Police Officers are sworn under oath to serve and protect their communities as well as to enforce laws and arrest criminals. As a community citizens look for law enforcement for protection when they fear for their safety, but how must they do this when in many incidents people have died in the hands of the police due to excessive force. Police brutality has become more and more of a norm in society.
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There have been many cases of police brutality but African Americans have been the biggest targets. African Americans have had many obstacles through their history and this one is just another one of them. Everyone deserves fair treatment no matter what their economical status, living conditions, level of education, or race they are. Everyone is affected by this issue in some way of another African Americans are not the only ones being victims of police brutality. The government and citizens should come together to solve this issue and not let it be a problem any longer. Police Officers should have a bigger punishment for police brutality.
Black people or African Americans have had such a rough history in the United States and other parts of the world. As everyone is aware there was a time in our history where slavery was legal in the States and the slaves were blacks or African American. It is important to understand why African Americans and all other races are important worldwide. Everyone is created equally and everyone should be treated fairly no matter how much money or power you have. Because of their history African Americans are targeted greatly when it comes to racial discrimination. Many people like to think that they are better than everyone else because they have money or they have some sort of power over the rest of the people. Many cases of police brutality have been with an African American who has been brutally beaten or shot to his or her death. Black people deal with a lot of racial discrimination on a daily basis and if a police officer does it, it makes it seem like it is okay to do it. People also need to understand that not everything that is said on the news is true. News outlets and social media don’t always show the whole story behind each incident and maybe this is why many officers have not been properly punished for police brutality.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau 12.3 percent of the United States population is made up of African American. They reside all over the states but mainly in in 10 Southern states usually in poverty. The U.S Census Bureau states that New York City is where the most population of African Americans lives about 2.3 million. Of course these statistics are hard to follow because not everyone reports to the census. Many of African Americans come from single parent households where there income is a problem and they live in poverty. Many African Americans live in apartment complex that are surrounded by drugs, gangs and violence. This does not necessarily mean that everyone who lives in these apartment complexes is a drug dealer, gangsters or violent individuals.
People that do not live there will automatically assume that someone who does fits into one of those categories. As a society we take charge of labeling people that live in certain areas our human instinct makes us believe what people are labeled as. Growing up in a single household can be difficult because one has fewer resources and income coming in then a family with two parents. When someone is in a situation where they cannot provide enough for their families they do what ever it takes to help out even if it involves doing bad things. Young African Americans drop out of school to help their single parent with expenses. Many of these young African American are not as educated as someone who has both parents at their home bringing in good income and live in better living conditions.
According to a lot of stereotypes they are the violent, brutish African American male and the dominant, lazy African American female the Welfare Mother (Peffley Hurwitz & Sniderman, 1997). These are stereotypes that society lives by and some believe that all African Americans are everything they are said to be. Recent research has shown that other races are likely to hold these stereotypes especially with the issues of crime and welfare. One of the biggest incidents that happened to an African American in Los Angeles was the Beating of Rodney King an African American, which created the impact of a dramatic event to the public eye of racial discrimination. This incident appeared to have had a great effect on how the local police treated black people and the discrimination against them (Sigelman Lee, Welch Susan, Timothy Bledsoe& Combs Michael 1997). This was the first brutal beating by police that was recorded by a bystander.
Although this incident happened 20 plus years ago it did not stop there. There have been more and more police brutality cases since the Rodney King who have also resulted in deaths. These police officers are using their power over citizens and are abusing it. In most cases they get away with it, like killing or beating someone nearly to death is something of the norm. In a recent statistics 69 percent of the victims of police brutality in the united states are African American or black were suspected of non violent crime and were unarmed (Mapping police violence). That is more than half victims of police brutality that were unarmed so what reason did they have for doing this. If these individuals were not armed why did these incidents have to turn out so awful. These are lives that are being taken and Law Enforcement is just getting a slap on the wrist for it.
In 1991 according to the journal: police brutality and public perception of racial discrimination: a tale of two beatings, person videotape Rodney King in Los Angeles being beat by four white officers who used a stun gun and repeatedly kicked him and hit him batons (Sigelman Lee, Welch Susan, Timothy Bledsoe& Combs Michael 1997). The video made it to the news and everyone got to see the discrimination happen. It was the first time that it was videotaped but when was the first time it actually happened we might never know. If there were times where African Americans claimed that they were victims of police brutality it was never believed, as there was no evidence to prove they were telling the truth. In July 2014 Eric Garner was killed at the age of 43 for selling cigarettes illegally. Garner was not armed and was shot to death. The officer that shot him was a white male and was not found guilty for any criminal charge.
According to the Bureau of justice statistics during the years 1992-1994, the Metro-Dade Police Department completed 1,311 use-of-force reports. After the incident on Mr. King there were more reports made of police excessive use of force. This was just the beginning of what is now considered a normal for behavior for law enforcement. Citizens are scared to turn to Law Enforcement for help considering the fact that they are using their force to hurt citizens when they truly don’t need to be using it. Not going to far in history from year 2014 to 2016 there were 15 high profile deaths of African Americans that were victims of police brutality. At first the problem as a whole looked like it was disparity but when you see this happen more than once and every time it happens it’s the same situation the only difference is the police officer you start looking at it as discrimination.
In some of these cases police officers wanted to explain their actions but the footage of the incident said otherwise and viewers did not justify their actions. Only three of these 15 cases resulted in convictions. 12 police officers got away with the killing of victims of police excessive force (Lee Jasmine &Park Haeyoun 2018). This issue continues to happen and people are scared. African Americans walk around and are scared when they see police thinking that they will pick a fight with them because of the color of their skin or they might just look suspicious to them. Police Officers are being justified for their actions and are not being punished for their crimes. The worst part that can happen for them is be on administrated leave or even so they will get fired but they will be able to get hired in a different state and have the same thing happen over again. Citizens are supposed to feel protected by the law not scared of it.
Police officers are almost never prosecuted or convicted for police brutality because some how their actions are justified. Police officers are almost always believed over the civilians. Police officers take advantage of their power and people might think well they are going to do anything in their power to protect and serve but is killing and beating an African American going to protect and serve people. Police Brutality is a violation of ones constitutional rights that we as Americans have no matter what race or ethnicity we are. So why not punish police officers for violating our rights and breaking the law they are suppose to maintain. Some of the police stations have started trainings in regards to this issue. According to the American psychological association the New Orleans Police Department has started training for partners to take action rather than standing silently by or joining in on a fellow officer’s brutality.
Instead of allowing things to overreact in heated situations to tell them to take a break and urge them not to do something they will regret (Novotney Amy 2017). I think strategy is really good and other police departments should really take notice of this because it could avoid a lot of police misconduct and police brutality amongst other civilians. Civilians and most importantly African-Americans I have been the biggest target for this incident will feel more secure and not fear their safety around police officers knowing that they are getting this type of training.
Police officers carry weapons that they are required to use when and if it is needed so why go straight to the gun and shoot them to death or to the baton and beat on the person continuously. There should be steps that police officers take before using deadly force. Yes it is understandable that police officers fears for their lives but some of the cases that have happened the individual have been unarmed. I don’t believe that it takes a deadly shot to contain someone. Police officers if they are going to shoot someone they should shoot their leg or arm but not a part were the victim is more likely to die. I don’t think that beating on individuals is going to resolve anything they should hit them once or twice to make them calm down and hand cuff them and continue the arrest.
Police Officers are set to be people that citizens look up to for protection and safety not fear them. Police brutality has happened continuously amount of times that it has become a normal situation that doesn’t get punishment. African Americans and blacks have become a big target for racially discrimination when it comes to police brutality. Police officers need to be trained more in how to approach situations with everyone and not act differently with African Americans.
In my future career as a Parole Officer I need to have my clients to be able to trust me and be comfortable with me. If police brutality continues citizens will not trust any law-enforcement agents including parole officers. This will not make my job easier if citizens believe that Parole Officers will be the same way as former police officer’s that have brutally beaten and killed people. Officers that would beat citizens up especially African-Americans are only making the law-enforcement look bad and not someone people would want to contact if they are in trouble or need help. Parole agent I will be around many types of races including African-Americans and if I don’t have their trust they will not cooperate with me.
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