Widely known as the Web site chock-full of outrageous videos, YouTube and other forms of amateur video have unexpectedly become a tool for justice.
Recently, a YouTube video triggered an FBI probe of a Los Angeles arrest. The clip showed two police officers repeatedly punching a suspect while apprehending him.
The Los Angeles Police Department and the FBI are investigating allegations of police brutality.
“Such amateur clips help cast a spotlight on police wrongdoing that could otherwise go unreported,” said Ramona Ripston, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.
It is amazing that such a frivolous means of entertainment has turned into an entity that elicits positive effects. This mindless craze has brought a case to people’s attentions that otherwise would not have been.
Although the video-sharing program was not made to be a watchdog for the community,
this unexpected element substantiates
and disproves the previous notion of the site being a mindless time-waster.
The recent development highlights a disturbing yet real ongoing phenomenon – authorities abusing their power.
A YouTube search for “police brutality” yielded almost 600 videos. Some of these videos were over four minutes long. Many were gory, including the one that prompted the FBI investigation.
The videos show individuals being dragged on asphalt and beaten repeatedly over the head with nightsticks by multiple police
officers. Some were in schools – not even children are exempt – and some were in the streets. It was also worldwide. From Serbia to Egypt to the United States, it seemed that no continent or country was spared from these deplorable, disgraceful acts.
Another amateur video from Los Angeles
caught authorities using a stun gun on a UCLA student who refused to show his ID when asked to do so. The incident was recorded on a student’s camera phone, showing the victim screaming on the floor of the computer lab.
Enough is enough. When these cases are happening so frequently, it is time to act now. Police brutality and misconduct in any way, shape or form should not be tolerated.
The system needs to be re-evaluated and new policies enacted.
It is absolutely unacceptable to allow the authorities to do whatever they want to whomever they want. These perpetrators are a disgrace to the police force and a blasphemous mar on the face of human decency, democracy and justice.
It is unfortunate that there is little preventative measure taken against police brutality and only repercussions. At the same time those repercussions are hardly carried out. The police academies cannot foretell who has the tendency to commit acts of this nature.
And it is horrifying to think that the people who are supposed to enforce the law are the same ones breaking the law. Even more frightening is that there have been numerous highly publicized cases of police brutality in which the perpetrators have gotten little more than a slap on the wrist.
Often times, it is the citizens who must police the police, and that is exactly what these clips are doing. YouTube may give more citizens the courage to come forward about police misconduct or other wrongdoings.
There is no way to gauge how effective the videos are of actually bringing perpetrators to justice, but this recent case brings hope for the cause. Hopefully great minds can start working together to devise a plan to somehow prevent police brutality.
Dashira Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.