The widespread adoption of body-worn cameras by police officers nationwide has generated nearly equal amounts of kudos and critique. On the one hand, bodycams are hailed as a tool for restoring public trust and increasing accountability and transparency for law enforcement agencies, especially those with a history of civil rights violations. On the other hand, bodycams are decried as part of a slippery panoptic-society slope, invasive of privacy and ineffective as a check on state power. These debates invoke the two-faced Roman god Janus, patron of archives, doorways, and transitional states--and they also largely fail to engage the question of what it means to create and provide long-term access to public records in digital video and other formats that are challenging, costly, and complicated to preserve.
This panel discussion will bring together archivists, activists, and law enforcement agency experts to discuss the challenges of keeping video evidence, and the multiple readings of such evidence in the public and judicial spheres. They will provide historical context for the use of recorded media as evidence in the courts, considerations for ethical use of material that can be violent, disturbing, or otherwise harmful to its viewers and subjects, and a review of the scope and limitations of the open records request process as it applies to new video materials.
Participant: Amy Herzog, Candace Ming, Johanna Fernández, Nicole Martin, Samuel Sinyangwe, Snowden Becker, Yvonne Ng
Visit our site for more event information:centerforthehumanities.org/programming/on-janus-and-justice-archives-access-and-ethical-use-of-video-evidence