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Body-Worn Cameras: An Empty Reform to Expand the Surveillance State

By Stop LAPD Spying Coalition & Campaign Zero

Insight: Body-worn cameras should not be perceived as the end-all solution to fostering greater
police accountability and oversight and mitigating officers’ deadly use of force. Analyzing body-worn cameras
through the financial details surrounding them in the context of the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD)
contract with TASER International raises serious allegations of conflicts of interest as well as concerns
stemming from the lack of substantive community input and debate on the deal. Research as to the efficacy of
body-worn cameras is also virtually non-existent, which leads the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition to contend that
marketing hype and the pursuit of more effective means of surveillance and intelligence gathering, not
empirical data, are driving the push toward adoption of body-worn cameras by police departments across the
nation. This was facilitated in the case of Los Angeles by its Civilian Police Commission, which functions
through legitimating an unwavering pro-law enforcement perspective while other, more critical, community
voices are marginalized and framed as outside the boundaries of respectable discourse.

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