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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Moral Panics and Body Cameras

That is the title of my new essay in Wash. U. L. Rev. Commentaries (and forthcoming in Wash. U. L. Rev.). The abstract is after the jump.

Obviously, I have been thinking about Ferguson quite a bit of late.

This Commentary uses the lens of "moral panics" to evaluate public support for equipping law enforcement with body cameras as a response and solution to events in Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014. Body cameras are a generally good policy idea. But the rhetoric surrounding them erroneously treats them as the single guaranteed solution to the problem of excessive force and police-citizen conflicts, particularly by ignoring the limitations of video evidence and the difficult questions of implementing any body camera program. In overstating the case, the rhetoric of body cameras becomes indistinguishable from rhetoric surrounding responses to past moral panics. 

Posted by Howard Wasserman on November 18, 2014 at 09:31 AM in Article Spotlight, First Amendment, Howard Wasserman, Law and Politics | Permalink


Looks interesting be sure to check out Martina Kitzmueller, Are You Recording This?: Enforcement of Police Videotaping, 47 Conn. L. Rev. 167 (2014)(examining how different states are compelling law enforcement to make and preserve videos through a combination of legislation and judicial intervention).

Posted by: ConnLRev | Nov 19, 2014 10:28:21 AM

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