Conjecture: putting tamper-proof cameras on every officer and every patrol car would have cost significantly less than burning down an entire neighborhood while an overwhelming military force harassed and roughed up the wrong people.
I’m not sure there’s ANY amount of evidence that could have convinced the folks who are angry right now not to do what they’re doing. Ultimately, what they’re doing is counter-productive, and will set back progress on all fronts.
However, the point is that, irrespective of the facts of this particular case, many people have no confidence that the government handles cases like these appropriately. And this is not a new sentiment, and it is not based on this isolated event. And this lack of confidence in our police and our judicial system is much larger than just the black community:
“Viewed from outside the trial, it was hard to understand how the verdict could possibly square with the video. Those civil rights leaders with whom I met were stunned. And so was I and so was Barbara and so were my kids.”
— President George H.W. Bush, after learning that the LAPD officers who beat Rodney King on video were acquitted
Contrary to popular assertion, President Obama is by no means the first president to helicopter in and comment on local law enforcement issues that tug at questions of credibility when dealing with racially charged cases.
Also, the Rodney King outcome, and subsequent L.A. Riots, remind us that video evidence is no panacea.
The system has a credibility problem, and real, visible steps need to be taken to address that credibility problem.