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What to do if you witness police brutality

Americans are becoming increasingly aware of police brutality. An article from Mic shows that in 98 percent of these cases, the officer is not ultimately charged with a crime. 

Excessive force can entail different things. It ultimately comes down to the officer using way more force than is necessary to apprehend a suspect. One example would be if a suspect is in handcuffs but an officer continues to rough up the person. Witnessing one of these events can be shocking, but it is important to know what you can and cannot do in these cases.

Are people allowed to record?

Practically everyone has a smartphone these days, so many people feel tempted to record instances of police brutality. Some of these videos have garnered hundreds upon thousands of views online, but many people are unsure of what the legality of these videos is. Unfortunately, the courts are still deciding that. In general, people have a right to record in public spaces. That means people can record police officers if they are abusing someone out in the open. However, people should make sure to keep a distance away so as to not interfere with the proceedings. South Carolina law requires police officers to wear body cameras at all times, so even if you cannot record, there should be video available somewhere.

Who should people turn to?

A lot of people do not know where to bring information. Taking it to a police station seems counterintuitive, but if you are unsure, you can play it safe and take it to an attorney. There are also community organizations available. In the event you wish to stay out of any future proceedings, you could submit any camera footage anonymously. It is also important to submit any video footage as soon as possible. Even if it has been over a week, it is still good to send it in so the right people can take action. 

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