In spite of all the hype about the Phony War on Cops and the “YouTube Effect” being a bad thing because it forces cops to not consider just beating or murdering people as their first option, a NYPD Civilian Review Board report has just shown how valuable civilians filming the police can be in helping those organizations remove bad cops from the streets.
According to this report, independently recorded video has helped turn New York’s Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) from a “dysfunctional and notoriously inefficient kangaroo court whose recommendations for discipline were rarely observed” into one that actually has some bite when dealing with excessive force allegations.
Via Vice News: (Links added)
According to the CCRB’s latest bi-annual report, far more claims of excessive force are now being fully investigated and substantiated than in previous years. CCRB chairman Richard Emery attributes the improved substantiation rate to the rise of civilian-recorded videos that catch police red-handed when they’re behaving badly.
“The big news in police oversight is one word: Video,” Emery wrote in the report published on Tuesday. “Video is changing everything.”
The percentage of excessive force allegations corroborated by video evidence increased from 4 percent to 21 percent between 2012 and 2015, according to the report, while the number of cases where video evidence was crucial to the outcome climbed from 15 percent to 45 percent over the same period…
Emery admits that the CCRB was previously a “toothless tiger” that failed to garner respect from the police department, and consequently, “its recommendations were ignored, for the most part.” Officers are now disciplined in 91 percent of cases that involve substantiated misconduct claims, the highest discipline rate since the CCRB was established in 1993, and a 30 percent increase over 2014.
Not that this is some amazing surprise to those of us out there recording. It’s hard to deny misconduct when it is caught on video and, although this is still the default position of the vast majority of police departments, sweeping it under the rug and exonerating perpetrators of police violence is much harder when that violence is out there for the world to see. Instead of crying and complaining about being recorded, those (mythical) “Good Cops” out there should be thanking advocates of filming the police for helping them to eliminate those Bad Apples within their ranks that are making their jobs more difficult and dangerous.
That’s the real YouTube Effect.