By Carron J. Phillips
In another edition of the NFL trying to do right, yet failing, the Green Bay Packers recently gave more than $750,000 to the city of Green Bay for police body cameras in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., according to the Washington Post.
The team believes this will increase “local police accountability,” as if that term isn’t an oxymoron.
“What are the areas where you can make an impact?” Packers CEO Mark Murphy told the Post. “The nice thing about the body cams is, there’s pretty much a consensus these are good things to have. The only people against it are bad cops and criminals.”
“These have been issues for years. Obviously, it came to a head a couple years ago with Colin Kaepernick and the protest. We’ve always been very supportive of our players. At least in my mind, for us, the Jacob Blake shooting happened right in our backyard. To me, it was kind of an inflection point. We can’t just raise these issues. We can’t just make people aware of them. We need to move beyond that. We’re in a very privileged position as an organization where we can impact help change. We have a responsibility to do that.”
This is what good intent but bad execution looks like, especially when you realize that the report reveals that the city of Green Bay wanted to get body cameras five years ago, but, according to the Washington Post, “found it too expensive.”
But instead of telling you how body cameras aren’t the antidote to racism and police brutality, I’d rather show you how. Here are a few headlines and links to stories that you will quickly find if you search “Black people killed – police body cameras.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer – Police officers who killed Walter Wallace Jr. wore body cameras. Release the footage
New York Times – Black Man Died of Suffocation After Officers Put Hood on Him
Washington Post – Some U.S. police departments dump body-camera programs amid high costs
It took me less than a minute to find these examples, and trust me, there are so many more that address this issue. The Packers would have known that if they’d asked some Black people who don’t suit up for them each Sunday and aren’t on the payroll.
Because despite how body cameras are supposed to work, far too often they become useless when officers turn them off, or police departments and city officials do everything in their power to keep the recordings concealed – rest in peace, Laquan McDonald.
As we’ve been exposed to more video of the shootings and killings of Black people, and people in general, over the last few years, it’s been mostly due to cell phone footage, which is the modern version of a VHS tape, and the only reason why we know what really happened to Rodney King back in 1991.
If the Green Bay Packers truly wanted to increase “local police accountability,” they wouldn’t have helped the department buy technology that doesn’t dismantle systemic oppression, but oftentimes enables it.