Video Evidence Of Police Misdeeds Prompts “Crisis Of Legitimacy” For Cops


Seven months after the Ferguson police shooting, the fatal shooting of an apparently unarmed black man by a white police officer in North Charleston, S.C., resulted in a swift, decisive, and broad-based consensus that the officer should be charged with murder, says the Christian Science Monitor. The compelling nature of a bystander video led to Michael Slager’s arrest and firing for shooting Walter Scott. There was no attempt to close ranks around the officer. The mayor and police chief visited the victim's family and announced they would provide a police escort for Scott's funeral. The mayor ordered city police officers to start wearing body cameras.

The existence of the video, along with the momentum for reform spawned by a half-dozen other recent incidents from Los Angeles to Madison, Wi., – some with videos of their own – is threatening the traditional deference given to police. “There is – and police departments are starting to know this – there is a crisis of legitimacy,” says Jeannine Bell, an Indiana University law professor who studies policing and hate crimes. “And this crisis does not help the difficult job that police officers already have of fighting crime and protecting citizens – it absolutely does not.”

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