The topic of my paper will be focused on police brutality along with police getting off easily after facing charges of the brutal acts they commit. Police brutality has been going for a very long time. According to Desmond, Papachristos and Kirk “Numerous studies document stark racial disparities in police maltreatment, finding that black boys and men are disproportionately subject to excessive and sometimes deadly police force, even after accounting for situational factors of the encounter and officer characteristics” (Desmond, Papachristos & Kirk, 2016). In a case a black father addresses that his two sons were falsely arrested and brutalized by the police and the criminal justice system (Kennedy, 1996), According to Kennedy “This man’s son’s education, innocence, good citizenship and occupants, made no different to racist police and a system on white supremacy” (Kennedy, 1996).
Being that this is still going on in the 20th century I have a more updated case to address, In July 2016 Alton Sterling a black unarmed man was killed by two officers: Howie Lake and Blane Salamoni (Morrison, 2017). According to Morrison (2017), “these officers will not be facing criminal charges after killing Sterling”, he also implied that “these outcomes are realities for a near-countless number of families who have lost loved ones to questionable and excessive use of force by police in recent years”. According to Skolnick “Though it is understood that police are trained and authorized to use force, even deadly force when its needed to arrest or apprehend someone who has probably committed a crime” (Skolnick, 2000).
The topic that I will be addressing in this paper is police brutality along with how most police easily get off when incidents of police brutality occurs. According to Park (2018), “many high-profile cases have ended up with no charges against the officers”. According to Kennedy “Statistically black Americans are significantly more likely to die at the hands of police than white, Latino and Asian Americans” (Kennedy, 2016). Some of these police are using their discretion to the third degree. Do you think police officers are being let off easily? Here are some cases that are either not guilty verdicts, non-indictments or a mistrial: According to Morrison (2017) “Jason Stockley, a former St. Louis police officer who shot and killed Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011, was acquitted in September 2017. Betty Shelby, a former Tusla, Oklahoma, police officer who killed Terence Crutcher in 2016, was acquitted in July 2017; Bryan Mason, the Columbus, Ohio, police officer who shot and killed 13-year-old Tyre King in 2016, was not charged with the boy’s death and Matt Kenny, The Madison, Wisconsin, police officer who shot and killed Tony Robinson in 2015, was not charged”.
In America police brutality on blacks has been huge problem and police are being let off easy for taking lives. In an article Katie stated, “a respected school nutritionist, castile was one of 233 African Americans shot and killed by police in 2016” (Nodjimbadem, 2017). Why are blacks targeted the most when it comes to police brutality? Too many of our black man and fathers are being taken away for nothing. According to the Washington post “blacks are 2.5 more likely to be killed by police officer (Nodjimbadem, 2017).
Despite the evidence and recordings of these profile cases, these police have rarely been convicted (Park, 2018). You would think that the system is to protect us all and treat us fairly regardless of your race, though the system seems to fail a lot of people. Not many officers are convicted for killing and rarely face trial. According to Park (2018), “Between 2005 and April 2017, 80 officers had been arrested on the murder or manslaughter for on duty shootings. During that 12-year time span, 35% of the police were convicted while the rest were pending or not convicted (Park, 2018). Out of the 80 officers that had been arrested only 28 of the 80 officers were arrested. It doesn’t sound as bad when saying 35% until you do the math.
There are a couple of recent developments on police brutality that I will address. These first case that I will be addressing the case of officer Mohammed Noor, 32, charged with the fatal shooting of unarmed Justine Damond last July, during a bail hearing (Hendry, Barajas & Segal, 2018). The recent development on this case is that the Minneapolis changes the body camera policy as officers awaits trials for the 2017 fatal shooting (Hendry, Barajas & Segal). The problem within this case is that Noor and Harris, which is the other officer that arrived on the scene with Noor after the 911 call did not activate their body camera until Damond was wounded. According to Hendry, Barajas & Segal (2018), the first week of April 2018, Noor turned himself in on several charges: 3rd degree murder and 2nd degree manslaughter. The same week the city of Minneapolis announced a new body camera policy. This policy required the officers to start recording video footage at least two blocks before reaching a crime and also keeping their device on throughout their shift. This policy also singles out the use of cameras in the use of force situations, MPR notes saying if officers don’t comply they will face 40 days of suspension or termination (Hendry, Barajas & Segal, 2018).
Additionally, there was a case on August 25 of 2017 where two white police approached a black male known as Johnnie Rush on his way home from work (Hendry, Barajas & Segal, 2018). When the body camera footage was released it revealed officer Hickman punching 33-year-old Rush in the head. According to Hendry, Barajas & Segal (2018) “the footage also shows Rush being shocked by a stun gun and Hickman resigned in January”. The most recent development of this case is during the first week of April nine additional videos were released after the city of Asheville petitioned for a court order to make the footage public (Hendry, Barajas & Segal, 2018). One of the videos that stands out is the one where Sgt. Taube arrived. When she arrived Hickman then tells her the story, Taube then tells Rush that he was wrong for resisting arrest (Hendry, Barajas & Segal, 2018). According to Hendry, Barajas & Segal (2018) “City officials said Taube was disciplined for poor performance and received training as a result of this incident.
The Gap between the literature of police brutality that led to my study is the sociohistorical origins of policing and criminalizing black males. According to Gilbert & Ray (2015) “there were three sociohistorical threats to black male identities following the civil war that speak to PHCRP principles of race consciousness, primary of racialization and ordinariness or racism. The convict lease system was created by the prison of industrial complex (Gilbert & Ray, 2015). This was another form of enslavement which involved arresting many of the recently freed men and women for minor violations. These people were punished with unreasonable fines, prison sentences and working in slave plantations (Gilbert & Ray). Lynching was another threat against black males and also deemed as justifiable. According to Gilbert and Ray (2015) between 1881 and 1968, over 70% were black males; in most of these cases no person was brought to justice for these deaths. Now in 2018 we are still dealing with our blacks being killed and brutalized by police without receiving justice.
My purpose of researching this topic is to find out why people are being killed by police, sometimes for no reason and there aren’t being any serious consequences for these actions. I’m going to discover why the criminal justice system seem to fail families of loved ones that have been killed by officers and they have not been convicted. These officers are being let off easily and there must be a reason behind it. This is something that has been going on for a very long while and is the time to discover the undiscovered.
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