In Police Shootings, Live-Streamed Video Can Be The ‘Ultimate Watchdog’

By Julio Ojeda-Zapata
Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Citing the recent live stream video of the shooting in St. Paul, PR expert Cathy Hackl says issues will arise as to whether live video can be used in court as evidence, “But one thing is for sure: It gives citizens a chance to police those who should be taking care of them and hold them accountable. Live video is the ultimate watchdog.”

Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.

The death of an African-American man at the hands of police officers on Tuesday in Louisiana was captured on video that later found its way onto the Internet. This was an all-too-familiar scenario.

But something altogether different and new occurred a day later during a similar situation, in Falcon Heights and not Louisiana, when, again, a black man was fatally shot by an officer.

Video of that incident — instead of being recorded, saved and subsequently uploaded — was streamed live onto the Web as events immediately following the shooting unfolded.

The live stream showed it all — a bloodied Philando Castile in a vehicle, his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds narrating with surreal composure, an officer’s gun framed in the car window, and so on — as it occurred and not in a time-delayed form.

It’s a crucial distinction, according to social-media experts and social-justice advocates, because this could possibly hold law-enforcement agencies, but also those they arrest, more accountable for their actions.

“If there is injustice happening, it can help highlight the injustice in a way that has not been possible before,” said Missy Voronyak, a Minneapolis-based social-media strategist employed at WCG, a San Francisco integrated communications agency.

The Castile live-stream “is an example of how powerful live video really is,” said Cathy Hackl, a former broadcast journalist turned public-relations and social-media operative.

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