Moral Panics and Body Cameras

13 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2014  

Howard Wasserman

Florida International University (FIU) - College of Law

Date Written: December 4, 2014


This Commentary uses the lens of "moral panics" to evaluate public support for equipping law enforcement with body cameras as a response and solution to events in Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014. Body cameras are a generally good policy idea. But the rhetoric surrounding them erroneously treats them as the single guaranteed solution to the problem of excessive force and police-citizen conflicts, particularly by ignoring the limitations of video evidence and the difficult questions of implementing the body camera program. In overstating the case, the rhetoric of body cameras becomes indistinguishable from rhetoric surrounding responses to past moral panics.

Suggested Citation

Wasserman, Howard, Moral Panics and Body Cameras (December 4, 2014). Wash. U. L. Rev. Commentaries (Nov. 18, 2014); Wash. U. L. Rev. (2015 Forthcoming) ; Florida International University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14-31. Available at SSRN:

Howard Wasserman (Contact Author)

Florida International University (FIU) - College of Law ( email )

University Park, DB 2065
Miami, FL 33199
United States
305-348-7482 (Phone)

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