Police body cameras will not change the culture of racism in America

“It’s not the camera; it’s the culture,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. said April 11 during his weekly Rainbow PUSH forum aired nationwide from Chicago. Emphasizing this distinction, Jackson uttered the phrase twice when discussing the murder of Walter Scott by North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer Michael Slager.

Politicians and police departments have turned toward the body camerato improve relations between police officers and the communities they serve and to lessen violence perpetrated by—and we hope against—police officers. But it will take more than body cameras, police dashboard cameras, and cameras installed in public places to make people feel safer. Increasing surveillance is not enough.

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