Editorial: Cameras, knowledge reduce police brutality

Police brutality has become a large issue of debate recently since the events in Ferguson, Mo.

According to thelawdictionary.org, “police brutality” is defined as the use of excessive and/or unnecessary force by police when dealing with civilians.

A Department of Justice study revealed 84 percent of police officers reported seeing colleagues use excessive force on civilians, and 61 percent admitted they don’t always report serious criminal violations that contain abuse of authority by their colleagues.

Now obviously not all police officers abuse their position, and most truly strive to benefit their community for the greater good, but there should be no police abusing power at all.

One way to help prevent police brutality is through the use of cameras. Some agencies require cameras on dashboards, but not all. Every dashboard on every police car in the country should be equipped with cameras.

In fact, a petition on whitehouse.gov says all state, county and local police should wear a camera while on duty. The petition has gotten over 150,000 signatures. Also every Ferguson police officer has a body camera, according to the Ferguson Police Department.

If cameras were implemented on police dashboards and bodies, police brutality would decrease immensely.

According the New York Times, police in Rialto, Calif., have used cameras since 2012, and complaints against police dropped 88 percent, and use of force by officers dropped 60 percent the first year.

Another way to help prevent police brutality is by knowing one’s rights.

The accused has the right to remain silent at all times.

The accused has the right to refuse a search of his/hers personal belongings.

If one isn’t under arrest, he/she is allowed to calmly and respectfully leave. All the person has to ask is, “Am I free to leave?”

Remember to always act respectfully when dealing with police officers. Don’t argue or resist them in any way, and keep your hands where they can see them. They never know who they are dealing with.

If you ever feel your rights have been violated by an officer, write everything you remember happened down and file a complaint. Hopefully the public will be able to trust our officers in the future.

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