The Role Of Race In Police Brutality

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Police brutality has been a growing concern in the media over the past decade. Police brutality, being any act of force from a police officer on a citizen that exceeds the force needed to perform the job necessary, includes shooting, punching, and even killing citizens. As discovered by Daniel Bier of Newsweek, the number of citizens killed by police officers has been steadily climbing for over a decade, spiking upward in 2010 (Figure 1). In the United States, 963 people were killed by police in 2016 alone (The Washington Post). While it proves difficult to provide evidence of the suspected victim being guilty or innocent after being killed, 48 of the 963 were entirely unarmed; this means that in one year alone, nearly 50 lives were taken by police without probable cause (ibid). Of these 963 people, 24% were African-Americans (ibid), despite the fact that only 13.3% of the United States population is African-American (United States Census Bureau). These statistics demonstrate the scope of the issue of race in police brutality. The media, being ever influential in contemporary times, plays a large role in this growing issue. This begs the question: to what extent does the media shape the role of race in police brutality?

Race in Police Brutality: Race and, in turn, racism, plays a large role in police brutality. The database created under “mappingpoliceviolence.org,” a database created to visually represent the prevalence of police brutality in the United States, found

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