Vantage Points: Mock Juror Perception of Body-Worn Camera Video Evidence in Cases Involving Police Use of Force

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Ellingwood, Holly Ann




Recent shooting events have led to demands that police officers use body-worn video cameras (BWCs) in order to increase police accountability. While preliminary research has found that BWCs have some general benefits (e.g., they may decrease use of force and reduce false allegations of police misconduct), no research to date has examined the impact of BWC evidence on juror decision-making. Study 1 in this thesis involves a survey of community members to examine public perception of BWC use. In addition to other findings, the survey results indicate that the majority of respondents do not accurately comprehend the limitations of visual footage and are likely to attribute dishonest intentions to police officers when their testimony contradicts BWC footage (especially when the discrepancies are central versus peripheral in nature). Study 2 involves a mock juror study designed to assess how the degree of discrepancies between officer testimony and BWC footage (few vs. many), the nature of these discrepancies (peripheral vs. central), and the presence of expert testimony designed to explain these discrepancies impacts juror decision-making in a case involving allegations of excessive force by a police officer. The results of this study suggest expert testimony and perceptions of police legitimacy (PL) have a significant impact on verdict decision-making (and other outcome variables) in such cases. The implications of these results, for theory and practice, are discussed.


Psychology - Experimental




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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