During the past few years, our nation has seen various incidents unfold involving excessive force by police against African American civilians. Some of the violence has led to injury; some of it has led to death.
These incidents have led to outrage in the country. The high-profile, emotional cases have ignited a conversation in Tennessee and beyond about race and policing in the U.S. Based on a recent proposal in Tennessee, it seems that the threat of excessive force by police has also inspired some to seek a change in law enforcement’s everyday gear.
USA Today reports that the Tennessee Highway Patrol is considering the use of body cameras for each of its patrols. This means that officers who are out in the community would have cameras on them while on the job.
That setup would create opportunities to gain information for a couple of valuable causes:
- Holding police officers accountable for their actions
- Providing evidence to defend or prosecute people captured on the video recordings
From a criminal defense standpoint, recordings could be invaluable in cases where officers abuse their authority and violate a suspect’s rights. The details an officer reports better line up with the details on the recording. There is more than an officer’s word regarding a situation; with the body cameras, theoretically there would be visual and audio evidence to help verify what happened.
Just as body camera recordings can verify the actions of an officer during a traffic stop in Tennessee, for example, the recordings also provide evidence of what a suspect in a traffic stop says. This makes the advice to exercise your right to remain silent even more important to follow.
While some Tennessee departments already have been using body cameras, requiring all officers in the state to use them is still just a possibility. We will keep you posted on our criminal defense blog if there is an update in this matter.
If you have been the target of a traffic stop and think an officer violated your rights, talk candidly with your defense lawyer. Perhaps there is video evidence that might help your case.