How Camera Perspective Contributes to Normative Judgments of Officers and Citizens in Police Use of Force Videos

Presentation to the International Communication Association. Virtual Conference.

Abstract: Social media provide the opportunity to create and maintain online and offline social relationships (Kuss & Griffiths, 2011, 2017), though they also provide opportunities to influence public discourse (Bennett, 2012; Carney, 2016) via the dissemination of important information at rapid rates (Hornik, Satchi, Cezareo, & Pastore, 2015). One element of public discourse highly shaped by social media is the Black Lives Matter movement (Carney, 2016), which has been fueled by the rapid and wide dissemination of video evidence of unnecessary use of force by police against citizens of color. One of the main reasons these pieces of information are shared more widely and quickly is that they are negative in valence; individuals tend to comment on and share negative information more, especially when it is extreme (Hornik et al., 2015). However, research has not examined how structure and content in use of force videos contribute to emotional responses, sharing, and commenting behaviors. This project examined how camera angle and skin tone of the citizen being harmed affected not only emotional responses but also how likely viewers were to comment on and share the videos in their social media feeds. Further, we examined what types of comments they leave.

Glenna Read 

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