Want to know how to create a hostile relationship between law enforcement and the minority community? Arm the minority community with free video cameras to record interactions with police. And that's exactly what the ever-
popular American Civil Liberties Union is planning to do in north St. Louis.
There is evidence that some law enforcement officers treat minorities differently than they do the remaining population. That is clearly wrong. But there is also evidence that crimes are higher in minority communities and thus, there needs to be a higher police presence. The more interaction, the greater chance that errors will be made.
But what signal do we send to the young people when their parents or neighbors are video taping police activities? Does that breed respect for law enforcement or does that breed suspicion? The answer is obvious.
And just a footnote - this program would be the first in the nation to put police under private surveillance as they work.
Granted, I am not black so I cannot perhaps fully understand the thinking that has gone into this program. But to believe there is some widespread conspiracy among law enforcement to treat one group different than another seems to stretch the point.
This program will perpetuate a climate of distrust toward law enforcement and that is the exact goal of the ACLU. I agree with the principle that I may not agree with your words but I will defend to the death your right to say those words. Yet, when it comes to the ACLU, I would have great difficulty defending much of their actions. I have asked the question before and I guess I am just too lazy to find the answer. But who funds the ACLU? That may well be my next project.
Respect, not fear of law enforcement, is essential in a civilized society. To arm citizens with video cameras may be legal but that doesn't make it right.