Essay on The Social Dynamics of the Police Use of Force

1566 Words7 Pages
When it comes to the criminal justice system, legal rulings only provide a systematic method of dealing with the problem of crime and, especially, the problem surrounding the police use of force. In Graham vs. Conner, for example, the courts established the four-factor test to evaluate police use of excessive force but left other, underlying social and moral dilemmas untouched. Furthermore, the influence money has in negotiating punishment via lawyers and bail, have made the courts a perfect playing field for the political and social elite to rule. Both have contributed to the inability for the legal dealings of coercive force to address some of the moral and social implications the use of force contains. To understand and tackle these…show more content…
Since the court system is unable to intervene in cases involving officer and citizen social relations, and since they have proved to be easily politically manipulated by lawyers and monetary bail, the police institution and its selection process must be examined and evaluated in order to address the social dilemma of the police use of force. The political and social elite can manipulate the legal system easily. Oftentimes, punishments ruled by the court consist of monetary penalization or bail. Thus it is easy for those high up on the social ladder to escape the consequences of illegal actions. However, for those that come from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds, and who make us a majority of arrests, bail is rarely an option— they end up serving their full time in the jail cell (Metchik, 82). This makes the rebellious attitudes toward law enforcement and resistance of arrest more prominent among these proletariat groups. For either they try to resist going to jail with a small hope of getting away or at least being handcuffed after putting up a fight, or they go quietly with little hope for the courts to show mercy and face the entire severity of their punishment. Due to this brute reality, many individuals find it better to resist subjection to the police than quietly accept the fate they will likely face in the courts. This resistance compels officers to use force in order to complete an arrest. Tyler in his excerpt
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