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Sacramento Cops Muting Cameras Only Creates More Distrust

by Todd A. Smith

 

What is there to Hide?


Just when many police officers across the country began making headway in improving relations with the African-American community, up jumps the devil.


After the unarmed Stephon Clark, 22, died in a hail of over 20 gunshots from police officers while standing in his grandmother’s backyard, Sacramento, Calif. police on the scene decided to mute their body cameras while they apparently discussed Clark’s death.


The muting will only, justifiably, lead to more distrust from the African-American community. 

 

As a result of the video, not only does it seem that African-Americans get killed by cops for simply talking on their cell phone in their grandmother’s backyard, while White murderers like Dylann Roof get arrested peacefully, now those who protest against police brutality seemingly have proof that a lot of funny business takes place so that officers get exonerated when killing an African-American.


According to CNN.com, “The department policy includes 16 instances when a body camera is required to be activated, including vehicle stops and sobriety tests as well as foot and vehicle pursuits.


“It says employees can deactivate their cameras in some instances, but that’s based on their discretion…Some situations are also based on the officer’s judgment, like if a recording would interfere with the officer’s ability to investigate or if the recording would be inappropriate based on the victim or witness’ physical condition and emotional state.”


The police department does not, however, specify whether deactivating and muting body cameras is the same thing.


Regardless, if the officers were within their rights to mute their body cameras, the optics could not be worse for law enforcement in Sacramento.


It simply looks as if they might have been concocting a story to justify Clark’s death because if they were concerned about Clark’s physical condition or appearance, why not totally deactivate the body cameras until Clark’s body was removed from the scene?


Of the many criticisms that Black leaders and Black Lives Matter activists have received over the years is the so-called lack of accountability in the Black community.


Critics claim that Black people should just comply when confronted by officers.


But Clark did not get the time to comply or speak before he was gunned down.


Critics claim that there is a lot of crime in the Black community so officers might be on edge when they encounter volatile and violent scenes.


But weren’t Roof of South Carolina and Nicolaz Cruz of Parkland, Fla. volatile and violent individuals?


What about James Homes, the shooter in the mass movie theater killings in Aurora, Colo.? 

 

Yet, they were arrested peacefully without officers firing shots at them.


But somehow killing an unarmed Black man on his cell phone in his grandmother’s backyard does not show a lack of accountability?


It definitely shows a lack of accountability.


Police officers, White Americans, Hispanic Americans, African-Americans and everyone in between should all be accountable for their actions.


Accountability should apply to all people, not just Black people.


If the Sacramento Police Department is transparent, admit their mistakes and not try to justify the killing of Clark it would go a long way in repairing cop/community relations.


Making excuses will only make more enemies within the communities that the officers serve.

 

Everyone knows that police officers have a dangerous job, but justifying why a man on his cell phone in his grandmother’s backyard is a danger to police officers will only create more distrust and make the job even more strenuous.


This article was published on Friday 30 March, 2018.
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