• Home

Black lives matter

How Western media would cover Baltimore if
it happened elsewhere
Date: Apr. 30, 2015
From: Washingtonpost.com
Publisher: The Washington Post
Document Type: Article
Length: 759 words

Full Text: 

Byline: Karen Attiah

If what is happening in Baltimore happened in a foreign country, here is how Western media would
cover it:

International leaders expressed concern over the rising tide of racism and state violence in
America, especially concerning the treatment of ethnic minorities in the country and the corruption
in state security forces around the country when handling cases of police brutality. The latest crisis
is taking place in Baltimore, Maryland, a once-bustling city on the country’s Eastern Seaboard,
where an unarmed man named Freddie Gray died from a severed spine while in police custody.

Black Americans, the country’s largest minority ethnic group, are killed by state security forces at a
rate higher than the white majority population. Young, black American males are 21 times more
likely to be shot by police than white American males.

The United Kingdom expressed concern over the troubling turn of events in America in the last
several months. The country’s foreign ministry released a statement: “We call on the American
regime to rein in the state security agents who have been brutalizing members of America’s ethnic
minority groups. The equal application of the rule of law, as well as the respect for human rights of
all citizens, black or white, is essential for a healthy democracy.” Britain has always maintained a
keen interest in America, a former colony.

Palestine has offered continued assistance to American pro-democracy activists, sending anti-tear-
gas kits to those protesting police brutality in various American cities. Egyptian pro-democracy
groups have also said they will be sharing their past experience with U.S.-made counter-protest
weapons.

A statement from the United Nations said, “We condemn the militarization and police brutality that
we have seen in recent months in America, and we strongly urge American state security forces to
launch a full investigation into the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. There is no excuse for
excessive police violence.” The U.N. called on the United States to make a concerted effort to
make databases of police violence public to improve transparency and cut down on corruption in
the justice system.

International analysts predict the seeds of a so-called “American Spring,” fomented by technology.
“It’s amazing what social media is doing for the cause of justice in America,” said a political rights
analyst based in Geneva. “The black youth of America are showing what 21st-century civil rights
activism looks like, using technology, social media and a decentralized organizing strategy to hold
authorities accountable and agitate for change. These kids represent what modern-day freedom
fighting looks like. The revolution will be tweeted, Periscope-d and Snapchatted.”

Firefox https://go-gale-com.offcampus.lib.washington.edu/ps/i.do?p=AON…

1 of 2 1/25/21, 4:41 PM

Local leaders in the American township of Baltimore imposed a state of martial law this week after
peaceful protests turned violent. In response, countries around the world have advised darker-
skinned nationals against non-essential travel to areas noted for state violence against unarmed
people of color, especially in recent hot spots such as New York, Missouri, Oklahoma, South
Carolina, Ohio, California, Michigan, Virginia and now Maryland.

International human rights groups have appealed to the global community to facilitate asylum for
America’s ethnic black minorities. When asked whether the European Union was willing to take on
more black refugees risking their lives in fleeing American state violence, an E.U. human rights
spokesman said: “More black refugees? We are dealing with our own Mediterranean crisis, so now
is not really a good time for that for us. Furthermore, we believe in American solutions to American
problems.” The African Union has not responded to requests for comment.

American government officials took to state media, characterizing the protesters as “thugs,” a
racially coded word increasingly used to describe black males in America. Commentators in
national media have frequently compared the protesters and riots to various characters and events
from the popular television series “The Wire,” set in early-2000s Baltimore.

America’s ethnic blacks have been displaced from many of their communities due to a
phenomenon experts on the region call “gentrification,” when wealthier residents move into a lower-
income area. Baltimore is no exception to this trend, with some areas seeing home values rise as
much as 137 percent after corporate dollars move in on opportunities in poverty-stricken areas.

Resident Joe Smith, a member of the white majority ethnic group, said outside of a brand-new
Starbucks near Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, “I don’t know why these blacks are destroying their own
communities. Why don’t these people follow Martin Luther King’s example? Those guys got it good
from the police back then too, but they didn’t try to rise up and fight back and make everyone
uncomfortable, you know?”

By Karen Attiah

Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2015 The Washington Post
Source Citation (MLA 8th Edition)   
“How Western media would cover Baltimore if it happened elsewhere.” Washingtonpost.com, 30

Apr. 2015. Gale Academic OneFile, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A411738187
/AONE?u=wash_main&sid=AONE&xid=67f105b7. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

Gale Document Number: GALE|A411738187

Firefox https://go-gale-com.offcampus.lib.washington.edu/ps/i.do?p=AON…

2 of 2 1/25/21, 4:41 PM

Black lives matter

How Western media would cover Baltimore if
it happened elsewhere
Date: Apr. 30, 2015
From: Washingtonpost.com
Publisher: The Washington Post
Document Type: Article
Length: 759 words

Full Text: 

Byline: Karen Attiah

If what is happening in Baltimore happened in a foreign country, here is how Western media would
cover it:

International leaders expressed concern over the rising tide of racism and state violence in
America, especially concerning the treatment of ethnic minorities in the country and the corruption
in state security forces around the country when handling cases of police brutality. The latest crisis
is taking place in Baltimore, Maryland, a once-bustling city on the country’s Eastern Seaboard,
where an unarmed man named Freddie Gray died from a severed spine while in police custody.

Black Americans, the country’s largest minority ethnic group, are killed by state security forces at a
rate higher than the white majority population. Young, black American males are 21 times more
likely to be shot by police than white American males.

The United Kingdom expressed concern over the troubling turn of events in America in the last
several months. The country’s foreign ministry released a statement: “We call on the American
regime to rein in the state security agents who have been brutalizing members of America’s ethnic
minority groups. The equal application of the rule of law, as well as the respect for human rights of
all citizens, black or white, is essential for a healthy democracy.” Britain has always maintained a
keen interest in America, a former colony.

Palestine has offered continued assistance to American pro-democracy activists, sending anti-tear-
gas kits to those protesting police brutality in various American cities. Egyptian pro-democracy
groups have also said they will be sharing their past experience with U.S.-made counter-protest
weapons.

A statement from the United Nations said, “We condemn the militarization and police brutality that
we have seen in recent months in America, and we strongly urge American state security forces to
launch a full investigation into the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. There is no excuse for
excessive police violence.” The U.N. called on the United States to make a concerted effort to
make databases of police violence public to improve transparency and cut down on corruption in
the justice system.

International analysts predict the seeds of a so-called “American Spring,” fomented by technology.
“It’s amazing what social media is doing for the cause of justice in America,” said a political rights
analyst based in Geneva. “The black youth of America are showing what 21st-century civil rights
activism looks like, using technology, social media and a decentralized organizing strategy to hold
authorities accountable and agitate for change. These kids represent what modern-day freedom
fighting looks like. The revolution will be tweeted, Periscope-d and Snapchatted.”

Firefox https://go-gale-com.offcampus.lib.washington.edu/ps/i.do?p=AON…

1 of 2 1/25/21, 4:41 PM

Local leaders in the American township of Baltimore imposed a state of martial law this week after
peaceful protests turned violent. In response, countries around the world have advised darker-
skinned nationals against non-essential travel to areas noted for state violence against unarmed
people of color, especially in recent hot spots such as New York, Missouri, Oklahoma, South
Carolina, Ohio, California, Michigan, Virginia and now Maryland.

International human rights groups have appealed to the global community to facilitate asylum for
America’s ethnic black minorities. When asked whether the European Union was willing to take on
more black refugees risking their lives in fleeing American state violence, an E.U. human rights
spokesman said: “More black refugees? We are dealing with our own Mediterranean crisis, so now
is not really a good time for that for us. Furthermore, we believe in American solutions to American
problems.” The African Union has not responded to requests for comment.

American government officials took to state media, characterizing the protesters as “thugs,” a
racially coded word increasingly used to describe black males in America. Commentators in
national media have frequently compared the protesters and riots to various characters and events
from the popular television series “The Wire,” set in early-2000s Baltimore.

America’s ethnic blacks have been displaced from many of their communities due to a
phenomenon experts on the region call “gentrification,” when wealthier residents move into a lower-
income area. Baltimore is no exception to this trend, with some areas seeing home values rise as
much as 137 percent after corporate dollars move in on opportunities in poverty-stricken areas.

Resident Joe Smith, a member of the white majority ethnic group, said outside of a brand-new
Starbucks near Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, “I don’t know why these blacks are destroying their own
communities. Why don’t these people follow Martin Luther King’s example? Those guys got it good
from the police back then too, but they didn’t try to rise up and fight back and make everyone
uncomfortable, you know?”

By Karen Attiah

Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2015 The Washington Post
Source Citation (MLA 8th Edition)   
“How Western media would cover Baltimore if it happened elsewhere.” Washingtonpost.com, 30

Apr. 2015. Gale Academic OneFile, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A411738187
/AONE?u=wash_main&sid=AONE&xid=67f105b7. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

Gale Document Number: GALE|A411738187

Firefox https://go-gale-com.offcampus.lib.washington.edu/ps/i.do?p=AON…

2 of 2 1/25/21, 4:41 PM

Black Lives Matter

https://www.nplusonemag.com/online-only/online-only/a-love-note-to-our-folks/

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/5/11/us-faces-scathing-un-review-on-human-rights-record.html

Why We Won’t Wait

Palestinians and Ferguson Protesters Link Arms Via Social Media

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0504-kelley-baltimore-rebellion-20150504-story.html

Media’s Baltimore ‘Teen Purge’ Narrative Falling Apart

E-response to #BlackLivesMatter (Group D)

No unread replies.No replies.

By now you know the drill, so these prompts are of course only optional.  That said…

1.  What does the article regarding the filming of police violence (from MIT Technology Review) tell us about human rights, media, and mobilizing shame?

2.  One of the questions we’ve been asking in class is “What then can we do?”  What do you think of the actions taken by social media activists and others in the #BlackLivesMatter movement?  What are the strengths of these approaches and, again, what are the limitations?  Do you find them inspiring?

3.  How would the various authors we’ve read throughout the quarter analyze #BlackLivesMatter, both as a movement and as a media intervention?  In other words, what insights do our readings during the quarter provide for thinking about what is currently happening in the U.S.?

4.  Most of these materials were written/filmed before the most recent uprisings in summer of 2020, which were some of the largest yet.  What do the more recent events tell us about the future of the Movement for Black Lives?

Black Lives Matter

https://www.nplusonemag.com/online-only/online-only/a-love-note-to-our-folks/

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/5/11/us-faces-scathing-un-review-on-human-rights-record.html

Why We Won’t Wait

Palestinians and Ferguson Protesters Link Arms Via Social Media

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0504-kelley-baltimore-rebellion-20150504-story.html

Media’s Baltimore ‘Teen Purge’ Narrative Falling Apart

E-response to #BlackLivesMatter (Group D)

No unread replies.No replies.

By now you know the drill, so these prompts are of course only optional.  That said…

1.  What does the article regarding the filming of police violence (from MIT Technology Review) tell us about human rights, media, and mobilizing shame?

2.  One of the questions we’ve been asking in class is “What then can we do?”  What do you think of the actions taken by social media activists and others in the #BlackLivesMatter movement?  What are the strengths of these approaches and, again, what are the limitations?  Do you find them inspiring?

3.  How would the various authors we’ve read throughout the quarter analyze #BlackLivesMatter, both as a movement and as a media intervention?  In other words, what insights do our readings during the quarter provide for thinking about what is currently happening in the U.S.?

4.  Most of these materials were written/filmed before the most recent uprisings in summer of 2020, which were some of the largest yet.  What do the more recent events tell us about the future of the Movement for Black Lives?

Black lives matter

P O L I C Y. M 4 B L .O R G

Black humanity and dignity requires Black political will and power.
Despite constant exploitation and perpetual oppression, Black
people have bravely and brilliantly been the driving force pushing
the U.S. towards the ideals it articulates but has never achieved.
In recent years we have taken to the streets, launched massive
campaigns, and impacted elections, but our elected leaders have
failed to address the legitimate demands of our Movement. We
can no longer wait.

In response to the sustained and increasingly visible violence
against Black communities in the U.S. and globally, a collective
of more than 50 organizations representing thousands of Black
people from across the country have come together with renewed
energy and purpose to articulate a common vision and agenda. We
are a collective that centers and is rooted in Black communities, but
we recognize we have a shared struggle with all oppressed people;
collective liberation will be a product of all of our work.

We believe in elevating the experiences and leadership of the
most marginalized Black people, including but not limited to those
who are women, queer, trans, femmes, gender nonconforming,
Muslim, formerly and currently incarcerated, cash poor and
working class, differently-abled, undocumented, and immigrant.
We are intentional about amplifying the particular experience
of state and gendered violence that Black queer, trans, gender
nonconforming, women and intersex people face. There can be
no liberation for all Black people if we do not center and fight for
those who have been marginalized. It is our hope that by working
together to create and amplify a shared agenda, we can continue

to move towards a world in which the full humanity and dignity of
all people is recognized.

While this platform is focused on domestic policies, we know that
patriarchy, exploitative capitalism, militarism, and white supremacy
know no borders. We stand in solidarity with our international
family against the ravages of global capitalism and anti-Black
racism, human-made climate change, war, and exploitation. We
also stand with descendants of African people all over the world
in an ongoing call and struggle for reparations for the historic and
continuing harms of colonialism and slavery. We also recognize
and honor the rights and struggle of our Indigenous family for land
and self-determination.

We have created this platform to articulate and support the
ambitions and work of Black people. We also seek to intervene in
the current political climate and assert a clear vision, particularly for
those who claim to be our allies, of the world we want them to help
us create. We reject false solutions and believe we can achieve a
complete transformation of the current systems, which place profit
over people and make it impossible for many of us to breathe.

Together, we demand an end to the wars against Black people.
We demand that the government repair the harms that have
been done to Black communities in the form of reparations and
targeted long-term investments. We also demand a defunding
of the systems and institutions that criminalize and cage us. This
document articulates our vision of a fundamentally different world.
However, we recognize the need to include policies that address
the immediate suffering of Black people. These policies, while less
transformational, are necessary to address the current material
conditions of our people and will better equip us to win the world
we demand and deserve.

We recognize that not all of our collective needs and visions can be
translated into policy, but we understand that policy change is one of
many tactics necessary to move us towards the world we envision.
We have come together now because we believe it is time to forge
a new covenant. We are dreamers and doers and this platform
is meant to articulate some of our vision. The links throughout
the document provide the stepping-stones and roadmaps of
how to get there. The policy briefs also elevate the brave and
transformative work our people are already engaged in, and build
on some of the best thinking in our history of struggle. This agenda
continues the legacy of our ancestors who pushed for reparations,
Black self-determination and community control; and also propels
new iterations of movements such as efforts for reproductive justice,
holistic healing and reconciliation, and ending violence against Black
cis, queer, and trans people.

We demand an end to the war
against Black people. Since this
country’s inception there have been
named and unnamed wars on our
communities. We demand an end
to the criminalization, incarceration,
and killing of our people.

This includes:

1 An immediate end to the criminalization and
dehumanization of Black youth across all areas of
society including, but not limited to; our nation’s
justice and education systems, social service agencies,
and media and pop culture. This includes an end
to zero-tolerance school policies and arrests of
students, the removal of police from schools, and the
reallocation of funds from police and punitive school
discipline practices to restorative services.

2 An end to capital punishment.
3 An end to money bail, mandatory fines, fees, court

surcharges and “defendant funded” court proceedings.

4 An end to the use of past criminal history to
determine eligibility for housing, education, licenses,
voting, loans, employment, and other services and
needs.

5 An end to the war on Black immigrants including the
repeal of the 1996 crime and immigration bills, an
end to all deportations, immigrant detention, and
Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) raids, and
mandated legal representation in immigration court.

END THE WAR ON BLACK PEOPLE

6 An end to the war on Black trans, queer and gender
nonconforming people including their addition to
anti-discrimination civil rights protections to ensure
they have full access to employment, health, housing
and education.

7 An end to the mass surveillance of Black
communities, and the end to the use of technologies
that criminalize and target our communities (including
IMSI catchers, drones, body cameras, and predictive
policing software).

8 The demilitarization of law enforcement, including law
enforcement in schools and on college campuses.

9 An immediate end to the privatization of police,
prisons, jails, probation, parole, food, phone and all
other criminal justice related services.

10 Until we achieve a world where cages are no longer
used against our people we demand an immediate
change in conditions and an end to public jails,
detention centers, youth facilities and prisons as
we know them. This includes the end of solitary
confinement, the end of shackling of pregnant people,
access to quality healthcare, and effective measures
to address the needs of our youth, queer, gender
nonconforming and trans families.

REPARATIONS
We demand reparations for past and
continuing harms. The government,
responsible corporations and other
institutions that have profited off of
the harm they have inflicted on
Black people — from colonialism to
slavery through food and housing
redlining, mass incarceration, and
surveillance — must repair the
harm done.

This includes:

1 Reparations for the systemic denial of access
to high quality educational opportunities in the
form of full and free access for all Black people
(including undocumented and currently and formerly
incarcerated people) to lifetime education including:
free access and open admissions to public community
colleges and universities, technical education
(technology, trade and agricultural), educational
support programs, retroactive forgiveness of student
loans, and support for lifetime learning programs.

2 Reparations for the continued divestment from,
discrimination toward and exploitation of our
communities in the form of a guaranteed minimum
livable income for all Black people, with clearly
articulated corporate regulations.

3 Reparations for the wealth extracted from our
communities through environmental racism, slavery,
food apartheid, housing discrimination and racialized
capitalism in the form of corporate and government
reparations focused on healing ongoing physical and
mental trauma, and ensuring our access and control
of food sources, housing and land.

4 Reparations for the cultural and educational
exploitation, erasure, and extraction of our
communities in the form of mandated public school
curriculums that critically examine the political,
economic, and social impacts of colonialism and
slavery, and funding to support, build, preserve, and
restore cultural assets and sacred sites to ensure the
recognition and honoring of our collective struggles
and triumphs.

5 Legislation at the federal and state level that requires
the United States to acknowledge the lasting impacts
of slavery, establish and execute a plan to address
those impacts. This includes the immediate passage
of H.R.40, the “Commission to Study Reparation
Proposals for African-Americans Act” or subsequent
versions which call for reparations remedies.

We demand investments in the
education, health and safety of
Black people, instead of investments
in the criminalizing, caging, and
harming of Black people. We want
investments in Black communities,
determined by Black communities,
and divestment from exploitative
forces including prisons, fossil fuels,
police, surveillance and exploitative
corporations.

This includes:

1 A reallocation of funds at the federal, state and
local level from policing and incarceration (JAG,
COPS, VOCA) to long-term safety strategies such
as education, local restorative justice services, and
employment programs.

2 The retroactive decriminalization, immediate release
and record expungement of all drug related offenses
and prostitution, and reparations for the devastating
impact of the “war on drugs” and criminalization of
prostitution, including a reinvestment of the resulting
savings and revenue into restorative services, mental
health services, job programs and other programs
supporting those impacted by the sex and drug trade.

DIVEST–INVEST

3 Real, meaningful, and equitable universal health care
that guarantees: proximity to nearby comprehensive
health centers, culturally competent services for
all people, specific services for queer, gender
nonconforming, and trans people, full bodily
autonomy, full reproductive services, mental health
services, paid parental leave, and comprehensive
quality child and elder care.

4 A constitutional right at the state and federal level
to a fully-funded education which includes a clear
articulation of the right to: a free education for all,
special protections for queer and trans students,
wrap around services, social workers, free health
services (including reproductive body autonomy),
a curriculum that acknowledges and addresses
students’ material and cultural needs, physical activity
and recreation, high quality food, free daycare, and
freedom from unwarranted search, seizure or arrest.

5 A divestment from industrial multinational use of
fossil fuels and investment in community- based
sustainable energy solutions.

6 A cut in military expenditures and a reallocation of
those funds to invest in domestic infrastructure and
community well-being.

7 Financial support of Black alternative institutions
including, but not limited to: cooperatives, land trusts,
and a culturally responsive health infrastructure.

We demand economic justice for all
and a reconstruction of the economy
to ensure Black communities have
collective ownership, not merely
access.

This includes:

1 A progressive restructuring of tax codes at the
local, state, and federal level to ensure a radical
and sustainable redistribution of wealth.

2 Federal and state job programs that specifically
target the most economically marginalized Black
people, and compensation for those involved in the
care economy. Job programs must provide a living
wage and encourage support for local workers
centers, unions, and Black-owned businesses
which are accountable to the community.

3 A right to restored land, clean air, clean water and
housing and an end to the exploitative privatization
of natural resources — including land and water.
We seek democratic control over how resources are
preserved, used and distributed and do so while
honoring and respecting the rights of our Indigenous
family.

4 The right for workers to organize in public and private
sectors, especially in “On Demand Economy” jobs.

5 Restore the Glass-Steagall Act to break up the
large banks, and call for the National Credit Union
Administration and the US Department of the
Treasury to change policies and practices around

ECONOMIC JUSTICE

Black lives matter

Opinion

Why filming police violence has done nothing
to stop it
After years of police body cams and bystander cellphone video, it’s clear that
evidentiary images on their own don’t bring about change. What’s missing is power.

by Ethan Zuckerman June 3, 2020

You’ve read 1 of 3 SubscribeSign in

Subscribe

Why filming police violence has done nothing to stop it | MIT Techn… https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/06/03/1002587/sousveilla…

1 of 10 2/8/21, 9:24 PM

After years of
increasingly
widespread
bodycam use and
ever more
pervasive social
media, it’s clear
that information
can work only
when it’s
harnessed to
power.

The murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers was captured on video, not once but

half a dozen times. As we try to understand why a police officer continued compressing a man’s
neck and spine for minutes after he’d lost consciousness, we have footage from security
cameras at Cup Foods, where Floyd allegedly paid for cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. As
we wrestle with the sight of three officers standing by as their colleague killed Floyd, we have
footage from the cell phones of witnesses who begged the officers to let Floyd off the ground. In
the murder trial of Officer Derek Chauvin, who was patrolling despite 17 civilian complaints
against him and previous involvement in two shootings of suspects, his defense may hinge on
video from the body cameras he and other officers were wearing.

None of these videos saved George Floyd’s life, and it is possible that none of them will convict
his murderer.

Officer Chauvin knew this. In the video shot by 17-year-old Darnella Frazier, you can see him
lock eyes with the teenager. He knows she’s filming, and knows that the video is likely being
streamed to Facebook, to the horror of those watching it. After all, in a suburb of nearby St. Paul
four years earlier, Officer Jeronimo Yanez shot and killed Philando Castile while Castile’s
partner streamed the video to Facebook. Yanez’s police car dashcam also recorded the seven
shots he pumped into Castile’s body. He was charged and acquitted.

After Castile’s death, I wrote a piece for MIT Technology
Review about “sousveillance,” the idea posited by the inventor
Steve Mann, the “father of wearable computing,” that
connected cameras controlled by citizens could be used to
hold power accountable. Even though bystander video of Eric
Garner being choked to death by New York police officer
Daniel Pantaleo in 2014 had led not to Pantaleo’s indictment
but to the arrest of Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed the
murder, I offered my hope that “the ubiquity of cell-phone
cameras combined with video streaming services like
Periscope, YouTube, and Facebook Live has set the stage for
citizens to hold the police responsible for excessive use of
force.”

I was wrong.

You’ve read 1 of 3 SubscribeSign in

Why filming police violence has done nothing to stop it | MIT Techn… https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/06/03/1002587/sousveilla…

2 of 10 2/8/21, 9:24 PM

rkrabill
Text Box
The murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers was captured on video, not once but

possibility that someone might be watching, Bentham believed, would be enough to prevent
bad behavior by prisoners. Foucault observed that this knowledge of being watched forces us to
police ourselves; our act of disciplining ourselves as if we were always under observation, more
than the threat of corporal punishment, is the primary mechanism of “political technology” and
power in modern society.

The hope for sousveillance comes from the same logic. If police officers know they’re being
watched both by their body cameras and by civilians with cell phones, they will discipline
themselves and refrain from engaging in unnecessary violence. It’s a good theory, but in
practice, it hasn’t worked. A large study in 2017 by the Washington, DC, mayor’s office assigned
more than a thousand police officers in the District to wear body cameras and more than a
thousand to go camera-free. The researchers hoped to find evidence that wearing cameras
correlated with better policing, less use of force, and fewer civilian complaints. They found
none: the difference in behavior between the officers who knew they were being watched and
the officers who knew they were not was statistically insignificant. Another study, which
analyzed the results of 10 randomized controlled trials of body camera use in different nations,
was helpfully titled “Wearing body cameras increases assaults against officers and does not
reduce police use of force.”

Reacting to the DC study, some scholars have hoped that if cameras don’t deter officers from
violent behavior, at least the film can hold them accountable afterwards. There, too, body
cameras rarely work the way we hope. While careful, frame-by-frame analysis of video often
shows that victims of police shootings were unarmed and that officers mistook innocuous
objects for weapons, attorneys for the defense screen the videos at normal speed to show how
tense, fast, and scary confrontations between police and suspects can be. A 1989 Supreme
Court decision means that if police officers have an “objectively reasonable” fear that their lives
or safety are in danger, they are justified in using deadly force. Videos from body cameras and
bystander cell phones have worked to bolster “reasonable fear” defense claims as much as they
have demonstrated the culpability of police officers.

It turns out that images matter, but so does power. Bentham’s panopticon works because the
warden of the prison has the power to punish you if he witnesses your misbehavior. But
Bentham’s other hope for the panopticon—that the behavior of the warden would be
transparent and evaluated by all who saw him—has never come to pass. Over 10 years, from
2005 to 2014, only 48 officers were charged with murder or manslaughter for use of lethal force,
though more than 1,000 people a year are killed by police in the United States.

You’ve read 1 of 3 SubscribeSign in

Why filming police violence has done nothing to stop it | MIT Techn… https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/06/03/1002587/sousveilla…

3 of 10 2/8/21, 9:24 PM

rkrabill
Text Box
Much of what we think about surveillance comes from the French philosopher Michel Foucault. Foucault examined the ideas of the English reformer Jeremy Bentham, who proposed a prison—the panopticon or Inspection-House—in which every cell was observable from a central watchtower. The possibility that someone might be watching, Bentham believed, would be enough to prevent
rkrabill
Text Box
though more than 1,000 people a year are killed by police in the United States.
As he stared at Darnella Frazier, Officer Chauvin knew this, because it’s impossible to work in law enforcement in the US and not know this. The institutions that protect police officers from facing legal consequences for their actions—internal affairs divisions, civil service job protections, police unions, “reasonable fear”—work far better than the institutions that hold them responsible for abuses.

Share Link

Tagged politics, race, surveillance

Author Ethan Zuckerman

protections, police unions, “reasonable fear”—work far better than the institutions that hold
them responsible for abuses.

The hope that pervasive cameras by themselves would counterbalance the systemic racism that
leads to the overpolicing of communities of color and the disproportionate use of force against
black men was simply a techno-utopian fantasy. It was a hope that police violence could be an
information problem like Uber rides or Amazon recommendations, solvable by increasing the
flows of data. But after years of increasingly widespread bodycam use and ever more pervasive
social media, it’s clear that information can work only when it’s harnessed to power. If there’s
one thing that Americans—particularly people of color in America—have learned from George
Floyd, Philando Castile, and Eric Garner, it’s that individuals armed with images are largely
powerless to make systemic change.

That’s the reason people have taken to the streets in Minneapolis, DC, New York, and so many
other cities. There’s one thing images of police brutality seem to have the power to do: shock,
outrage, and mobilize people to demand systemic change. That alone is the reason to keep
filming.

You’ve read 1 of 3 SubscribeSign in

Why filming police violence has done nothing to stop it | MIT Techn… https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/06/03/1002587/sousveilla…

4 of 10 2/8/21, 9:24 PM

Tech policy 4 hours

Predictive policing is still racist—whatever
You’ve read 1 of 3 SubscribeSign in

The next act for
messenger RNA
could be bigger
than covid
vaccines
New messenger RNA vaccines to fight

the coronavirus are based on a

technology that could transform

medicine. Next up: sickle cell and HIV.

The Big Story: mRNA Feb 5

01.

Getting vaccinated is
hard. It’s even harder
without the internet.
Feb 03

02.

So you got the vaccine.
Can you still infect
people? Pfizer is trying to
find out.
Feb 02

03.

I jumped the queue to get
an expiring vaccine. Did I
do the right thing?
Feb 01

Why filming police violence has done nothing to stop it | MIT Techn… https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/06/03/1002587/sousveilla…

5 of 10 2/8/21, 9:24 PM

Artificial intelligence 11 hours

This is how we lost control of our faces
The largest ever study of facial-recognition data shows how much the rise of deep

learning has fueled a loss of privacy.

You’ve read 1 of 3 SubscribeSign in

Why filming police violence has done nothing to stop it | MIT Techn… https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/06/03/1002587/sousveilla…

6 of 10 2/8/21, 9:24 PM

Unlimited computer fractals can help train AI
to see
Large datasets like ImageNet have supercharged the last 10 years of AI vision, but they

are hard to produce and contain bias. Computer generated datasets provide an

alternative.

Space 1 day

Blue Origin could definitely use more Jeff
Bezos in the next decade
Having Bezos play a larger role could help his space company catch up with SpaceX.

You’ve read 1 of 3 SubscribeSign in

Why filming police violence has done nothing to stop it | MIT Techn… https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/06/03/1002587/sousveilla…

7 of 10 2/8/21, 9:24 PM

Lunik: Inside the CIA’s audacious plot
to steal a Soviet satellite
How a team of spies in Mexico got their hands on Russia’s space secrets—and tried to

change the course of the Cold War.

The Big Story: The Lunik heist Jan 28

You’ve read 1 of 3 SubscribeSign in

Why filming police violence has done nothing to stop it | MIT Techn… https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/06/03/1002587/sousveilla…

8 of 10 2/8/21, 9:24 PM

Collaborative planning in an uncertain world
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, organizations equipped with cloud-based

systems and tools are poised for growth in a reformed landscape.

In association with Oracle

Tech policy 2 days

Getting vaccinated is hard. It’s even harder
without the internet.
The digital divide is hurting many Americans just when they need connectivity the

most. But change may require focusing on affordability, not access.

Space Feb 03

The space tourism we were promised is
finally here—sort of
<p>SpaceX’s first “all-civilian” mission into orbit could create a whole new service in the

space economy. But not everyone will be able to participate.</p>

You’ve read 1 of 3 SubscribeSign in

Why filming police violence has done nothing to stop it | MIT Techn… https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/06/03/1002587/sousveilla…

9 of 10 2/8/21, 9:24 PM

You’ve read 1 of 3 SubscribeSign in

Why filming police violence has done nothing to stop it | MIT Techn… https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/06/03/1002587/sousveilla…

10 of 10 2/8/21, 9:24 PM