Video Can Blind Us to Evidence

October 16, 2014 8:28 PM

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Video Can Blind Us to Evidence

This fall has seen a widespread call from the public, politicians, and even the White House, in favor of body-worn cameras for police. In the wake of fatal shootings like the one in Ferguson, MO in August, policy-makers argue that one vital benefit of police head or chest-mounted cameras is the ample evidence they can provide for legal proceedings (1). It seems that if we could just look at the videotape, we would know with certainty exactly what happened.

People have incredible faith in their visual experience -- a faith shared by the legal system. Video evidence is more vivid, more emotionally arousing, and more credible than other forms of evidence (2). In fact, vision is considered so critical to the process of making legal decisions that the blin...

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