Not one Boston cop volunteers to wear a bodycam

Is there an echo in here?

Once again, the police should be held to a higher standard of conduct than your average worker, precisely because they are entrusted with a monopoly on violence by the state. The ability to shoot someone and not have to spend the rest of one’s life in prison, because it’s done in the name of public safety, should mean a higher level of scrutiny.

[ETA - me right now]



If you read my comment you’ll see I was criticizing Rob’s notion that the desire to not be monitored is justification for monitoring.

After that I did say that it’s completely reasonable to require monitoring for police. So yes, there is an echo, you echoed me. I may have echoed someone else too. Good job to both of us for keeping it going.

My point was that police are not operating within the same parameters that the rest of us are, because they have a monopoly on force, legally speaking. It’s not the same thing. That’s what I meant about the echo… that others have said that it’s reasonable to assume LEO would not want to be recorded and comparing it to other types of monitoring of employees. I disagree that it’s the same. You may well agree that body cams are fine and you mentioned this. I think it’s actually unreasonable for LEO to NOT expect to be monitored, given their role in our society.


You said you only had stereotypes from US TV shows, I gave a real life British example.

Even with the TSG self-selecting for some of the worst qualities of policing, I find it hard to believe that every cop working for them is happy with the illegal behaviour that is common among them. Calling them out on this behaviour is, at best, career limiting. At it’s worst they would be openly abusive towards you, possibly dangerously so. If things go bad would you want your police colleagues dragging their feet getting to you?

Again, it’s a real life example of what you said, and the problem isn’t just a US one.


It’s the chicken or the Egg. Fact is there are far too many laws that force to many interactions with police/government. Reduction in laws of no benefit would reduce interactions across the board which should reduce the negative impact on some subgroups without conflating the issue with “Racism”. Groups that are poor/uneducated are more likely to run into BS laws or draw more aggro due to a perception of noncompliance or lack of funds with which to comply. In the end its not “Racism” its all about money. It’s easier to squeeze the disenfranchised by their very nature. It’s only natural that the force of the state would gravitate to the entropy of the low hanging fruit.

Sorry for the mixed metaphors.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t hold up to historical scrutiny. Racism is not something black people imagine and that only functions to divide poor blacks and whites to stave off class rebellion. It’s a real force in their lives and any attempt to distract from that undermines our attempts to stamp it out. The fact that many working class and middle class whites help to push a racist agenda is really telling on this count.

Strange fruit, maybe? Again, history provides a useful tool for understanding how racism works and it’s not just from the top down. Sometimes that’s true (Trump) but it can also be from the bottom up, and the middle out.

Happens to the best of us! :wink: I won’t hold it against you.


Let’s consider your implied counter-position, then: Footage from bodycams will be erased within a reasonable time period and will never be viewed by third parties, authorized or otherwise, except in the case of a fatal incident.

…and if you believe that, I have a bridge or two to sell you, to go with some oceanfront property in Iowa.

The collection of excess data and its preservation beyond a reasonable period of time isn’t a function of an organisation of authority. It’s a function of a beaurocracy. It’s a case of covering one’s ass, coupled with a pretty widespread belief that more data is always better than less.

Now, you might argue that a future where bodycam footage is uploaded to an independent third party auditing body is unrealistic, and I would largely agree with you. But it doesn’t need to be realistic for cops to be afraid of it. When you’re feeling under attack, rightly or wrongly, the last thing you want to do is hand your enemies potenial weapons with which to attack you. And I assure you, criticism of the status quo is very much being seen as an attack by cops.

I’m absolutely in favour of more public oversight of police forces, in the US and elsewhere, but this is a really stupid way to go about it. You’re not going to get any volunteers when volunteering means you’re going to be placed under a microscope – never mind likely making yourself a pariah to your colleagues.

So long as, as @William_Wright pointed out, cops see no benefits to the bodycams and plenty of downsides, the cams will keep mysteriously malfunctioning. Or getting accidentally obscured. Or covered in mud. Or suffering from temporary EM interference. They’re pretty touchy devices, don’t you know? Unless and until cops see an upside to what’s currently appearing as a decided downside, this isn’t going to be a winnable battle for the public.

You’re suggesting that cops, by the simple act of being handed a gun, are no longer subject to the same psychological pressures and failures of cognition all other humans are limited by. That doesn’t hold up. Acclimatization to the specifics of the job happens in all environments. Most humans don’t enjoy sticking their hands into other people’s shit, yet plumbers and septic tank service people still exist. A cop might have been consciously aware of the weight of authority and responsibility when they started the job, but two-three years down the road? I’m betting they hardly think about it. It’s just a day of dealing with angry, potentially violent, people. Much like customer service at a department store.

Again, the question wasn’t whether cops should or should not be required to wear bodycams; the question was whether they should have volunteered to do so.

"What better reason to place public servants under scrutiny than their attempts to evade it? "
This question is an awesome landmark in the history of stupidity. There is NOT ONE profession in the entire world where the practitioners would like the idea of being forced to be filmed while working every minute of every shift. If your boss said he wanted everyone in the office to wear body cameras every day to prove you made as many keystrokes as you claimed, you’d scream like a mink threatened with castration.

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Assuming a racist agenda. What is the solution? Special rules for handling different groups?

I just think subtraction is the easiest solution. If we only focused on crimes that were actually harmful to society we would have fewer reasons for government (pronounced force) to interact with the citizenry regardless of race or status.

In Georgia you have to place your License Plate Sticker on the right side of your tag. There is a place for one on the Left but it’s a violation to put the sticker on the Left and can result in a ticket or warning by the police. It common for police and institutions to use little gotchas like this as an excuse to interact with citizens in the hopes of finding another more financially beneficial offence.

So yeah I guess there are opportunities for racism/sexism/political leaning to influence an officers decision to interact, but the easier solution is to remove the opportunity for the interaction to have occurred.

Have you ever read the novel The Blue Knight? Joseph Wambaugh wrote that right after he left the LA police department, and it is chock full of raw emotions from an ex-cop about being a cop. In it, he made the observation that cops when on duty never interact with other humans except when those others are at their worst. All watch long, every watch, chances are 99% that everyone he meets is going to be belligerent, stupid, pathetic, demented, perverted, violent, sneaky, untrustworthy, false, greedy, physically filthy, morally slimy, or some combination of those. You CAN’T spend years and years in a job where that is your contact with the rest of the human race without falling out of touch with what the rest of the human race thinks it is. If anyone in this country needs mental health assistance as a way of reducing violence and reducing the chances of people being shot by mistake, it’s the cops.

Yes, we need more oversight of police actions. But we need to do it in the spirit of NOT deciding the cops are guilty of everything before they go out on watch. That is guaranteed to create a really nasty reaction from the cops, and their ill feelings about be prejudged will do nothing but make matters worse. Yes we need to watch them more closely, but it has to be done in a way that does not tell them we already think they’re guilty and we’re just trying to force them to provide evidence against themselves.


There’s an office that gives its workers guns and lets them shoot people and has a union to make sure that they don’t get punished for it? I mean other than the offices in police stations, of course.

Given that power corrupts, privacy should be inversely proportional to the amount of power someone has.


Mandatory bodycams and audio-recording ankle monitors for politicians!
I’d vote for that.

But seriously, when it comes down to it, an individual cop can’t cause anywhere near the scale of devastation even a hedge fund broker can, never mind a politician.


It depends on how you view it.

A hedge fund broker or politician can cause huge amounts of damage, but it is usually takes time and is reversable. A cop can irreversibly destroy a family in a few seconds. On the other hand, cops only work shifts.


Please don’t put words in my mouth. What I’m suggesting is that cops should be held to a higher standard of conduct, and that they are in fact public servants. To protect and serve, the motto goes. [quote=“waterloonie, post:71, topic:83596”]
It’s just a day of dealing with angry, potentially violent, people.

Right now there is a long list of people who were neither and are somehow now dead. That would indicate a serious problem, being underwritten by our tax dollars, that requires oversight.


Which is kinda like Google’s “Do no evil”, they are under no actual obligation to to do what their motto suggests.

Though yes, I agree the people we put in charge of enforcing the rules should be held to a higher standard. So often, with everything - not just cops, that isn’t the case.

ETA - [quote=“Mindysan33, post:80, topic:83596”]
I’m assuming a racist structure, not an agenda.

I appreciate you pointing out the difference.

In your example, I don’t think a POC is going to get shot just because they are a POC who had a minor traffic infraction - it is that too many cops are primed for a violent encounter that what would be ignored or handled in a reasonable way with another person, is handled in a poor, over reacted way.

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I’m assuming a racist structure, not an agenda. In that case, racism is so baked into our social structures and society, that it’s hard to not act within that context when in a position of power, especially when everyone else is going along and assuming the cries of racism aren’t based in reality, but in some sort of phony notion of inequality.

In the case of the license plate, if I were to do that, I might be pulled over for having the sticker in the wrong place. But I’m not going to get shot for it, because I’m a white woman. A POC might be shot for it.

The very structure of our society is racist (not to any other long list of isms/phobias aimed at people who the country was not built for the benefit of).


How is office work and police work the same, then?

You want to say that to someone who has lost their husband, wife, or child to police violence?

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