COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - There are many differences between the recent police shootings of black men in Tulsa, OK and Charlotte, NC.
One of the deceased was said to be unarmed; the other may have had a weapon. Another difference is how quickly authorities released video of the scene.
In Tulsa, the shooting video of Terence Crutcher was released within two days. Authorities have charged the white, female officer with manslaughter for shooting Crutcher when he would not comply with her commands.
Although the judicial process must now play out, Tulsa's preference for transparency – even if it may not be the complete picture – resulted in no violent protests.
In Charlotte, video of the shooting of Keith Scott, who police say was armed, has not been shown to the public and that decision may have contributed to multiple nights of protest and turmoil that resulted in the death of a protestor.
Charlotte authorities did show the Scott shooting video to his family, and they should be the ones to see it first. But now the public should also be able to see it for themselves.
We think transparency is always a good idea.
The explosion in the use of body cameras worn by police – including police here in Columbus – has been widely viewed as helpful in recording the police officer's viewpoint of a crime scene.
Being transparent means treating such videos like a public record: let the public see it.
Again, one video is only one view. It may or may not tell the complete story. But it is at least a step forward in creating more trust between police and the public.
And that kind of transparency may help keep the peace, while the legal system works its way toward a final and fair verdict.
General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to:
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