The Rodney King beating. The Oscar Grant slaying. What do these events have in common? They were videotaped. When you take huge, racially polarizing stories such as these into account, it's pretty obvious why police officers don't want to be taped when they make arrests. But as more and more cell phones and digital cameras come equipped with video recorders, it's becoming harder and harder for police officers to do their jobs without being 100 percent sure they're not being watched. Or taped. But they are fighting back with bans. In Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts, for instance, videotaping cops is prohibited if it gets in the way of police activity. But citizens, and even one African-American former police officer, Diop Kamau, who has seen how brutal his fellow officers can be, are fighting back just as hard to keep police officers honest. "Video is making victims more credible," Kamau said. "If Rodney King would have tried to tell his story without video, nobody would have believed it."
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Lauren is a former Deputy Editor of The Root.