Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Silent Movie

YouTube - Police Chase Suspect Kicked In The Head By El Monte Police Officers on 5/13/2009 (Police Brutality)

Police video taped kicking a suspect in the head. Watch the video and listen to the voice of the TV news guy. It seems to me the TV guy was generally pro-police but he saw something on the video that disturbed him. When we watch these videos there is much to keep in mind, because seeing should always be believing.

Officers are not seeing the situation from the same angle as the video. In this case the video camera is above the suspect and has a clear view of the suspects waistband and both hands. The officer is seeing the suspect from ground view and we don't know for certain what he can see, or what his perceptions are about the danger posed by the suspect.

We also don't know the back story on the video. In listening carefully to the TV guy he says the car was wanted in a drive by shooting, attempted murder from earlier that day. The suspect drove on the wrong side of the street at a high rate of speed. The two passengers got out and surrendered at the vehicle. The driver chose to continue to run on foot when the vehicle stopped. Those are significant danger cues that the suspect running away may be very dangerous.

The audio we hear is only that of the TV guy. We have no idea what the suspect may have said to the officer, or what commands the officer gave to the suspect. If the officer told the suspect to turn around and put his hands up and the suspect laid down and put his hands behind his back, again that could be a danger cue. I an neither defending nor condemning the officers in the video. I am saying that we should not simply allow a silent video to tell us all we need to know about a situation before we make judgements about the propriety of the actions of the officers involved; that's what the SGT Says.


Protect_and_Serve said...

One more reason to hate video cameras. They hurt us much more than we think they help us. The don't change the event, they just change the public's perception of the event.

Bunkermeister said...

Often that is very true. I suspect one day we will just have them everywhere and we will have to train about video in the academy and how to look nice on TV.