“There Is A Man Behind That Badge, Be Like A Man”

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“Lord rebuke you for giving you that power and you abusing it.” I don’t know what happened before or after this, but the arrest-resist or police-resist video is a genre and the words exchanged in them are tense, immediate with implications for police accountability and bound to influence public opinion. The invocation of God is one of several strong appeals made to the officers in this video. The appeal to personal sacrifice (his service to military), appeal to patriotism (his nationality as an american), and an appeal to humanity (“you’re a man behind that badge”), these all assign agency to the officers. The appeal to God, however, disavows the officers’ agency, a kind of curse. I’m not sure where to go with this idea yet, but the presence of religious discourse in a video-recorded and in the heat of the moment challenge to power seems like something new or unique. It doesn’t justify violence in producing security – this isn’t militant radicalism. Rather – and it will be helpful to collect more of these kinds of videos – it appears to aim for justification in the recorded medium.

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