Why The Left Hates Badge Cam Video
Good Video, Good Sound, Wrong Story—A Snare for the Red Spox
By Wes Denham
A few years ago, cop badge cams were at the top of the social justice agenda. Using consent decrees granted under the assertion of disparate impact, meaning that more blacks and Hispanics were incarcerated than their percentage in the population and that, ergo, police were racists. The Obama Department of Justice took de facto control of many police departments in what amounted to a rolling coup.
DOJ minders roamed the halls, chaired meetings, read internal communications, perused standing orders and parsed training manuals. Departments that did not at once buy badge cams and the massive computers and databases to manage them were threatened with funding cutoffs, firings, and fines—the bureaucratic version of peine forte et dure, the infamous medieval torture.
And now? Nothing. No pressure for badge cams. Little mention except for snippets on local news so short they scarcely give the chattering heads time to breathe. As for DOJ minders, they have decamped, business class, to Washington to plan a further federalization of local police that will be made harder, politically, by the now hated badge cams.
For the Left, the problems with badge cams are two:
1. Their video is public and instantly accessible. Video of nearly every police shooting in America is available over the Internet on police websites and on YouTube channels with millions of followers.
2. They record reality not narrative. Badge cams were supposed to show that police are racist to their bones, kill blacks and Hispanics without mercy, and spare whites without exception. They don’t.
What they actually show is that cops, with rare exceptions, shoot suspects based on their actions, not their race, age or sex. Cops shoot people who threaten to kill others, or who draw a weapon, or fire at cops, or charge or strike cops with knives, broken bottles, machetes and bludgeons. Almost always cops attempt to de-escalate tense situations short of violence, and the time and effort they expend to avoid shooting suspects doesn’t vary because of race, age, sex, or ethnicity.
Badge cams show how terrifying violent criminals are. They record the frightened calls to 911 and the sounds of shots, fists, kicks, broken glass and smashed furniture. They record cries, screams, and babbling. They show perps shooting cops and victims or putting the guns to their own heads and hearts and pulling the trigger.
They record suspects running over or dragging cops and victims. They show carjackers and gunmen in vehicles firing over crying babies in the seats. They record the sounds of men beating women as they call police. They show cops dying and dead.
Worse, they show that too many suspects who are shot are floridly psychotic. They record their conversations with inner voices. These are often so intense that the insane cannot hear, and perhaps not see, the police in front of them. You can watch madmen kill their mothers, fathers and children. You see suicides beg police to kill them then charge or fire at cops in order to die.
Watching badge cams is not for the faint. Suspects perish as their hearts fibrillate or their coronary arteries explode from methamphetamine and cocaine. They slip into eternity as heroin and fentanyl shut down their breathing. They bleed out onto concrete from bullet wounds. Horribly, badge audio records the gurgles, sobs and twitches of the death rattle.
Nonetheless, not since WeeGee paid off cops in the 1940s to snap photos of mobsters riddled with bullets in their barber chairs, have ordinary people been able to observe criminal and law enforcement violence first-hand.
You do see unlawful kills—not many, but not zero. The worst for me was a Georgia law enforcement officer who shot an unarmed black man in the back when he fled a traffic stop on foot. The cop was charged and convicted.
Now and then, there is comedy. My favorite is video of a front lawn melee during which uninjured combatants and onlookers, with cops nowhere near, suddenly drop to the ground and gasp “I can’t breathe” as onlookers videorecord with their cell phones in the hopes of a generous settlement. These are the same types who dash into the street, roll over your car hood, then speed-dial the plaintiffs’ bar before they hit the pavement.
Noteworthy is that cops are better marksmen than bad guys. In one video, a cop shoots a teenager through the head from twenty-five yards, at night, after the kid had blasted another cop twice with a shotgun then placed the barrel to the downed officer’s head. His coup de grace was rudely interrupted with what is called, politely by coroners and sarcastically by cops, a “central nervous system disconnect.”
Badge cams show improvement and uniformity in police training across jurisdictions. Cops routinely apply tourniquets and wound kits to those they shoot. They show that police vests catch bullets, even from the tricked-out carbines ignorantly called assault rifles. They show that more cops should wear Class III armored helmets because bad guys have learned to aim for heads.
You see also that people are alive because criminals’ guns, rarely cleaned, or loaded with bad ammo, fail to fire. Sometimes hoodlums’ semi-auto pistols lock up because they adopt the bad-ass, bent-wrist grip that causes the recoil to jam the cylinder slide. Fortunately for citizens, bad guys seldom use revolvers, which are not subject to this malfunction. Crooks think that wheel guns, which hold only five or six rounds, are for pussies.
So, what do badge cams show about the Left’s beliefs and agendas?
1. Violent criminals are not poor. They own guns and cars and live in houses and apartments; ergo, more public assistance will not affect violence except to enable the violent to have nicer homes and move up from knock-off to name-brand firearms.
2. Closing mental hospitals, a political trophy of the Left, has been a disaster. Psychotics have physical illnesses that medicine can manage but not cure. When they have episodes, nothing can be done except send them to a 72-hour time-out in a psych ward.
“Mainstreaming” mentally ill people in practice means “main streeting” them to homeless shelters and encampments or returning them to terrified relatives. There’s no other place for them to go.
3. Evil exists. In many videos you see men and women who enjoy violence and employ it routinely to get what they want. They kill others with no more compassion than if they were stomping a roach. This contradicts the Left’s therapeutic worldview in which all criminals, no matter what they do, can be set straight with tutelage from a wise and caring elite.
4. Replacing police with social workers is lunacy. The faddishly leftist idea, like the social workers themselves, will be dead on arrival. By the time responders show up, violent and disturbed people are already out of control. Most have adrenaline surges from methamphetamine and cocaine, from schizophrenia or from rage. They cannot understand what anyone says because they are experience auditory exclusion, a temporary deafness caused by hormonally induced tachycardia.
The notion that violent people will pause shooting, cutting and beating others to have a heart-to-heart chin wag with social workers is ludicrous. Once social workers start getting killed on 911 calls, they will be issued bullet-resistant vests, then badges, then guns. In short order, they will be transformed, of necessity, into cops.
5. Leaping into the headlines can be hazardous for political health. Pre-badge cam, politicians could easily charge to the cameras and control or create the story. No longer. Joe Biden was made a fool when spokesperson Jen Psaki solemnly declared the Ma’Khia Bryant shooting to be racist. The video shows the opposite. Bryant was attempting to kill Tionna Bonner, and the cops saved Miss Bonner’s life by shooting her would-be murderer. That Psaki, the Red Spox failed to review the video, and prudently pause it for close inspection, is interesting. She knows better.
6. Violent criminals are not victims. Badge cams show criminals in the act—wild, crazy, and murderous—before the rage abates, the narcotics wear off, and the neuroleptic drugs kick in. Badge cams show the real victims who beg for police to come quickly. They cringe in terror, cry in pain, and sometimes die before cops and medics arrive.
7. Cops are adapting faster than Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and the plaintiffs’ bar. Smart police departments now release badge cam videos immediately. This nips riots in the bud and makes it harder for leftist groups to raise funds. It’s bad news for the plaintiffs’ bar, who can’t easily squeeze a payoff from cities without going to trial where Exhibit A will be badge cam video.
8. Cops are cleaning up. When police wear badge cams, there are fewer unjustified shootings and faster arrest and prosecution of bad cops when there are. The Left are furious because they succeeded in their ostensible objective, which now hinders their not-so-well-concealed agenda of seizing power.
Badge cam video isn’t pretty, but it is instructive. It may save American cities from more lawlessness, riot, and ruin.
Wes Denham spent years as a criminal defense investigator and Spanish translator in Florida and Georgia jails and prisons. He is the author of Arrested, a consumer guide to criminal defense, and Arrest-Proof Yourself, a guide to avoiding unnecessary arrest. He is a graduate of Princeton University.