-By definition the term police brutality is “applied in the context of causing physical harm, it may also involve psychological harm through the use of intimidation tactics beyond the scope of officially sanctioned police procedure.” In today’s society we have police known as riot police, who are known throughout the world to use extreme force. Statistics show almost every time the riot police are involved in crowd control, there is at least one fatality and multiple injured. This is why I believe this is one of the most important issues in the World today. Police are there to protect us but from April 2009 to June 2010 in the United States there were 5986 reports of misconduct from police officers. Police brutality has today’s citizens doubting the police department, and how they go about their arrest. Police brutality is an everyday occurrence, especially in cities where there are large communities of Blacks, Latinos and Asians.
Police brutality and office involved shootings have sparked national debate and created a strain between police officers and citizens. Recently, there have been more home videos that display acts of aggression by police officers. These police officers often use excessive forces or a condescending tone towards people of color which is why there needs to be a better way to mend police and civilian relationship. People should be able to trust the police in their communities rather than fear them.
Police brutality is seen as a real problem in America today. What people do not seem to realize is that the police carry a massive burden each day. The work that officers do has the potential to be very demanding and sometimes involves dangerous situations. In these situations the officers are in the position where they may be required to use force to gain control. The continuum of force dictates the level that is most appropriate for the situation. Most people do not realize that is not the officers job the meet the force. However, it is their job to overcome the force. Police departments have very strict standard operating procedures about officer use force and how force is applied. With this paper, I will attempt to explain the continuum of force, police discretion, and why the police can do some of the things they do.
“I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” These were the last words of Eric Garner, a middle-aged African American man. Garner died at the hands of multiple police officers who were trying to restrain him for selling cigarettes. These sorts of images are showcased on television way too often. To the point that some people feel helpless, they know that they alone do not have the power to overthrow the superiority of an officer. So they have really no choice but watch the tragedy unfold. Also fear that if they interfere, that they may be the next victim. “I am most struck by the behavior of the EMTs, who stood along with the police and did nothing as they watched Eric Garner die” (Williams 10). Although some people deny that police brutality is a problem, recent studies and events (such as the one listed above) prove that ultra-aggressive police officers, militarization of police agencies, and the effects of racism have increased police brutality.
First, it is crucial to note that police brutality is not synonymous to racism against a particular group. However, there is a stigma that police often racially profile a specific African Americans. In February 2015, two cases of police brutality did not involve African Americans; instead the two victims were a Hispanic shot and killed in Washington State and an Indian-American severely paralyzed in Alabama. Even with this considered, of late, a majority of police brutality cases have involved minorities and specifically African American males. Cases such as Michael Brown and Freddie Gray have sparked a cultural uprising. These trigger event inspired the protests and riots against police brutality demonstrating collective action and physical violence, but the idea of police brutality is much larger than these individual cases, since it is a reoccurring cycle.
As of September 1, 2015, in the United States police officers have killed 776 people and 161 of those people were unarmed at the time of their death (MintPress). There have been too many incidents where police officers have injured or killed someone that could have been prevented. Using maximum force with a suspect has become a routine in many confrontations. Officers have not been given the proper training to deal with individuals and how to handle them without using a weapon. If they were given more training on how to deal with situations resulting in using a weapon to stop an individual during certain scenarios police brutality situations would decrease, lives would be saved, and police would get their good reputation back. However, police departments would have to spend more money on re-training. Some people agree with police brutality and think that a civilian deserved their punishment, which is not right because no one deserves to be beaten or killed. Situations involving police brutality have been increasing throughout the years, which is a problem that must to be solved.
The contemporary social problem I would like to conduct sociological research on is the use of excessive force used by members of the police department in recent unconscionable shootings of unarmed civilians. With all the recent attention that the people of Ferguson Missouri and New York City have been able to rise on this issue, making it a media sensation, it seemed like a good topic to discuss. Police brutality is an egregious, ongoing problem in our society that, until just recently, has been accepted as a sad fact of life by the people it affects and is largely ignored by the rest of society, including politicians and the mass media. Police brutality affects the people that society has come to stigmatize such as minorities, the mentally ill and impoverished people, more so than the well off or middle to upper class white people.
In recent years and in light of recent tragedies, police actions, specifically police brutality, has come into view of a large, public and rather critical eye. The power to take life rests in the final stage of the criminal justice system. However, the controversy lies where due process does not. While the use of deadly force is defined and limited by departmental policies, it remains an act guided chiefly by the judgment of individual officers in pressure situations. (Goldkamp 1976, 169). Many current studies have emphasized the racial disparities in minority deaths, primarily black Americans, killed by police through means of deadly force. The history of occurrences reveals the forlorn truth that police reforms only receive attention in wake of highly publicized episodes of police misconduct. The notorious 1992 Los Angeles riots brought the matter to mass public attention and prompted improved law enforcement policy. Significant local reforms resulted, for instance, ending the policy of lifetime terms for police chiefs. Additionally, on a broader platform, in 1994, Congress approved provisions to the Crime Control Act in effort to tackle police abuse in a more structured way.
Police brutality is becoming a trend in America. Tensions among the public and especially the African American community are rising due to the latest cases of police brutality. Many people believe that we have come far in this society but to be honest Racism is still a factor. The use of brutal and lethal force by some police officers leading to unnecessary deaths have African American parents on edge to send their children outside for anything. Law enforcement and people whom we trust with our lives are the very same to take it. Some people may want to argue that these cases such as the shooting of Michael brown and choking of Eric Garner are isolated incidents. Others would argue that the work of a police officer is too difficult and that sometimes an officer needs to use such force in order to enforce the law and protect him/herself while on duty. Law enforcement proclaims to feel threatened however what about the civilians who feel threatened of becoming the next target or victim of prey. The society is well aware that not all police commit these crimes and that we do still have law abiding officers. However, with the effort from everyone we can eradicate the bad apples and create a safer road for the officers and civilians.
Every person should have equal rights and opportunities not based on their ethnicity, race, or culture. There are countrywide issues that have lead to racial injustice. In recent discussions on racial injustice, one major issue has been the many cases of police brutality and hate crimes against minorities. Many falsely accused people are being incarcerated simply based on the color of their skin or how they look. Racism has been a huge part of Americas past and will continue to be a part of our history as time progresses. It is our history itself that keeps racism in America regrettably alive. It is what has shaped our society today. The actions of unlawful police officers have been presented through media. By revealing the problems with our law enforcement this has allowed the public to see the roots of this issue. There are many factors that contribute to the issue of police brutality, they are all derived from the roots of the tree of our history. It is time that people take a stand against hate crimes such as police brutality.
When you think of the police, your opinion may vary. Let me ask you a question about our police force. But keep this in mind, in October 2015 alone, there was 81 deaths by the police. With that being said, who’s to protect us from whose protecting the block? I don 't care who you are, you have to be able to realize nowadays that the police brutality is getting out of hand, that the power surge is growing and growing. Look around, there 's an increase of civilians death via cops, an increase of reports of police wrongdoing, and an increase of more officers standing trial for a case relating to police brutality.
For the past couple years there has been so many incidents involving some sort of police brutality. The mainstream media has shown police misconduct, case after case it has become a routine and making people wonder if our officers of the law really doing their jobs? Unjustified shooting, and fatal choking’s have all contributed to the problem of police brutality in America and also has become very controversial. The police carry an enormous burden each day, which makes their job really hard. Police work is very stressful and involves violent, and split second decision. Nevertheless, cases like the shooting of Samuel DuBose, and Walter Scott and the choking of Eric Garner has raised questions regarding our police system. In many confrontations the police are put in a position in which they have to use force to control the situation, but there are different levels of force and most of the time the situation dictates the level of force that’s necessary. In addition, I will explain different cases of police brutality, the use of excessive force, and the consequences the officers have faced.
A young man’s brutal death at the hands of the police is found justified in a court of law due to his “suspicious” appearance: a black hoodie and his hands in his pocket. An elderly woman is fatally shot in her home for her relation to a suspected criminal. A married man with two toddlers is choked to death after a minor traffic stop by an officer who later claimed that his unarmed victim was wielding a gun. These people all have a few commonalities: the color of their skin, their presumed guilt at first sight, and their ultimate unjustified death administered by the law force. These are not uncommon occurrences. Due to the staggeringly disproportionate rate of African-Americans killed by the police, and the underlying rampant racial profiling, police brutality towards blacks in America must be called to light.
Power abusing among cops remains a standout amongst the most serious human rights infringement in the United States. Over the previous decade, police have carried on in ways that have made individuals doubt "are the cops truly enforcing the law?" Extreme beatings, unjustified shootings, lethal choking 's, and harsh treatment have all added to the ever-present issue of police mercilessness in America. Police brutality has existed as long as policing has been around in this nation. It is noteworthy, however, that “in the years 2001–2007, the United States Justice Department reported a 25 percent increase in the use of tactics by law enforcement officials that allegedly violate citizens ' civil rights” (Walter). These occasions do not symbolize all of the policing severity that has happened, but they lay out as the basis for the issues that still presently exist. The truth is that a large portion of these episodes go un-noticed or un-reported. Through studies, people try to recognize the reasons for police brutality, and what they can do to end it.
Police brutality has adverse effects on society in its entirety and, hence, there is need to stop these acts so as to improve cohesiveness and the observation of the law in society.