Our Times 3

Christopher Schneider

  • Where’s the transparency with an inactive police body camera?

    Citizens should continue to record the police and share their videos on social media. Bystander recordings of use of force, including videos as brazen as the one recorded by Mr. Korchinski Beals, bring immediate attention to police behaviour, offering transparency and accountability in situations where the public cannot expect the police will necessarily share camera footage, let alone activate their body-worn cameras.

  • Transparency is voided when police weaponize copyrighted music

    An unsettling trend in law enforcement is occurring whereby police officers are weaponizing copyrighted music to thwart bystander recordings of police from going viral. It is not a mistake or a game but a growing police tactic. During a recent exchange with Black Lives Matter activists, an Alameda County Sheriff’s deputy in California was caught on camera pulling out his phone to soundtrack the interaction with Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.”

  • Body-worn cameras and ending the public subsidization of police accountability

    Although body-worn cameras have become widespread in law enforcement agencies across the United States, taxpayers have continued to bear the brunt of the financial costs associated with police accountability. Officers should absolutely be held accountable for bad behaviour caught on body cameras but the public should not be expected to continue to subsidize it.

  • Protecting police with hate speech legislation will not bring respect to law enforcement

    Proper respect is earned, not given or forced. Increased police force whether through the use of violence in response to protest speech, as a result of perceived disrespectful encounters with citizens, or labeling public criticism of police actions that result in death as “hate speech” will never bring any moral authority or more respect to police. Indeed, it will surely do just the opposite.

  • Social media has done more for transparency and accountability than police body-worn cameras

    Following the circulation of a recent video of a violent altercation with police, Montréal mayor Valérie Plante has renewed calls for police body-worn cameras. The cameras are also currently being discussed in Winnipeg. Viral videos on social media have arguably done more for police transparency and accountably than body-worn cameras. Perhaps a better idea is to encourage the public to record police encounters with citizens.

  • ‘Never forget it’: Black History Month and police brutality

    There are myriad ways in which people can honour Black History Month. Listening to the stories and narratives of Black Canadians, as expressed in poetry, art, and music is one good way. Hip-hop storytellers like Ottawa’s City Fidelia serve as a vital voice, one uniquely positioned in history with a subjective awareness of racism, while also speaking of the lived experiences of Black and brown people in Canada in the present.

  • Canadian universities should divest from policing interests

    Universities have no business concocting band-aid solutions for a sick and rotting system that continues to both maintain and reproduce white supremacy. To continue to do so is an affront to every black and Indigenous student, staff member, and community member and is nothing short of a mockery of any real efforts to decolonize and indigenize the Canadian academic landscape.

  • Killing of George Floyd proves police reform more urgent than ever

    On May 25, George Floyd, a black resident of Minneapolis, died after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by the knee of police officer Derek Chauvin. Some of Floyd’s last words were “I can’t breathe.” This event marked yet another appalling viral bystander recording of an unarmed black man’s needless and unconscionable death. Calls for justice are widespread. Police reform is desperately needed.

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