Founder of WeCopwatch and producer of the first know-your-rights video to use content entirely from the street, Jacob Crawford has long advocated that cameras be used during police interactions. But, unlike many who mindlessly clamor for more taxpayer money to be used to try to make the police less brutal by outfitting them with body cameras, Crawford recognizes the importance of you and me – as non-police employees – possessing the camera.
Crawford recently had the chance to share some of his insight with the audience of CNN:
After Mike Brown was killed in Ferguson, Crawford traveled there, connected with folks from the Canfield neighborhood, and helped get a police accountability group – The Canfield Watchmen – started. As he states in the video above, even more than cameras, knowledge is important.
- The Canfield Watchmen – Facebook
Earlier this year Crawford co-authored a piece that discredited the statistic used by many advocates of police worn body cams.
Across the country, body cameras are being purchased by police departments in the name of transparency. According to a widely publicized study, Rialto, California, boasted an 88% drop in complaints in the first year after the cameras were introduced there, along with a 60% drop in police use of force. Rialto is a small city with only 66 cops, and its Police Chief, Tony Farrar, collaborated with Taser International, Inc., in the study. The Taser corporation has gained record profits by marketing body cameras to hundreds of cities, along with a cloud-based backup and search service called Evidence.com, which was used to collect the data for the Rialto study that led to many of these sales.
Clearly, it is important to not take everything at face value and to do your own research. Though of course, it is quite easy to know that police, no matter what technology or monitoring equipment they’re outfitted with, will always be rights-violating as their institution itself is based on coercion.
More recently, Crawford announced that in 2015 he and others will be offering Know Your Rights training online.
Keep up the great work Jacob Crawford!
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