Amateur videos fail to tell whole story, LA cops complain
Police fear that people, including themselves, could face more danger.
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Arlin Pacheco turned her video camera from the kittens on her porch to the police officers she saw chasing and tackling a neighbor.
The camera was rolling as one officer pressed his knee on the man's neck and punched his face.
That arrest of suspected gang member William Cardenas didn't draw much attention until last week, when Pacheco's video appeared on the YouTube Web site. Footage of two other arrests quickly followed, and the images fueled an uproar and accusations of police brutality in a city already infamous for the 1991 Rodney King beating.
Amateur videos of police using force on suspects have sparked varying degrees of outrage from California to Philadelphia and Europe after onlookers captured incidents on cheap cameras or video cell phones and posted footage on the Internet.
Some law enforcement officials worry about the effect, arguing that showing only a tiny part of an event can't tell the whole story. They also fear widespread exposure of such video clips might give officers pause in the future, even when force is justified, and that could put people in danger.
"You know, policing is oftentimes not pretty," Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton said. "The video, as we've seen from time to time, particularly if you're looking at a slice of it, makes it look even less pretty."
Recent images of an Iranian-American student at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was repeatedly shocked with a Taser by campus police have been viewed nearly a million times on YouTube and led to protests and an independent probe.
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