The Feds, tech, and accountability
I've had some actions with federal law enforcement, and...let's just say they were "enlightening." Not being disrespectful at all, but after these interactions, my, for lack of a better term, "idol worship" of the feds ended.
The FBI, ATF, etc. are like any other law enforcement agency, with a larger budget and a different focus. Like local and state cops, they have their strengths and weaknesses. Of their personnel, I'd say 2–5% of them walk on water and swim on land — they are that good. And 2–5% should not be outside the house without adult supervision. The remaining 90%, more or less, are varying degrees of positives and negatives, trying to do the job as best as they can.
I found this interesting, because it was "da feds," and Barack Obama, and his "hand-picked" A.G.s, Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, who demanded that local cops have Body Worn Cameras (BWCs). For the most part, they have been a positive for cops on the street. But for some reason, federal agencies do not want their actions on video for all to see:
The amayor of Atlanta and that city's police chief pulled all their police officers off of the federal task forces on which they were serving after a request to have the officers wear bodycams was declined.
The impetus for the decision was a shooting that occurred during a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) task force service of a warrant in January[.] ...
Jimmy Atchison, 21, was fatally shot by Atlanta Police Officer Sung Kim during that raid[.] ...
Afterward, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms and Police Chief Erika Shields insisted that, in the future, all Atlanta police officers wear bodycams during all operations, WXIA reported.
But federal agencies informed Atlanta officials that officers on task forces would not be allowed to wear bodycams.
"The Mayor and the Chief have insisted that Atlanta Police officers on that task force — as well as the Drug Enforcement Administration's High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and the U.S. Marshal's Southeast Regional Task Force — wear body-worn cameras when on duty," the Atlanta Police Department said in a statement to WGCL. "When it was made clear that APD officers would not be allowed to wear body-worn cameras while serving on these task forces, the decision was made to pull them from those duties..."
Thank you, Mayor Bottoms and Chief Shields, for protecting your officers, and the city, from a dangerous situation. The Marshall's Service was demanding that you leave your officers open to unjustified prosecution and the city to massive civil liability. But for some reason, federal law enforcement is resistant to the use of BWCs on its agents, when video would help clear up uncertain actions, such as their operations at Ruby Ridge (August 1992) and Waco, Texas (April 1993) or questionable shootings, such as in Houston (January 2018) and Oregon (January 2016).
Technology is a good thing, and we should use it. But I don't care for hypocrisy at any level. Federal law enforcement, do not lecture local or state agencies if you are not willing to have your actions reviewed, or "Monday-morning quarterbacked," by the same "social justice warrior" types, race-baiting poverty pimps, the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, etc.
This is the 21st century. Technology is here to stay. Embrace it, use it, and get used to the consequences. If you would listen to your brother cops at the local level, you'd know it's mostly positive. Come and join us on the front line.
Michael A. Thiac is a police patrol sergeant and a retired Army intelligence officer. When not patrolling the streets, he can be found on A Cop's Watch.