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Your Zoom Interrogation Is About To Start

The Marshall Project – COVID-19 is changing how police question suspects and witnesses—for the better, some argue. “It’s the way that detectives have extracted confessions from people forever: in a confined interrogation room, getting right up in the suspect’s face. But during a pandemic, being within six feet of a stranger—especially for a prolonged period of time in a small, under-ventilated space—can be deadly. That’s why police departments are rapidly changing how they conduct interrogations these days, according to a Marshall Project survey of police chiefs and investigators across the nation. Detectives in Philadelphia, Miami and elsewhere said they are increasingly conducting interviews of suspects, witnesses and victims out in the street and six feet apart, instead of indoors. In Clearwater, Florida, for instance, they’re often doing so in the parking lot outside of their station. And when officers do bring people back to the precinct, many have started questioning people from another room, via Zoom or Skype—or at least from the other end of a large conference table…Yet at a time when, in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, many Americans are calling for an end to the kind of policing that’s predicated on force and coercion—especially of Black people—many policing experts say that the social-distancing of interrogations could be a blessing in disguise…”

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