According to Nancy La Vigne, director of the National Institute of Justice, the research-focused wing of the Justice Department, “These technologies aren’t like a light switch, where you switch it on and all of a sudden you’re getting the desired outcomes. So much rests on policy and implementation.”
“The NYPD remains wholly committed to its policy of releasing such recordings as quickly and responsibly as circumstances and the law dictate,” the spokesperson wrote at the time. “Though transparency is of the utmost importance, so too is the Police Department’s commitment to preserving privacy rights.”
Seth Stoughton, a former police officer and professor at South Carolina’s Joseph F. Rice School of Law, told ProPublica that technology alone would not solve the problem of racial disparities in police use of force violations, saying, “Dash cams were supposed to solve racial profiling. Tasers and pepper spray were supposed to solve undue force. We have this real, almost pathological draw to ‘silver bullet’ syndrome. And I say that as a supporter of body-worn cameras.”
Stoughton added, “We just said to police departments: ‘Here’s this tool. Figure out how you would like to use it.’ It shouldn’t be a surprise that they’re going to use it in a way that most benefits them.”
Compounding these problems, civilian review boards, touted as solutions to the lack of police oversight, have little to no actual power. In New York, the police commissioner holds the ultimate trump card; the police can just take any case they want back from the civilian review board. Twenty-one videos captured precisely what transpired that night, but due to the interference of the NYPD, none of them were ever released to the public. In the case of the incident from Halloween, even though the citizen review board found multiple instances of officer misconduct, it was buried by the commissioner. Despite an officer hitting the alleged suspect they were pursuing with a car, another is pointing a firearm at one of the bystanders they arrested and having no jurisdiction to arrest the bystanders, as well as recommendations from the citizen review board that five officers, which included a precinct commander, face disciplinary trials.
According to an NYPD spokesperson, “As per a memorandum of understanding between the NYPD and the CCRB, the Police Commissioner is authorized to retain cases in limited circumstances.”
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Source: Black Enterprise