Darnell Frazier, Minneapolis, Richardson discussed on Marketplace Tech with Molly Wood

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As you've heard this week. A jury found minneapolis. Police officer derek. Chauvin guilty on all counts in the killing of george. Floyd key to that case was the video taken by teenager. Darnell frazier with her smartphone eliza. Richardson is a professor of journalism at the university of southern california. She's the author of a book called bearing witness while black african americans smartphones and the new protests journalism and she argues that smartphones in most people's pockets are powerful tool for accountability. Absolutely and he can. We think of the ages of citizen. Witnessing we think of how hard it was to do in the watershed moment of george holiday. Filming rodney king's historic and unfortunate beating. That deals now thirty years old and it was done by handicap and so it was very difficult to gather that kind of footage before and now with the advent of cell phones and social media coupled together it is very easy and inexpensive to not only record. Share is the kind of special aspect of the smartphone here that that it changes the power dynamic that it's in the hands of everyday people and not a tool of governments. Yes i think that one of the biggest changes here is that everyday people can bear witness. And it's very difficult for families without these police videos to prove for example that mr floyd didn't just have a medical incident in a car as a fish for police report said and so with these kinds of videos that are done cell phones they have debunked how police are viewed by the public as the first arbiter of truth and they're also used to humanize in many cases the struggle that has had no face for a long time but many people have known that that's happened. You've written about the responsibility and even the burden that this documentation places on the black community. There's been an outpouring of support and calls for protection for darnell frazier the seventeen year old. Who filmed church. Floyd's murder talk to me about that potential burden and the bravery that you mentioned that it takes to film these incidents. This is a historic moment because a cell house african americans to stay with the victim and that real time bearing witness has been greatly facilitated by the cell phone. but it's a double edged sword also has the potential to traumatizing retraumatize. Those who stood behind that camera in press record we heard miss frazier say the courtroom that she has nightmares in that. She apologizes to mr floyd for not being able to intervene in more active way. But she did what she could. And so she belongs in the history books for sure alongside The evolution of the smartphone as an evolved witness as an evolved version of what we might consider a citizen journalist and certainly Brave young person. I wonder if we will start to see that burden. Be more evenly distributed if we will start to see scenarios in which the smartphone could be is not just a chronicle but to shield and that that responsibility will start to fall not just on the black community but white people who are around when these things are happening. I think that that's an incredible question. And it really has made me question why we needed these in the first place. You know this week i wrote an op ed about are we doing more harm by perpetuating these 'cause we have created an unintended dishes cycle and under the victims families. Where we i ask them to relitigate their loved ones. Demise proved to me in video that they did not deserve to die at the hands of police. That's one in the second thing we asked to do is share that with me. Let me pick it apart. And so then media pick it apart even before it goes to trial if it even goes to trial and then when it goes to trial we ask them to allow those videos to stay online so then what you have is a loan ones video circulating freely in a loved one is into online forever for anyone who wants to look at it and the fact that we felt so k. To ask african americans people of color to prove that they didn't deserve their own demise in the first sprays was a cruel endeavor eliza. Richardson is a professor of journalism at the university of southern california and author of.

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