transparent opacity?

Yesterday, two videos, from police body and dashboard cameras, of the shooting and killing of Keith Lamont Scott were released to the public. This followed a press conference by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney who, among several points, stressed his efforts at transparency. Neither video, from my perspective, proves definitively the assertion either of the police that Mr. Scott had a gun and, thus, was considered “an imminent threat” or of his family who maintained that Mr. Scott, holding only a book, posed no harm.

The authorities are in possession of additional video. To achieve the aim of transparency, why not share all recorded footage with the public? I’ve not heard, again, from my perspective, a justifiable rationale.

This is my argument for fullest disclosure…

No matter what the videos show and don’t show, all who view them will evaluate what they’ve seen through the lenses of their individual perceptions and opinions, in part, freshly formed in the moment and in equal, perhaps greater part wrought from their personal histories and their memories of their life’s experiences and their suppositions about the way things are. This is to say that there will not (and never will or can) be one truth, one explanation of what happened, one way to interpret the evidence.

At a deeper degree of existential complexity, verily, difficulty, an underlying matter – hardly the proverbial elephant in the room of a conspicuous concern that no one wants to identify and address, but rather an issue long named and known – is trust between, at the least, a portion of the populace and the police. I also believe that the loss of trust is mutual. Some people have little to no confidence in anything the police say or do and some police feel a similar lack of assurance in the intentions and action of some people.

One (though surely not the only) way to attempt to restore not merely the idea of faith, but its reality, “good faith”, is to have all share the same information. Transparency without fullest disclosure remains a convenient word or an idealized concept, ever apparent, but never actual.

2 thoughts on “transparent opacity?

  1. Thanks Paul! Fullest disclosure is the only way mutual trust can begin. I always worry when people say “we’re being transparent” yet fail to produce all of the facts or evidence. I totally agree with your point that transparency is only a convenient word when all the information isn’t made public. What possible reason can there by for not disclosing???? Nothing transparent, that’s for sure. I can’t wait for these types of cases become a thing of the past and we look back on all of this terrible killings as another horrible part of our history. I want our kids of the future to grow up without fearing the police or having to practice as little kids how to put their hands up so to avoid being shot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I, too, long for a day when black folk will not find it necessary to have “the talk” with their children, especially their boys about life-preserving measures (which may or may NOT work!) to take when encountering the police. And I, too, want to come (or return) to a climate of mutual respect and trust of communities and the police.

      As for this instant case, not knowing about police investigative procedures, I can imagine/believe there are reasons not to disclose all info with the public. Still, in our day and time of mistrust, I think the benefits of fullest disclosure overcome/overwhelm reasons not to reveal all to the public.


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