How Videos of Police Brutality Traumatize African Americans and Undermine the Search for Justice


For
Dempsey and scores of viewers who watched the surveillance video, the shooting
death of Small was a clear-cut crime. When the shooting was first reported in
the media, Isaacs and the New York City police department said that Small had
exited his car and repeatedly punched Isaacs in his face through Isaacs’s car
window. Issacs said he feared for his life, a justification that has been
routinely deployed by police officers when they use deadly force
on African Americans. But the video, Dempsey said, “is like truth serum.”

Four days after the shooting,
the footage was leaked, disputing the police account. The family thought the
video would be enough to prove that Issacs had used excessive force. “That was
our hope,” Dempsey said. “That was our redemption. That was our justice.”…

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