Women and Police Brutality

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Police brutality is one of several forms of police misconduct, which involves undue violence by police officers. It seems to happen in several countries, but very often in the United States against African-Americans. Studies show that the US police kill more in days than other countries do in years.

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(The Guardian, 2018). Generally, when individuals discuss police violence against African-Americans; recurring names such as Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner continuously appear in broadcast media. It is very rare that police violence against women is brought to the public’s attention. My conclusion is that there may be more women victims of police violence than there are men. The 2016 Census stated that 58.3% of the U.S. population was women (Census Quickfacts, 2016). This percentage could correlate to women having more incidents of police brutality than men. These statistics, based on research, are not currently studied, so we would not know. The lack of official definition of brutality could lead to instances of police brutality that are not categorized as such. Police brutality against women should not be silenced and should be brought to society’s attention.

Kimberle Crenshaw is a civil rights advocate, and a leading scholar of the race theory (Law UCLA). She is also a professor of law at UCLA and Columbia Law School. Crenshaw has worked on a variety of issues pertaining to gender and race in the domestic violence literature. Some examples include violence against women, systematic racial discrimination, and affirmative action. She also the creator of the say her name movement. Which is a movement is a social movement that seeks to raise awareness for black female victims of police brutality and anti-black violence in the United States. ( Why Kimberle Crenshaw is fighting for forgotten women). Kimberle Crenshaw has contributed many good deeds to the women community.

By Crenshaw creating the movement, she brought exposure to the discriminatory experiences by women of color. More than 70 black women have died at the hands of the police in the past three years( The Guardian, 2016). Yes, the familiar Sandra Bland case that went worldwide. The event that took place with Sandra Bland she was pulled over for failing to signal while changing lanes. Eventually, Bland was arrested and found hanged in her cell. Her death still goes unsolved ( “Sandra Bland: behind a poignant documentary of her life and death”). Sandra Bland shined little light on women battling police brutality. But unfortunately, her case was unsolved and played a part in the tabloids for a short period of time. There are women of all ages from 7 to 93 years old killed by police violence. For Instance, 7-year-old Aiyana Jones, she was sleeping in her home on the east side of Detroit on the night of May 16, 2010, when officers barged into the home (Abbey-Lambertz). They were conducting a police raid in search of a murder suspect who lived at that address when Officer Joseph Weekley accidentally fired his gun the shot, unfortunately, killed Aiyana. The reasoning for Weekley firing his gun is still a matter of dispute. Aiyanna was burned by the explosive and struck by a police bullet shot from outside the home.

In addition to that, May 12, 2014, 93-year-old Pearlie Golden was fatally shot and killed by a police officer (The Guardian, 2014). According to The Guardian resources, Roy Jones told KBTX-TV he had taken Golden, his aunt, to renew her driver’s license on that Tuesday, but she was denied after failing her test. As Jones took his aunt back to her home, he could tell she was upset. Jones said he was later sitting with his aunt on her front porch when Golden demanded her keys back. He refused, then Golden went into the house and got her 38-caliber handgun. Jones ran into the house and called the police, he told the station. Jones says “Goldens soon fired two shots into the ground when an officer told her to drop her gun.” Hearne police said in a statement that Golden “brandished a gun” when officer Stem arrived. A preliminary autopsy showed Golden was shot twice and grazed by a third bullet, the Robertson County district attorney, Coty Siegert, has said. Golden having a handgun is very crucial, however, she was elderly and didn’t deserve to get gunned down. As an officer, he is physically capable of taking Golden down. Instead of trying to get the gun off of her he immediately reverted to a shooting. It’s also important that viewers keep in mind that Golden was African-American. Although there is no current evidence that race was playing a role. Society still has to consider that implicit bias can always play a role. There have been women with mental illnesses as well, victims of police violence.

Somali Refugee was killed by the North Fulton police. Refugee suffered from a bipolar disorder. (Mcgee and Elassar 2018). When Refugee was gunned down by two Johns Creek police officers, she apparently was wielding a knife near the intersection of Abbots Bridge and Sweet Creek roads. The officers opened fire after tasers and a foam impact round failed to make her drop the knife. She later died of her injuries at Emory Johns Creek Hospital (Mcgee and Elassar). This took place early to 2018 and not many people are aware of Somali Story. Refugee family has questioned police training when dealing with mental health patients.

Equally important, the police training should be taken into consideration. How is it that American police officers have such a higher rate of shootings compared to most countries (The Guardian, 2018). New incoming officers are taught, what is widely known as the “first rule of law enforcement”( Stoughton, 2014). The first rule of law enforcement is police typically are responsible for maintaining public order and safety, enforcing the law, and preventing, detecting, and investigating criminal activities. (Police Law Enforcement). Understanding the matter of being an officer is dangerous, but people who are trained to instantly fear the community can be problematic. If people get the idea they should fear the community they are more than likely to act off impulse.” There is no proof of my statement, yet that how it is portrayed from an outsider looking in. According to Stoughton “In most police shootings, officers don’t shoot out of anger or frustration or hatred. They shoot because they are afraid. And they are afraid because they are constantly barraged with the message that they should be afraid, that their survival depends on it.”( Stoughton, 2014). He also explains that “Officers aren’t just told about the risks they face. They are shown painfully vivid, heart-wrenching dash-cam footage of officers being beaten, disarmed, or gunned down after a moment of inattention or hesitation. They are told that the primary culprit isn’t the felon on the video, it is the officer’s lack of vigilance. These officers are now worried about staying alive or possibly think that will never let event as such happen to them.” ( Stoughton). The officer are not the only people to blame, the system has to take responsibility as well.

Between facing systematic oppression, fighting for the right to vote, unequally pay, and amongst many other barriers. Being a woman appears challenging already. In addition to that these women are African-American. Which makes it more difficult; because being a black woman today is an extra barrier to overcome. Here now we have these women being discriminated against for multiple things. What are these women supposed to do? They no longer have someone to call for help. If our collective outrage around cases of police violence is meant to serve as a warning to the state that its police cannot kill without consequences. Then our silence around the cases of black women, and girls send the message that certain deaths do not need any repercussions. Black women are substantially helpless. Police officers are supposed to be people we call for protection. However, these women are not able to do that. It is devastating the future could be young black girls having to be trained to understand what to do when interacting with a police officer. Because of the matter, young girls live are being taken away by them. Everyone deserves to be treated as if he or she is human. However, the way police handle these women it is if they are animals.

For this reason, the movement called say her name created by Kimberle Crenshaw should be pushed more by the public. They say her name movement responds to the increasing calls for attention to police violence against black women. By offering a resource to help ensure that black women’s stories are integrated into demand for justice, police responses to violence, and media representations of victims of police brutality. There are not many people who know about the say her name movement. Women and men all over the world to attend should support #SayHerName campaign. It can start by a simple hashtag on the media saying “say her name.” By honoring these women on a specific month and day of the year. There has already been a woman’s march for #SayHerName In January 2017. Hopefully, the march keeps it going every year in the month of January. If the movement keeps moving, it can result to these ladies names with being recognized and honored the right way in the next two years.

In the meantime, there are many obstacles to face, so that we can get to this point. People may not agree and give negative feedback. However, that should not be the reason from letting these women be known. This is why it is very important that the organization comes to the public attention through the media letting these victims family tell their stories. It can contribute as a major eye-opener to people. Displaying how crucial the issue is, and it may help people to jump on board. It has been overshadowed enough; it is now time these women deserve a stand. Society should no longer be capable to overlook this controversy. Marches, networking, and broadcasting are a great way to bring to their attention, however, they need more. People should start engaging communities in conversation, and advocacy around black women’s experiences of police violence.

As been noted hopefully that these women will get some recognition, any person victimized by police brutality get justice and police brutality comes to an end. Realistically speaking, all those things may not ever happen at once. On the other hand, say her name movement can be something that can be big in the future. In the meantime hopefully, these women can receive justice and they will be given the awareness they deserve. There are several future changes that need to make. This can be a start. By people simply making awareness can cause change. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but little progress will matter. The most important thing is making people have an epiphany that police violence against amiss towards anyone it happens too. These black women should not be excluded.

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