thuggishness" are partly based on racism? http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306095117.ht...


"Point of the story is that almost everyone is prejudiced against thug-looking-people and it's often misattributed to racism."

I don't think I follow you here. I think that most folks concerned about racism in these situations would say that race is a big factor in how folks define "thug looking". (I'd be willing to bet that for a whole lot of people, there's a range of intermediate dress/appearance/behavior where they'd say a white person was not "thug looking" but an equivalent-looking black person was not.)


I literally cannot understand your second paragraph. Way too many vague pronouns and probably typos.


Teens asked to use hotel's phone, hotel staff said no. Teens asked if they could use the OP's phone, he let them but nobody picked up. OP asked hotel staff if they could use the hotel's phone. Staff told OP they already called security on the teens because they are "thuggy" looking. At least that's how I understood it.


People need to realize that if body cameras don't have public live streams they are entirely negative for the general population. They'll be used against you in court and "strangely malfunction" when they could be used in your favor.

It's very dangerous to give the police complete control over video evidence, which is why I feel body cameras are a misguided attempt at sousveillance. Instead, we should be setting up public live streams in public areas, and controlling the recordings ourselves.


Police enter private homes and businesses of people in the process of rescuing people. They also help in domestic abuse cases and other personal issues that people would not want broadcasted over live stream.

It's important to make the video available to the public but I believe it should only be made available with a court order. Otherwise, people will start to fear calling the police for help because their personal problems will be streaming live to the world.


> It's important to make the video available to the public but I believe it should only be made available with a court order.

This is the same problem. There isn't going to be a court order when you're attempting to prosecute the police.

> Otherwise, people will start to fear calling the police for help because their personal problems will be streaming live to the world.

If people are going to fear calling the police, it's because they murder people and their pets and then prosecute them for their drugs. I fear calling the police because of their brutality and lack of accountability, so I think this is still an upgrade.


The data from previous programs contradicts what you're saying. If that was the case, we would expect the number of complaints to rise while the number of officers punished would drop. This is not what has happened.[1][2][3]

It's possible these reports are mis-representing the situation in some way, so I would love to see how this squares with your claim.

[1] http://voiceofsandiego.org/2014/03/28/fact-check-do-police-c... [2] http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/07/business/wearable-video-ca... [3] http://www.wkrn.com/story/23033687/use-of-body-cameras-decre...


The real question is "which way is the lens pointed?" It's not a profile shot of the officer, twirling his nightstick, that is being recorded. The camera is pointed towards us with the master files being left with the 5-0. But NPYD are sqeaky clean moralists so no bother (1)

Stream them public is a nice idea - but I think we can safely assume that will never happen.

(1) Adrian Schoolcraft secretly recorded his NYPD bretheren who were manipulating crime stats for illegal arrests. 20mins but fascinating http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/414/r...


Everyone, please listen to this This American Life segment, the best public radio segment I have ever heard. Now imagine if he did not have a tape recording. He might still be in the mental hospital the police committed him to. That's the possibility for everyone pulled over today by police without body cameras.


While I think you make a good point, public live streams have downsides as well. I think there's a higher risk of vigilante justice when snippets can become widespread so easily (perhaps without context). There's also the likelihood of police officers viewing things that should be private outside of official business, like identification documents, etc. I listen to local police frequencies often and even with that I hear all sorts of stuff that shouldn't be public knowledge.


Right. Happened in the Boston Marathon Murders.


>"strangely malfunction" when they could be used in your favor.

There is precedent for courts to dismiss cases due to technicalities in police conduct or how evidence was gathered. It seems reasonable for courts (or lawmakers) to establish that lack of video invalidates an arrest.


True, but the bigger problem arises when you need that footage to prosecute a LEO.


The use of police testimony as sacrosanct needs to disappear. Bits or it didn't happen.


It wouldn't have to be public live streams in my view.

Closed circuit transmission to a third-party who assumes liability for missing archives would suffice.


This isn't a very useful proposal, unless there's also a proposal to somehow separate the incentives of the police from the incentives of the party responsible for the recordings.


What incentives would the 3rd party have to destroy recordings? They would be liable, and could be held in contempt.

Presumably they would be paid to record and archive from the LEO feeds, with an expectation of storage durability and availability. That would be their primary incentive.


Exactly. Where I live in Oakland police lapel cameras have been required for a while, but there's never footage when cops are accused of abuse.

Part of the problem is technical, lapel cameras don't have infinite battery and they don't have a wireless connection. That means that the cop has to remember to turn it on and off and he has to upload the video. Both provide the street cops with opportunities to not make video available.

Your public streaming idea isn't really that easy technically. Each cop would have to carry a smartphone with a large battery pack to pull it off.

Then there's the endless footdragging when you try to request the video which provide police management and district attorneys with ways to not make the the video available unless you're really persistent and have a lot of time.


For the camera policy to work, we need cameras that are always on, for the entire shift. Officers should not even be able to turn them off. They should be issued at the beginning of the shift already turned on, and passed in to an independent controller at the end of a shift who downloads the video to an archive that is accessible by citizen petition. If footage of a reported abuse is missing, that should be an automatic guilty.


Indeed, what could be better than having both Big Brother and Little Brother taping your every move!


Huge fines should be imposed for whatever footage is subpoenaed and subsequently found to be "corrupted" or "missing". That's the only way this could work, while still protecting the privacy of the citizens with which police interact.


Then we should all wear body camera.


While most cops are simply doing their jobs like any other profession, there are some who let their power go to their heads. Devices like cameras can help when complaints are received (as long as the cameras can't be tampered with post facto..)

Case in point: girlfriend was in a taqueria in the Upper Haight neighborhood of SF, and witnessed the following. A cop was sitting at a table. A guy walked in, stood in line to pick up a takeout order. He started staring at the cop. Now, the Haight has more than its fair share of weirdos, so a person staring at a cop is nothing new. But the cop decided to take offense at that. Started verbally harassing the guy. Took him outside, threatened to arrest him. All this time, the guy is saying: but I didn't do nothing, man! At one stage, the guy put his hands in his pocket, trying to pull out some ID; and the cop's hand immediately went to his gun, threatening "you don't want to be doing that!". Luckily, the guy took his hand out quickly. After harassing the guy, the cop shoved him and walked away.

GF witnessed the whole thing, and went out to talk to the cop as he was walking away. He just laughed at her, saying "get out of my way" and kept walking.

There were other witnesses too; but it still is basically their word against the cop's, and the SFPD refuses to do anything about it. Had there been a camera[#] on the cop, they would be singing a different tune.

[#] I told her: next time, _video_ the damn thing!


> While most cops are simply doing their jobs like any other profession,

The problem is the following -- those "good" cops doing their job protect the bad cops. The whole "blue code of silence" thing. Those are not good cops doing their job. The are bad cops. If anyone has not spoken out when a colleague has been abusing their power, they have become a bad cop.

One can argue this is just human behaviour -- us vs them. That maybe true but when police have so much more power vs regular citizens, that kind of behaviour is amplified and exaggerated many times over.

To put it another way. A corrupt shoe salesman can only be that dangerous. A corrupt cop can do a lot of damage to a lot of people.

So that is the reason I have essentially stopped saying "oh just a few bad ones, the rest are good and law abiding". I think I moved to the default that all are corrupt and either engage in abuse or cover up of abuse unless I am presented with evidence otherwise.


> I think I moved to the default that all are corrupt and either engage in abuse or cover up of abuse unless I am presented with evidence otherwise.

I sure hope you appreciate the irony of this sentence.


For what its worth she should have filed a report anyway (assuming she didn't because of the perceived futility).

One witness against a cop doesn't count for much, but 2? How about 3? How many individual eye witness complaints do you think it would take to get them to take the incident seriously? How many witnesses were there that day?

Not everyone there will complain but if you don't either then you're part of the problem instead of the solution.


This is really strange - just looking at a cop is enough to get hassled!


You can't stare down a ref in the NBA. Why can you stare down a cop in a restaurant?


I hope this takes off and everyone wins because

1) Less false complaints are filed against cops

2) Cities don't get sued because cops behave better

3) No one gets unlawfully harassed by a cop ever again.

On the other hand, I've seen criminals interacting with cops in person. They do not have an easy job.


> On the other hand, I've seen criminals interacting with cops in person. They do not have an easy job.

Wouldn't that be a positive for the police as well? If a suspect is belligerent, the presence of a camera would help to prove that.


I think criminals have a different mindset than we do. Look at world star and live leaks for example. Being filmed probably encourages them to act worse.


When Rialto, California PD ran it's pilot program it found that both parties tended to behave better knowing there was a camera. 88% drop in complaints against the officer and 60% drop in police officers use of force.[1]

While you'll still have criminals that don't care, there are plenty that do, especially when they know that it's no longer just their word vs the police officer.

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/04/california-poli...


Everybody's heart bleeds red--only difference between criminals and noncriminals is that they are not following some law on the books. Some subset of them are violent, insane, or malicious, but for most crimes it's something that harms nobody in any meaningful way.

The worst part of the current state in America is this creation of an other.


Good. If you are dumb enough to fight a cop you will have no respect for an average citizen and you should be removed from decent society.


You know what makes a criminal different from you? Nothing besides the fact that they broke a law and then got caught. Have you ever broken a law?

You do at least realize you're a racist, right?


> racist

What?


"world star" and "encourages them" is a racist dogwhistle that I'd be happy to translate for you. He meant those "uppity, animalistic black males"

That paired with the attitude that criminals are essentially no different than most people that post here is how I drew that conclusion. Barring extremes like members of organized crime, violent gangs, cartels, etc. of course. Even still, broad strokes don't apply to those organizations but you could definitely make the case that the affiliated develop a more uniquely "criminal" mindset. Keyword being DEVELOP.

Criminality is not inherent, sorry if this makes you uncomfortable.


NY police are murdering people on video already. Will this change things?


It should provide actual evidence, or evidence to the contrary, that the police in NY are murdering people on a regular basis as a matter of policy. All of the footage of police not murdering people is of value as well, after all.


You moved the goalposts on someone else's assertion. No where was "on a regular basis" stated except by you. The recent chokehold death - a banned technique that resulted in a death - is a good example of what the parent was probably talking about.


"are murdering" implies that it continues to happen on an ongoing basis. "on a regular basis" is moving goalposts, but not moving them very far.


"The ny police is murdering..." doesn't make much sense in English. And it has happened more than once. The other time I can think of is when they killed the guy in times square.


The difference between "murdered" and "is/are murdering" is that the "murdering" implies that either it is happening at this very moment (which is clearly not the case here) or it happens on an ongoing basis.


Fair enough - I didn't mean to imply it on the part of the parent but on arguments about police brutality in general, particularly on the internet.


The question is not whether any one lapel cam video might result in action where various random cell phone cam videos have not, but rather, how many such videos in how short a time frame will result in action? If the evening news had a 20 minute montage every night of the days police abuses, people would be calling for Bratton's head on a pike.


It looks like only a small number of officers will have them for the pilot program. But even if widely adopted, I feel like this wont help stop police abuse due to the Blue Code of Silence.

Besides, cameras on squad cars don't prevent racial profiling on the road. I've never been told "you were driving while black, so lets see if you have something illegal in your car."

Instead, I hear: "it didnt look like you were wearing your seatbelt..." or "you were following the car ahead of you too closely..." or "I need to check your window tint" (and i dont even have tinted windows!)

I feel like body cams are just another obstacle for abusive police to maneuver around.


This is a good first step. There needs to be strict punishment for officers who turn off or fail to turn on their cameras when interacting with the public, though. Also, if footage of an incident where an officer was wearing a camera doesn't exist it should be presumed to be exculpatory for the accused.


"I'm sorry about squirting my water bottle at your chest, officer, but I really can't afford a felony conviction right now."


I'm guessing they'll be able to withstand a little water.


This is a great and necessary step. But what happens to the videos after they're taken? Do people need to go through long process of FOIA request? Do they have to sue the department to see them? Or will all videos be posted on a Youtube-like site that's accessible almost/anyone, soon after it was taken, and not controlled by the police department taking the videos? I don't want 30 percent of these videos to "get lost" after they're taken.


I suppose it'll be interesting to see the "failure" rate for these cameras, how often someone "forgets" to put it on, and how easy it is for the camera to get "damaged/stepped on" in a scuffle.


That's why those events should be logged, and it should be easy for the camera to know whether it crashed or the officer turned it off (by saying having the offer to turn on switch and then press a button. Such two actions would be hard to replicate "by accident").

Also, the officers should be punished and/or lose credibility in a trial if it's known that the camera was turned off by them during the time they were supposed to use it - like say when confronting a suspect or whatever. Obviously, going to the restroom or other such events should not be punishable.

"Forgetting" to turn on the camera before engaging a citizen/suspect should be punishable. Turning on the camera and keeping it on during the interaction should be as necessary as police officers ID-ing themselves.


What about your caring IT support person that just so happens to be able to edit the logs to make it looks like the camera crashed? Or if the data somehow becomes corrupted during the file transfer process? While cameras are great people will still find loopholes and exploit them. That is the nature of man.


Conspicuous destruction of evidence is a risky endeavor. Body cameras won't make it impossible for police to get away with crimes, but they will make it much more difficult.


> Turning on the camera and keeping it on during the interaction should be as necessary as police officers ID-ing themselves.

Do they ID themselves generally? I've mostly seen them not do this when it was requested.


I applaud the effort and it may help in significant violations of human rights. As far as general harassment goes, not sure this is gonna help much.

What do you expect to happen when someone gets harassed? Who is he going to call? The police station?

Civilian: "Hello, Mr.Officer, one of your colleagues were being mean to me and didn't let me get on the bus today without questioning everything about me."

Officer: "I apologize for any inconvenience he may of caused you sir, we'll look into it."

Officer to colleague: "So....Did we decide on Mexican for lunch? Or Sushi?"


I don't see any negatives to having these body cameras for police officers. Not even in terms of costs since reduced lawsuit litigation and settlements so counteract that.


You don't see any negatives to giving ubiquitous surveillance equipment to every government body?


Is having your eyes poked out a part of police training now? Every cop comes with two cameras, the output of which cannot be reviewed but is highly trusted in a court of law.


This is a good point -- between a camera in every public place and a camera on every cop, the latter is far the better option, and can be empowering to the public interacting with the police.

Just about everything it records is in the context of "member of the public knowingly interacting with a police officer", not "member of the public going about their everyday life" (which is much more ripe for abuse, and rather less likely to benefit the public in any way).


those receiving the devices are already charged with the task of acting as a form of surveillance towards the good of the state. The technology will just prevent them from cherry picking what they wish to survey. (probably a good thing with regards to crony-ism and corruption.)


This is a nightmare and we need to fight it tooth and nail.

Those aren't just cameras, they are networked to a facial recognition database (thanks facebook), which is cross referenced with criminal records and commercial profiles built from your every online purchase, gmail and facebook post.

This is what you can expect after the police get this as socially accepted

1. Facial recognition and additional suspicion of anyone walking down the street with a criminal record.

2. During an encounter with a officer micro facial expressions, speech patterns, eye movement and heart rate will be analyzed at high speed by AI to assess reasonable suspicion, to detect deception and emotional state and to direct the line of questioning in real time. The kind of technology the Gestapo could only dream of.

3. Body language of everyone in view will be analyzed for suspicion as they pass by.

4. These AIs will analyze anything you say in real time for factual accuracy against a huge database of personal information (half of which comes from your phone) and for context based on your commercial profile.

The implications here are that these databases represent a power shift and will redline demographics and make living in society with a record far more unpleasant than it is now. You can get a felony for forgetting your bus ticket. This effects everyone.

http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/189259-real-time-emotion-...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVwBXr_nU9Q

http://mic.com/articles/30975/how-the-nypd-is-using-your-fac...


Bravo. I have never thought of this, and I commend you on your insight. I just want to add one more thing.

Right now, police dogs are our "Fourth Amendment experts." Cops routinely allege that the dog "hit" on a person or vehicle, and courts uphold the notion that this is alone is sufficient cause for detainment and a search. Just wait until police are equipped with "scientific biometric sensors." If your eye so much as twitches or your voice cracks or your heart beat is not "steady," that will be sufficient. Science, don't you know!

In other words, there will be absolutely no more Fourth Amendment.


In my neck of the woods(San Rafael, CA 94901) San Rafael police have a pilot program that will equip a few officers with a CAM. The problem is the camera can be turned off by the officer.

It's a small program and will go nowhere. These Cops are harassing Anyone they feel might be Homeless. They are ticketing for jaywalking, sitting on side walks, sleeping. (They are trying to make there life so miserable they will be forced to move on to another town--basically). It's hard to watch them(SRPD) swarm around a suspected Homeless person --take their picture, frisk them, make them empty out all pockets, put their hands on their Crotch, etc.) It looks like something out of Germany in the 30's.

That said: I can't protect them, but I have the resources to protect myself--kind of. I bought two Dash Cams off Amazon for less than $16.00 each. I bought two because they are cheap and I wanted a spare. I have this Cam on whenever I go out. I don't get pulled over because I drive an older car, or happen to be out after 10 p.m. anymore? I only wish I had this cheap form of protection when I was younger!

Basically, you need to protect yourself. The price of Dash Cams is so low, there's no excuse not to have one on your vechicle? Look at the purchase just as vechicle maintence. There's no need to buy anything fancy.


> The problem is the camera can be turned off by the officer.

I never understood even the mindet of this. What can possibly be the point?


Teachers are often accused of mistreating children.

Healthcare workers are often accused of mistreating patients, too. For example, I know someone who works with many elderly patients who often get confused and make accusations of mistreatment. Many of her coworkers have been benched until cleared by investigation.

Like police officers, they can be viewed as being authority figures. Perhaps they will begin wearing these soon, too?


Soon, after they start carrying guns.


If you've got nothing to hide, why is the camera a problem?

But more seriously, does anyone know anything about these systems? I'd be concerned about them getting shut off (accidentally or not), and about ensuring that the recordings made are retained for a reasonable period of time (however long that is). Are there off the shelf solutions for this?


Take a look at http://www.evidence.com/

It's all stored securely in the cloud, so what could go wrong (asks Jennifer Lawrence)?


Surely there is an option for larger departments to run their own servers. Isn't there already digital evidence to be stored?


I would guess jurors won't look favorably upon cameras miraculously turning themselves off during an arrest.


I think you would be surprised, both at the tiny number of cases that would actually make it to a jury, and the number of jurors who would proudly support the police even in blatant atrocities.


You may have nothing to hide, but if what you do have is shown in a misleading context, it can be quite damaging.


They've done body-worn cameras in Sydney, Australia for a while now. It seems to have helped curb corruption and unnecessary brute force - most of the time. Where there's a will, there's a way.


I like that we are moving towards a state of affairs where police have to act appropriately in their position of power.

However, I seem to be the only one who sees the irony in complaining about the NSA recording everything we do, and simultaneously giving large amounts of recording equipment to other parts of various levels of government.

How do we ensure that these cameras aren't turned against us, also?

Who watches the watchers?


> However, I seem to be the only one who sees the irony in complaining about the NSA recording everything we do, and simultaneously giving large amounts of recording equipment to other parts of various levels of government.

The NSA can surveil everyone in mediums the average person considers to be a private venue. Whatever I'm doing on a police chest cam is something they were able to see with their eyes already.


assuming that the video storage and the stream itself are secure, sure.


"Who watches the watchers?"

I hope you realize that does that one thing you question.

Also, police encounters are generally in the public, where you shouldn't expect privacy in the first place. You can't ask for the right to film officers, then complain if they film you.

Besides, most likely you're on camera anyway. So smile :)


> You can't ask for the right to film officers, then complain if they film you.

Sure you can. For example, it's commonly argued that there's a public interest in how police officers carry out their public duties. It's also commonly argued that the legal power differential (see: monopoly on use of force) between police and civilians justifies different restrictions on the police than on civilians.

I actually agree that there's no problem with the police filming in public, but your argument is crazy.


I agree that there is public interest in filming cops.

But...

Being under a camera all day isn't something that correlates with being a cop. No matter how much you want it to be.

If you say "Hey cop, I'm going to film you all day. No, you can't film me back", that singles out the cop from the civlians.

I don't know about you, but I wish my police felt more like civilians than paramilitary.


I do understand the problem in "watching the watchers". My point is that the solution should not be to add more of the thing that caused the problem in the first place. If we do, then it just becomes a race to who can have the most surveillance of the most people in the most places.

Edit: Claiming "it's happening anyway, so just accept it" is the wrong way to approach this. Why shouldn't we try to make things better?


We are trying to make things better and I think that police wearing cameras does in fact make things better. We are trying to consider both the negative and positive consequences of new technology.

Also the problem these cameras are trying to solve is police brutality/abuse. Surveillance is not what caused that problem in the first place.


If your complaining about being on camera in public spaces, that a whole separate issue.

My opinion: It's more helpful than hurtful. The benefits far outweigh the cost. But that's a discussion for another day.


In recent years when there was some kind of alleged police misconduct, the police would invariably deny, deny, deny. What the citizens were complaining about never happened.

And then a video footage would surface that proves police misconduct.

Of course there are liars that try to get police into trouble or just hate them.

Hopefully this body camera idea will be a good thing.


Note they can be turned off at will and have a delete button too.

So mostly useless, they are there to show what the cop wants to show.


Which is not going to help the officer. If the officer deniesmmisconduct it looks pretty bad if they have deleted the evidence.


I would note that if I had some indication that it were true.


It is 100% true, they can be turned off and can self delete.

There are only two major models of cameras in use, both have these features.


I am skeptical of the delete button. According to a random article I found (first result when I googled "police body camera delete button") the officers do not have that ability: Taser doesn't incorporate a delete button — "Once it's recorded, it's recorded,"

http://www.thewire.com/national/2014/08/how-do-police-body-c...


Taser are pairing their LEO bodycam offering with an associated cloud storage product at EVIDENCE.com


Shouldn't citizens also be encouraged to use cameras as much as possible when interaction with police.

Just like with many police car cameras, all of the sudden they "malfunction" when something shady has happened.


This would be great if all of the footage was automatically archived to a publicly available website, but somehow I feel like this footage will be very hard to get a hold of, similar to FOIA Requests


GOOD. There is literally no downside to this, it's a win-win! Here's to more polite police officers and less violence.


Wasn't there a law recently that it's illegal to film policemen? Seems like a not so positive imbalance in power.


Some states tried that but iirc any that made it to a court challenge were struck down. Quite a few places have started issuing memos reminding officers that the public does have the right to record and they can only stop them if they're actually interfering with the arrest.


$899 for a 720p video camera? I expected night-vision or 12fps with that kind of price tag!


I think that police firearms should also have cameras attached so that evidence is recorded.


Hopefully they will be held accountable for "broken" cameras...


Google Glass just found a solution to a problem.


Who gets the contract? GoPro?


Taser is one of the leading vendors. http://www.taser.com/products/on-officer-video/axon-body-on-...

This is interesting because Taser has sold to almost every police department in the US, and so is well positioned to make these cameras standard equipment.


The fact that American citizens need protection from the police in America is sad.


Not as sad as you think. Americans, for all their bleating about liberty and personal freedom, absolutely adore power. They are infatuated with it. And they infer heroic qualities in people who wield it, regardless of merit. If you only pay attention to the right media, you might get the impression that police are suffering some popularity problem in the US. Even after Ferguson, I assure you this is not the case. Darren Wilson has a great many supporters, not just people who think the shooting was tragic but the officer is not at fault, but believe he was right to shoot the guy. They had a fucking rally, even, in St. Louis! Naturally, the crowd was lily-white.

On a personal level, and especially for people who aren't closet statists, sure it's tragic. But, on a national level, there are few places on Earth that deserve it more.


I'm glad for this. Now people can better see all the crap police have to take off the type of people they deal with every minute of every day, five and more days a week, eight and more hours a day and realize that 99.999% of all the "corrupt police" charges are just what it is: over the top BS.


This gives me another idea: how about we fit criminals with body cameras?


I hope you'll be glad to hear this effort is already underway: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/05/nyregion/new-york-police-o...


Bazinga


Most carry an array of networked sensors on their person already. - NSA




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