Brutality, Or Something More?

3461 WordsMay 4, 201514 Pages
Chad Roberge Brutality, or Something More? Police brutality has become a huge issue in the United States. From the Rodney King incident to the riots caused after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, perceptions of the police have become increasingly negative. Police brutality occurs when a police officer uses any excessive force in handling a legal situation with a civilian (Umbach, 2003). Excessive force usually involves getting into a physical altercation, or using items like pepper spray, a Taser, batons, or nerve gas to subdue a suspect. It can also involve verbal and psychological intimidation, sexual abuse, corruption, racial profiling, and false arrests. I wanted to examine the history, causes, and possible solutions proposed to put an end to police brutality in the world today. Some of the first reported cases of police brutality occurred in seventeenth and eighteenth century France. Officers were known for going on patrol and bludgeoning citizens with nightsticks (Johnson, 2004). The first newspaper reporting of police brutality was by the Chicago Tribune, which occurred in 1872, when a prisoner was fatally injured by officers while in a jail cell (Chicago Daily Tribune, 1872). In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, police brutality was a huge problem when labor strikes were occurring in the U.S. (Aboukhadijeh, 2012). One of the major cases of police brutality occurred in 1991, when Rodney King was severely beaten by police officers in
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