The ubiquity of video recordings from mobile devices has recast the narrative surrounding police brutality and heightened public concerns about law enforcement. In today’s world, anyone can be a videographer and inspire a platform for public empowerment and social change. In the wake of the continuous victimization of Black people by the police — from the recent smart phone footage of the incidents leading up to George Floyd’s death to the shots fired on Jacob Blake as he entered his car — mobile devices are capturing the graphic nature of these incidents, sharing them across online platforms, and in some instances, leading to both the formal and public indictments of police officers.
On September 14, the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings hosted a webinar exploring how the use of technology has supported the mobilization of recent Black Lives Matter protests and the role that citizen activism can and will play in the administration of justice for bad actors in the police force. Panelists also examined the legitimacy of these and other emerging technologies in courts of law, and whether they can serve as an equalizer for Black Americans who seek some formal recourse for visible acts of police brutality increasingly made known via video and the internet.