VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Valdosta's Police Chief was offering his thoughts Wednesday afternoon on the possible fallout of the suspected murder of an unarmed black man in South Carolina by a white police officer.
Chief Brian Childress believed the situation was going to increase many citizens' distrust in law enforcement make citizens more likely to be be hostile towards law enforcement and therein make being a police officer even harder and more dangerous across the country.
The citizen video that shows a white South Carolina police officer shooting an unarmed black man in the back only adds to the negative image of law enforcement.
The police officer in the video had been charged with murder as of Wednesday, but Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress said he didn't want citizens to use this incident as an excuse to say that all law enforcement is bad.
"I just hope we keep it in context," said Chief Childress.
Chief Childress said with cameras everywhere, most officers understand that they have to always be professional and do what is right and he believes that's a good thing.
WALB spoke to two citizens Wednesday who said the situation in South Carolina and other recent events around the country have reminded them that it is necessary for citizens to maintain this accountability.
"It's imperative to always have your cell phone at all times, because when incidents really do occur it's really good because you have a cam corder in your phone," said citizen Karin Anthony.
"They just need to learn to deal with it, honestly. They're here to serve the public and they shouldn't have any problem with anybody filmin' 'em," said VSU senior Vic Sims.
Chief Childress pointed out that that desire to hold law enforcement accountable is also why all Valdosta Police Officers, including the chief, wear body cameras.
He said he is a fan of video and believes it is best for the profession, despite the increased danger and stress it may bring to law enforcement officers.