Bailey, R., Yan, H., & Glenna L. Read (Forthcoming). Camera perspective and skin color: Biased reactions to viral body work camera videos of police violence. Communication Monographs.
Abstract: Technological advances have allowed greater transparency into police-citizen interactions. Body-worn camera (BWC) and citizen mobile device videos capturing violent police use-of-force are shared and commented upon widely within social media. Utilizing social identity theory as a main theoretical framework, this study integrated propositions stemming from social categorization, colorism, and extended cognition to investigate how video features, including point-of-view (POV: onlooker vs. officer perspective) and citizen skin color (dark skin vs. light skin), interacted to affect emotional responses, likelihood to comment and share via social media, and comment on content. A sample of predominantly White participants watched police use-of-force videos in which citizen skin color and camera POV varied. BWC videos in which light-skinned citizens were harmed elicited the most likelihood to comment and share. Further, experienced negative emotion fully mediated this relationship. BWC videos in which dark-skinned citizens were harmed elicited the least negative emotion, the least likelihood to comment, and less normative commentary about officer behaviors.