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What’s the public good of salacious police cruiser videos?

by AirTalk®

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A police cruiser is parked outside a police department in Riverside. Should videos taken from police cruiser footage be used by the media? Grant Slater/KPCC

On Monday, the local ABC News in Michigan ran footage of  Deerfield Elementary School principal Kim Warren in the backseat of a police cruiser after being picked up on the suspicion of drunk driving when she was swerving in her car on the way back to school at lunchtime. The video, shot by a camera mounted in the rear area of the cruiser, shows Warren crying and the officer trying to console her.

The video is compelling enough that a story which would have been little more that a quickly forgotten local news mention found traction at the national level, but watching it feels somehow like a violation of Warren’s personal space, if not her rights.

Though the video is public record, should journalists be broadcasting video shot inside police cruisers? Does it work to inform the population, or is it just sensationalistic?


Judy Muller, Journalist and Professor, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism; an Emmy, duPont-Columbia and Peabody Award-winning television correspondent and NPR commentator.

Ms. Kelly McBride, Senior Faculty for Ethics, Poynter Institute

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