When I lived in England, there were surveillance cameras all over London. Probably on every city block. The Brits just considered it part of their everyday existence. Americans, of course, go nuts at the thought of surveillance cameras intruding on their personal privacy. Even when they’re out in public.
I’m in the minority on that. I say put cameras everywhere. Especially because of this:
Yes, the indefensible thing happens a lot. I’ve noted that more than once here. But a couple of days ago, this happened within walking distance of my home:
Community members and activists are questioning a Louisville Metro Police officer’s use of deadly force against an African man in Old Louisville on Saturday afternoon.
But Police Chief Steve Conrad said the man, who he said was thought to be an African man in his mid-30s, was shot twice in self-defense after he allegedly picked up a metal flag pole and swung at the officer outside a convenience store at Fourth and Oak streets.
The officer confronted the man after responding to a call about an assault on a woman in the area, and the man had a brief conversation with the officer before walking away, Conrad said.
The man then picked up a metal flag pole in front of the store and swung at the officer, he said.
Some say the cop should have tried to restrain the guy. Others say there was no threat and that the shooting was indefensible.
But what would we say if there was a video? (The following is graphic.)
At 3:44, you see a guy walk against the traffic light, forcing a car to stop. You see the police car on the corner. When the light changes, you see the cop stop and get out to talk to the guy. Just talk.
What you don’t see and most likely what the cop didn’t know, is that several minutes earlier, the guy had crossed a street, grabbed a woman’s purse and punched her in the face a couple of times when she wouldn’t let go. She had never seen him before.There’s no video on that, but a man intervened and called police. The woman was treated by paramedics at the scene.
And even with that, the video shows you can’t trust an “eyewitness.” One person at the scene of the shooting said the cop had his hand on his gun when he stopped the guy (No, he didn’t.), and that the cop could have used mace or a stun gun instead. (No. The attack was quick and there was no time to consider the options.)
This is not an instance of a cop shooting a guy in the back who’s running away. This is not an instance of an out of control cop losing his shit at a pool party. This is not an instance of an arrested suspect getting his spinal cord severed in the back of a police transport vehicle.
There is no “allegedly picked up a metal flag pole and swung at the officer.” There is no reason for community outrage.
A white cop shot a black guy on a Saturday afternoon in Louisville. You see the video. If you were the cop, what would you have done?
And that’s why we need surveillance cameras. To catch cops when they’re wrong, and to defend cops when they’re right.