Camera Phone And Police Brutality

by : Terry Bytheway

If in the past year's camera phones were just use for capturing funny and charming events. Today, it became a powerful community tool in the debate about police conduct and crime resolution.

Some Los Angeles political groups are starting to train citizens to use cameras, video cell phones and Internet sites like YouTube, Metacafe, Myspace and the like to get their voices and pictures heard like never before.

According to Sherman Austin, founder of Cop Watch L.A, they encourage everyone to have a camera on them at all times so if anything happens it can be documented. The concept of patrolling the police is something that they are trying to press on as a form of direct action.

Moreover, three videos shot on cell phones captured Los Angeles police officers using excessive force to hold down black motorist Rodney King. The video images were captured by an Argentine plumber which brings up evidence that Rodney King was indeed beaten by four police officers. All said three videos came out within the same week.

For about 15 years later there are video cameras in tens of millions of cellular phones that people are carrying all day makes the documentation of almost any public event easy to perform. As a result, Black and Latino activists in tough Los Angeles neighborhoods are leaving nothing to risk.

Furthermore, Austin added "We have tried civilian review boards, we have tried going to City Hall and going to the police and all we have seen is more brutality, technology makes it all the easier now". There are lots of digital cameras available nowadays that is already capable of taking good photos in daylight and then there's also an Internet that could get your photos out there anytime, anywhere.

L.A. Police Chief William Bratton added that he is investigating officer conduct from the three cell phone videos that is just recently captured, but warned against quick conclusions that he cannot just make judgments based solely on videos or portions of videos.

Moreover, Bratton also stressed that there is no U.S. government agency that has more policies, procedures, guidelines and independent oversight when it comes to use of force than the LAPD. However, Executive director of the Southern California chapter of the ACLU Ramona Ripston stated that these latest incidents underline the case for more citizen oversight.

On the other hand, CNN launch a report regarding 15-year-old boy that used his Sprint cell phone camera to take pictures of a man who allegedly tried to lure him into his car. Such pictures lead to the man's arrest.

The said boy, who escaped from his alleged captor after a struggle, gave the pictures of the man and his car license plate to police in Clifton, New Jersey, after the incident. Thus, armed with that evidence, police officers arrested the suspect William MacDonald.

Moreover after the incident, a spokeswoman from Sprint, the manufacturer of the phone, says the incident is the first time as far as the company knows. "Someone has used the year-old technology to foil a criminal" she added.