Police brutality hasn't changed or improved. We know that intuitively and from our own personal experience, and we also knew those body cameras weren't going to make a difference. We now have the research that backs up what we already knew this whole time.
The Lab @ DC recently found there isn't a "statistically significant effect of the body-worn cameras,” according to a researcher who participated in the report. In other words, police brutality is just about the same as it was before law enforcement in various cities started wearing body cameras.
According to NPR, the study ran from June 2015 to December 2016, following law enforcement in Washington, D.C. where 2,600 of its officers wear body cameras. Researchers worked with local police officials to ensure body cameras were assigned randomly, but there were still a lot of complaints from citizens against officers.
“I think we’re surprised by the result,” D.C. Chief of Police Peter Newsham said. “I think a lot of people were suggesting that the body-worn cameras would change behavior. There was no indication that the cameras changed behavior at all.”
Newsham also indicated that it could also be because his officers "were doing the right thing in the first place."
Authors of the study say it would be incorrect to make a direct correlation between the effects of all body cameras and all police forces.
While some cities were using mandatory body cameras for police officers to try to placate the black community after a number of police brutality and fatal police-involved shootings over recent years, we continue to try to make them understand that the problem is not tactics and procedures, but systemic and a part of the law enforcement culture.
Read the full report at The Lab @ DC.