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Could livestreaming prevent misconduct?
PBSO’s announcement came less than three weeks after the much-anticipated body camera footage was released that captured Memphis police officers beating Tyre Nichols to death, raising questions over the merits of body cameras when it comes to accountability.
Bradshaw has long argued that body cameras do not prevent misconduct. On Thursday, he cited Nichols’ death as an example.
“Don’t for a minute think it’s going to stop something from happening,” he said. “Look at Memphis. Those guys had body cams; that didn’t stop them from inappropriate conduct.”
Body cameras, Bradshaw maintained, are “after the fact.” But he also said that livestreaming technology will allow deputies to “control the outcome rather than look at what the outcome was.”
Asked whether he believes livestreaming could have prevented what happened in Memphis, Bradshaw said “possibly.”
“It depends on who was reviewing it,” he continued. “... But if you go back to George Floyd, Memphis, and all these other places that have had these problems, right, you can always turn it back to it’s bad training, it’s bad policy, and it’s bad supervision.”
Heydari said that it is possible the livestreaming function could help prevent misconduct, but he was wary of how often that would actually happen, and whether it would be enough to outweigh the potential harms.
“In theory I could see if an officer is in a tense situation, being able to communicate with a supervisor who can see the situation for example, it might be helpful if the supervisor can give the officer advice about how to deescalate,” he said. “The question is, how often is that happening, versus it’s being used as a surveillance tool?”