'Downside of Police Body Cameras: Your Arrest Hits YouTube' by Timothy Williams in The New York Times

Photo by: Evan McGlinn for The New York Times

Photo by: Evan McGlinn for The New York Times

"Police departments around the country have been moving with unusual speed to equip officers with body cameras to film their often edgy encounters with the public. But the adoption of these cameras has created a new conflict over who has the right to view the recordings.

In Seattle, where a dozen officers started wearing body cameras in a pilot program in December, the department has set up its own YouTube channel, broadcasting a stream of blurred images to protect the privacy of people filmed. Much of this footage is uncontroversial; one scene shows a woman jogging past a group of people and an officer watching her, then having a muted conversation with people whose faces have been obscured.

. . . 

Scenes unfold slowly, in cinéma vérité style, as officers go about their work until a moment arrives when someone is suddenly shot and killed. Sometimes words are exchanged before the shootings, but often they occur in silence. The footage has little in common with the stylized deaths in Hollywood movies: There is often no sign of bleeding, and bodies lay twisted as if they have been broken."

Read full article here.