On the morning of July 7, 2016, a group of cops in Flint, Michigan, gathered at conference tables during roll call to watch the latest act of citizen journalism creating headlines across America. A YouTube video, playing on a TV in the center of the room, showed Diamond "Lavish" Reynolds, a young woman from Minnesota, live-streaming the shooting of her boyfriend, Philando Castile, by a police officer. As the scene unfolded, some of the Flint officers averted their eyes. Others solemnly shook their heads. The room was silent except for the sound of the video.
When the clip ended, a discussion about policing in the era of cell phone cameras and Black Lives Matter broke out. A white officer named Robert Frost remarked that this particular interaction reminded him of similar incidents in the press and that the video only showed "one side of what happened." Another white officer criticized not the officer who shot Castile but Reynolds's decision to film the encounter. "Her boyfriend just got shot by the police," he said, "and her first reaction is to take out her cell phone and start recording. And she was pretty callous about it." He went on. "Assume you're always being recorded. Don't let it change your tactics."