Recording the movement : the role of citizen-generated videos in perceptions of police and police use of deadly force

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Tipton, Kiana

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Since the shooting death of Michael Brown in 2014, there has been widespread mobilization of activist groups and individuals both online and on the ground, to address issues of police brutality, racial bias, and equity within the criminal justice system. The emergence of citizen-generated videos as well as the democratization of internet access has enabled marginalized groups often targeted by law enforcement to have a voice in new and meaningful ways. More specifically, citizen-generated videos of police brutality and the different avenues they are disseminated across have been able to challenge mainstream narratives of police-citizen encounters. Through a critical technocultural discourse analysis of comments surrounding the shooting death of Michael Brown, Philando Castile, and Dajerria Becton, I will code for racialized and gendered understandings of the cases and perceptions of police. Further, I utilize Jackson and Welles notion of counter-publics and Castells development of ‘mass self-communication’ to uncover what elements of technology contributed to self-efficacy and activism, which lead to these cases becoming national news stories. I argue that there is something uniquely impactful about the visceral nature of citizen-generated videos of police brutality, which has lead to a pervasive push for transparency within police departments and their interactions with the Black community. As a result, the public discourse surrounding police brutality has heightened, and the public's perceptions of law enforcement is shifting.


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