The College Democrats of Massachusetts Black Caucus released the following statement following Boston Police Commissioner Evans recent statement hoping to criminalize the recording of police officers in public:
Boston Police Department Commissioner William B. Evans has recently released a statement asking for the Massachusetts legislature to help combat the growing number of citizens filming police officers with and without the officers' knowledge. The movement for Black lives, which has put police brutality in the national spotlight, has catalyzed the growing number of civilians recording police officers. Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Kajieme Powell, and twelve year old Tamir Rice, are some of the unarmed citizens whose murders have received national attention at least partially due to the instances being caught on video tape. Additionally, videos of Sandra Bland, or of the fourteen year old girl at the McKinney pool party are instances of violent police misconduct that have been exposed through video recordings. The Boston Police Department is not immune to instances of violent police misconduct, particularly at the expense of people of color. For this reason, it is undeniable that there are circumstances in which citizens need to be able to record the police.
Although any legislature proposing to take away a citizen’s right to film an officer of the law would most likely be struck down by a higher court, The College Democrats of Massachusetts feels it important that we make a clear statement in direct opposition to the commissioner's proposal:
The Massachusetts legislature must institutionalize accountability measures, including the mandate that BPD officers wear body cameras. Additionally, if Commissioner Evans is unwilling to take this reasonable measure, which will help ensure police accountability, he should be removed from his position to protect and serve the people of Boston.
Victoria Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Melissa Fortson (email@example.com) from CDM Black Caucus