Make Police Body Cams Mandatory

Make Police Body Cams Mandatory

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The recent murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin has sparked outrage across the United States, Canada and the world. The protests and riots that followed are a sign that our standards for policing and police accountability are outdated and have not been updated in accordance with the development of technology over the past decade plus. 

The number of African-Americans who have been unjustly killed by police is a number that we will never know. The sole reason we are now aware off these horrible actions and some of the cases like George Floyd's has been because of the rise in people having smartphones with the ability to capture videos. But videos and factual evidence for these cases should not be the responsibility of the citizens to capture. With the advancements in technology the world has had this century, police body cams should not be optionally by jurisdiction.  

Despite some Canadians belief that this is a American issue alone, racism in Canada is prevalent issue. Reports find that a black person in Toronto is more likely to be injured or killed by police then someone who is white, and in one-third of RCMP killings, the victim was Indigenous. In addition, one of our country's most famous exports during this pandemic was Amy Cooper. 

Action and meaningful progress is possible, but only if everyone speaks up. Police body cams have been something that has been talked about for years, but rarely ever put into practice. The Toronto Police finished a pilot project for body cams in 2016 and had a recommendation to move forward their deployment, however no officers in Toronto are currently equipped with them. 

There have been renewed promises made in the wake of George Floyd's death by the Toronto Police to have an expedited rollout of body-worn cameras. However, we have seen these promises fall through the cracks before. We must call on all levels of government, provincial and federal to allocate funding for body cam programs, including the proper storage of all data and proper training. 

There is no "one act" that can be taken by anyone or any government to solve these issues, but must be a collection of policies that address the economic and social disadvantages white people have allowed to occur for years. As a society, we must move collective to help address these issue, through peaceful protest and exercising our right to vote for people who believe in the same beliefs as you.