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Video Footage Draws Attention to the Reality of Police Shootings, Sparks Increased Media Coverage

In February, another unarmed black man was shot and killed, and this time it was in Florida. A mentally ill man was fatally shot after police responded to a call from his mother, who was asking for assistance as her son was having a psychotic episode. CBS Miami reports that his family has released the footage from the dash cams, which recorded much of the altercation.

Lavall Hall, 25, is another on a long list of young, unarmed black men who have been killed in police shootings in the last year. Much of the public sees this as a huge increase in the number of tragedies like these, but according to CNN, that isn’t actually the case.

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The number of police shootings is not increasing — but media coverage of them is. We all know names like Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Walter Scott, but the deaths of young black men at the hands of police is not a new trend. The thing is, we haven’t been keeping track of them until the recent boom of media coverage surrounding cases like these.

There are statistics for everything these days. Each year in the United States, there are 31 million injuries sustained that require a doctor’s care. Anyone who wants to know how many touchdown passes Tom Brady has thrown or the average temperature in their city can find out. There is no statistic for the number of people police have killed in the line of duty.

“What is being exposed nationally is something that’s been troubling us in Philadelphia as African-Americans,” Robert Bogle, president and CEO of The Philadelphia Tribune told CNN. “Yes, we have written about it. We’ve talked about it. This is the African-American experience, and for some reason non-African-Americans don’t believe it.”

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Part of the recent recognition of the reality of the problem is due to video footage of these incidents, like that which was just released in Lavall Hall’s case. Video of police choking Eric Garner was released. Video of police shooting Walter Scott in the back as he fled was released. Now, video footage of Florida police telling Hall, “get on the ground or else you’re dead” has been released.

“The public needs to know what happened under the situation. We have to avoid future situations like this and make everyone accountable for their actions,” Lavall Hall’s family’s attorney Glen Goldberg told CBS.

Video footage simply makes problems of injustice, police brutality, and violence against minorities more present. Once these things are seen and heard the problems are hard to ignore.

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