Will Video Taping Police Stop Brutality?

By: Julian Hassan


Last week, Rare.us interviewed Larry Hohol, a police officer from Luzerne Pennsylvania, on the 11-hour beating of Robert Leone that took place in 2011. Leone has now filed a lawsuit.

Police allege that Leone was involved in a minor accident after which he refused to pullover for identification until he stopped fleeing. Shockingly, a police dashcam then caught officers beating him for hours, with one officer breaking his hand and later blaming Leone for it in his report.


This summer, the crisis in Ferguson brought our attention to police militarization. CNN reported that Ferguson had no dashcams, which the police force is now mounting. Will video accountability make a difference? Hohol explains the abuse that still occurs even with the presence of dashcams running in the background:

Well, here’s a frightening observation that I made and it goes to your question. These state troopers, all of them, knew that they were being recorded via their dash cams. All five patrol cars had dash cams. As far as we know all of the dash cams were rolling. They still haven’t given us all of the dashcams. But they knew that they were being recorded and they did this anyway. Now, when you sit down and you watch this and see it you’re gonna think that you’re in a third world country. So, they didn’t care that they were being recorded. Which goes back to a systemic problem of they had no fear of their supervisors. They had no fear of them doing something wrong and being held accountable. The proof is absolute, it’s positive. There’s no denying it. And yet they did it openly, freely, knowing full well that they were being recorded. That is extremely frightening.

While dashcam footage can sway the public and give citizens more reason to mobilize, the underlying problem is police militarization. As the Leone case might show, some state troopers are acting more like storm troopers. Surging, mega-dosed adrenaline doesn’t stop battle-ready officers in their tracks, and some of their superiors in government continue to turn a blind-eye to the ensuing footage.