On September 11th, 2001, over 70 NYPD, Port Authority and other law enforcement officers lost their lives to left-wing Islamic terrorists. It was the deadliest day in American law enforcement history. In the last ten years alone, a total of 1,539 cops have died in the line of duty.
And yet, anti-police sentiment is on the rise. There are the internet videos falsely depicting officers as being out-of-control and unaccountable abusers. There’s the August 2013 ruling by liberal activist Judge Shira A. Scheindlin against NYPD’s demonstrably effective Stop-and-Frisk program. (Scheindlin’s ruling was later halted after she was found to have engaged in corruption regarding the case.)
And now, big government junkies have found a new sabre to rattle at our public servants: the police uniform camera.
The use of video and audio capture devices to shackle police officers while they put their lives on the line is nothing new. In socialist Britain, Devon and Cornwall police began experimenting in 2006 with using cameras to monitor police interactions. Some officers in Texas are caving to mob sentiment and volunteering to wear the devices, evincing a Stockholm Syndrome-like relationship with their anti-police abusers. And a controversial study of a uniform camera program instituted by police departments in Rialto, CA has produced damning results:
Rialto’s randomised controlled study has seized attention because it offers scientific – and encouraging – findings: after cameras were introduced in February 2012, public complaints against officers plunged 88% compared with the previous 12 months. Officers’ use of force fell by 60%. [The Guardian]
Think of that last number this way: in the middle of a domestic violence call, an officer assault in progress, or the apprehension of a murder suspect, Rialto police officers were 60% less sure of their actions. So unsure that they did not act at all, instead putting their lives in 60% more danger.
We already know that liberals and their libertarian comrades have an aversion to an orderly society. But, there are other issues at play. Legal citizens in the United States have a Constitutional right to reasonable expectations of privacy. We already have police dashboard cameras on the highways, traffic light cameras in our neighborhoods, and Alex Jones with a camera and megaphone outside the World Trade Center. Why should we strip away yet more privacy?
And perhaps worse, widespread implementation of this practice would subject the same people who protect us in our sleep to an unprecedented violation of their Fourth Amendment rights. When officers are inevitably misrepresented by dishonestly edited videos, their lives and the lives of their families will face danger from mobs demanding Spike Lee-style “street justice.” Sure, a Freedom of Information Act request or voluntary dissemination of the unedited video could correct the record, but by then the damage will have been done. Being held accountable for their actions means police would also be held accountable for public perception of their actions, and that’s just plain scary.
In closing, our own columnist Zafeer Hamidi recalls his time as the Muslim Brotherhood’s liaison to Al-Qaeda leadership and their associated organizations, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, before Hamidi’s apostasy from Islam and his subsequent embrace of Christianity. “The use of surveillance on officers of peace is not different from the policies of Lashkar-e-Taiba,” says Hamidi. “The goal is to disrupt and distract. In a nation whose elections are under siege by voter fraud, instability is the burqa of the Leftist. It serves the same purpose as the smoke of Bukhoor incense—to obscure the crimes of the ruling class, in this case the anti-police Leftists, the minority groups that fund them, and their Hollywood quislings. These are truly people with no God.”
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