Watching the Defectives


One of the more-promising techniques to curb civil rights infractions by police is the taping of all arrests, interrogations, etc. Because encounters can be impartially observed, the only people who lose are actual criminals and rogue cops.

It's a good idea but this Cincinnati Enquirer reports shows that it's hardly problem-free. A snippet:

Board members of the seven-member citizen watchdog panel say they're seeing too many complaints that pit the word of an officer against the word of a suspect. Too often, board members said, there's no videotape to corroborate either version, leading them to find insufficient evidence of police misconduct.

Some of the video cameras, called "mobile video recorders" or MVRs, are 7 years old. With cruisers driven around the clock, it's not uncommon for the cameras to fail during critical incidents, police said.

Whole thing here.

Headline apology to Elvis Costello (who himself has a lot of apologizing to do).