The police chief may be waiting on the findings of the internal review, but many of the thousands of people who’ve already viewed the arrest video of Romengeno and Brenda Hardaway on YouTube have already made up their minds, and it’s pretty much what you’d think.
The police are either jackbooted, racist thugs beating up on a pregnant woman, or the Hardaways are overweight welfare spongers who scream racism as naturally as breathing.
For what it’s worth, I spoke to John Klofas, a criminal justice professor at RIT, about a different topic recently, and he brought up how police oversight is being democratized by technology. The ACLU has even released an app that lets you surreptitiously record your police encounter and upload it to the ACLU for review.
What does it all mean? Maybe the internal review will find that Officer Lucas Krull acted according to police procedure when he struck Brenda Hardaway in the back of the head. Maybe this is how the police have always operated, and we’re just finding out about it now because of the proliferation of cell-phone cameras.
If the investigation does clear Krull, I think we need to ask if this is how we want our city policed. Do we need to insist that police be specially trained to deal with pregnant women, if that isn’t happening already?
And what is our role, as media, as more of these types of videos surface – as they surely will? Do we throw up a link to the video because we know it will generate page views – without context, without explanation – and consider our job done?