We Must All Be Cop Watchers: Repairing Systemic Problems in Policing

David Flash

All across America, cop-watchers likeAustin’s Peaceful Streets Projectshine a spotlight on police malfeasance by organizing to record the police. Catching cops behaving badly on camera has proven a powerful way to draw public and official attention to systemic flaws in policing. While cop-watchers catch cops engaging in misconduct and harming citizens, the abhorrent police actions they capture on film are merely the tip of the iceberg. Law enforcement agencies sworn to uphold the constitution are, in far too many cases, violating the civil rights of law-abiding citizens as a matter of policy and practice. Police officers cannot be rightfully blamed for doing what “We the People” have asked them to do.

The problem is: For the most part, “We the People” aren’t involved in deciding, or really aware of, what peace officers are asked do daily in America’s 15,000 plus law enforcement agencies by policy, practice, and statute.

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