Friday, April 24, 2015
Police Brutality Exposed by Social Media.
The prevalence of social media and the ubiquity of smart phones with cameras are two emerging trends that are combining to illuminate an increasingly negative trend: videos of police officers using excessive force on citizens which, recently, have had fatal consequences. From across the nation, we continue to see videos of police shooting an unarmed man in the back, asphyxiating a helpless man on the ground, and knocking a woman out in front of her six-year-old daughter.
So the question must be asked: “Are incidents of police violence truly on the rise, or are more of these incidents being caught on video, and then spreading like wild fire on social media platforms?” It has been notoriously difficult to get reliable figures on incidents of police violence, as police departments are notoriously loathe to share that information.
So, some interesting new technology is allowing citizens to create digital maps that show where these violent incidents occur as well as the prevalence of these incidents by municipality, county, etc. This site: http://googlemapsmania.blogspot.com/2014/10/mapping-police-brutality.html shows some of the work that is being done.
This site shows the prevalence of botched paramilitary raids by police who use tanks and heavy weaponry to confront and terrorize unarmed citizens: http://www.cato.org/raidmap
Organizations such as Hands Up United http://maps.handsupunited.org/ are trying to raise public awareness about police brutality, and are skilled in using social media to inform the public and to recruit supporters. Although some of the pictures and videos they distribute are quite graphic, they do represent the truth: American citizens are being abused, beaten and slain by police officers who have chosen to forsake their vows of Protecting and Serving.