Thursday, December 24, 2015

Hiding police violence out in the open

It seems that law enforcement has learned a lesson from computer geeks and conspiracy theorists the world over – if you really want to hide something, do it out in the open.

Literally put all the raw data concerning your biggest secret onto a website so poorly designed and unpromoted that most people don’t even realize it exists – or perhaps don’t realize its significance if they happen to stumble into the site.

AND IF BY chance people do happen to find out what is going on, you can claim to have been fully honest about your information the whole time!

You’d be amazed at some of the stuff you find if you scour the Internet’s depths (and not just using Google to search for “naked cheerleaders” or stuff like that).

That same attitude seems to prevail with law enforcement and their attitude toward technology meant to record their activity – which theoretically is supposed to show that our police officers behave in completely professional manners at all times.

Those recordings are supposed to show how guilty those perpetrators truly are; and those are the videos we get to see freely.

BUT THE CHICAGO Tribune reported this week how there are many other instances of videos that aren’t quite so easy to find, and those are the ones where there are questions.

And in many cases, what turns up in those videos really isn’t so clear-cut. Or maybe there’s no audio to go along with the video. So what you really get is an out-of-context mess of fact that no one truly understands.

Yet the police will claim that the video cameras mean everything is being done on the up-and-up. Even though I have stumbled across reports of how the reason there is so little audio to go with video is because of police officers who, on their own initiative, wound up losing the microphones that would have recorded what was actually being said.

We’ll get the official pronouncements from law enforcement officials claiming that it is a crime to knowingly tamper with the recordings. Yet I’m sure proving criminal intent becomes difficult to do.

JUST LIKE PROVING that a law enforcement officer’s use of physical force (sometimes deadly) elevates to the level of criminal – considering that we give police the legal power to hurt people at times.

So all those people who want to file lawsuits against Chicago and the police department thinking that there’s a video in existence that will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt what happened are fooling themselves.

What they’re more likely to find out is that the video is vague and open to interpretation.

Even that now-internationally renowned video of the death of Laquan McDonald is much more vague than was originally thought – the only sight of a police officer is the one who kicked the knife out of Laquan’s cold, dead hand and the shots fired into his body come from off-screen.

WHICH IS WHY I still wonder how solid the criminal case is against the police officer who now faces multiple murder counts for McDonald’s death. And think the ultimate tragedy would be if people (including Rahm Emanuel) were to suffer politically while officer Jason Van Dyke were to be acquitted!

That might be the result that would cause rioting in Chicago – an outcome that our city has managed to avoid thus far, unlike places like Baltimore and Ferguson, Mo., to name a few.

And all those police videos?

For all we know, they’ll wind up taking up space on YouTube someday – going largely unwatched except by people who are looking for something stupid to view after watching video of kids on skateboards deliberately crashing their bodies into inanimate objects.


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