Many Canadian cities are debating the use of body cameras by police and the privacy impacts involved. The Toronto police have started a pilot project.
A recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal relating to the G20 protests illustrates the power of video: six paragraphs of the Court’s decision describe a YouTube video (which appears to be here). The Court noted the video had been viewed more than 100,000 times and was viewed by the application judge and by the panel of the Court of Appeal. The Court concluded that police violated the right to travel unimpeded on a public highway, violated Charter rights to freedom of expression, and committed battery.
Would the result have been different without the video? Although body cameras worn by police officers raise privacy concerns that should be considered and addressed, far more significant should be the impact that cameras have on reducing police misconduct.