Police Body Worn Cameras and Public (Dis)trust in the Street and in the Courtroom: the Miami Beach Study

As a result of high-profile killings by police of unarmed Black men (such as in Ferguson, MO in 2014, and in Minneapolis, MN in 2020 leading to world-wide protests), the U.S. has urgently attempted to address distrust of the police by the public. One technological strategy has been to call for police to wear body worn cameras (BWCs). The earliest study of BWCs in the U.S. (by co-author Dr. Barak Ariel of the University of Cambridge) of the Rialto, CA police department found a significant reduction in the use of force by police and complaints against the police when they wore BWCs. With demands for greater transparency, more than 70 studies have attempted, with varying results, to determine the efficacy of BWCs. We propose to present our recent study (using a multi-method approach) of the Miami Beach, FL police department examining the impact of BWCs on police behavior and the use of BWC footage by prosecutors. This study has implications for democracies around the world.