Police Brutality - Racism, Racial Profiling, Prejudice


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Over the years, this country has witnessed many cases of police brutality. It has become a controversial topic among communities that have seen police brutality take place in front of their homes. Officers are faced with many threatening situations everyday forcing them to make split second decisions and to expect the worst and hope for the best. Police officers are given the power to take any citizens rights away and even their lives. With that kind of power comes responsibility, that’s one major concern with the amount of discretion officers have is when to use force or when to use lethal force. The use of excessive force may or not be a large predicament but should be viewed by both the police and the community.
Police brutality is hypocrisy; as the police are meant to protect society from harm, not cause further damage and stress. Police should be trained properly so they do not resort to violence and abuse of power. Many cases of police brutality and not sanctioned and are undertaken by a group of police as a form of "mob mentality". Police are placed on a pedestal of authority and respect by the rest of society. To maintain this image, rules and codes of ethics within the police force should be maintained at all possible times. If police are using brutality to resolve issues, it doesn't set much of an example of dispute resolution between individuals. Over the past decade police abuse remains one of the most serious human rights violation in the United States. Police officers are trusted and expected to respect society as a whole and enforce the law. There is a time a place for aggressive force if needed, apprehending a suspect, however the environment and situation might influence the moment thus resulting in the brutal and barbaric behavior from the cop. The important thing to do is to understand the circumstances when excessive force can be used and times where the use of force has to be abstained. Police officers follow a strict guideline in how to handle encounters from escalating into something much more serious. The use of excessive force, in this case police brutality brings liabilities that cannot be taken lightly with the department and the community. Usually the high crime rates tend to revolve around low-income minority areas and officers tend to assume that minorities living in the areas are guilty. Police brutality that does exist is most likely result of emotional exhaustion.

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The human body can only handle so much, and the police are no exception. Its not fair to judge the minority group right off the bat, without probable cause or knowing the suspect is known to be violent and heavily armed, that’s when excessive force can be justified if the suspect disobeys all commanding orders from a officer.

Race plays a key role in police misconduct. Many minority groups are more likely to be victims of unfair police treatment. The Rodney King beating is truly a representation of police brutality. “But they didn’t have to beat me this bad. I don’t know what I did to be beat up” Rodney King, March 3, 1991. The California Highway Patrol spotted king’s car speeding, exceeding speeds up to 100 mph. According to Kings statement, he refused to pull the car over because a DUI charge could violate his parole. After exiting the highway he was stopped by LAPD and was immediately struck with 2 darts from a taser gun, each volt containing 50,000 volts. Within two minutes he was hit by 56 baton blows and kicked several times. He suffered from brain damage, 11 skull fractures, kidney damage and emotional damage. What the officers did not know was that a bystander was getting this all on film. The next day the film was sold to a local television network KTLA and was widely broadcast throughout the country. When the media got a hold of the story, everything got blown out of proportion. Political leaders around the U.S. got involved for support of Rodney King. When the cops were acquitted of all charges except for being guilty of civil rights violations. The city was outraged, and a riot broke out. A second trial was reinstated and found Officer Laurence Powell and Sergeant Stacy Koon guilty, while Officer Wind and Briseno were acquitted of all charges. One question still lurks in the air was justice really served that day? After the riots King was awarded $3.8 million in a civil case. The King incident still stands as a classic in police history. This would be the beginning of more police brutality attacks around the nation. Another major case dealing with excessive police brutality and the cruel injustice one man would have to endure is Abner Louima, one of many who was brutally beaten in a cruel and inhumane way and living proof of the horror of police brutality. Abner Louima was a 30-year-old Haitian immigrant with no criminal record. It was August 9, 1997 in front of a nightclub in Brooklyn, New York. He was arrested after police broke up a scuffle. On the way to the 70th Precinct station house officers, Charles Schwarz, Thomas Wiese, and Justin Volpe punched, kicked and beat Louima with a police radio. Arriving at the station at the officers took him to the bathroom and sodomized Loumia with a wooden stick and then ramming the stick into his mouth, breaking his teeth in the process. This three-hour attack on Louima left him with a punctured colon, bladder and ruptured intestines.

With much violence in America rising, police officers are legally permitted to use force, and their superiors and the public expects them to do so when appropriate. Cops have to use physical force on criminals but is excessive force needed for unarmed criminals. Is it necessary to shoot at an unarmed man 41 times because he made a suspicious move? I know police officers have their reasons, sometimes you have to be in their shoes to understand what they are facing that might be a threat to their life or others around the scene. Its understood, force is sometimes necessary to refrain criminals when they get out of line, or put the police officers life endanger. Inherent criminality; the belief that people who commit crimes are animals and incapable of rehabilitation, leads police to treat people brutally. . Recent statistics published by the Stolen Lives Project estimate that the number of cases in the United States relating to police brutality has reached the thousands, but these statistics come with a disclaimer many, if not most, of these instances are never reported due to fear of reprisal. The fact is there are many cases of police brutality and corruption. Some are not good enough to make it to the front page of the newspaper or to the news. Not enough is being done; lack of community efforts are being made to help. Justice has to be served and the code of silence needs to be broken. Some cops need to be put behind bars. The only way to clean up the city or community is to clean up all the dirty cops. Police brutality is a cruel, inhumane injustice that can be prohibited. No one needs to be afraid or be worried about being intimidated by police and about coming foward with information. Without a doubt we have the good cops and bad cops, about a fraction of those cops still go abusing their authority to innocent people. If it were not for bystanders witnessing the brutality cops put on people many cases wouldn’t be what they are today. Fresno Police Department had a recent police brutality video leaked on youtube. It showed two officers on duty, beating the life out of an old homeless man. The man was homeless he did not oppose no threat to the police officers. There are no excuses towards brutality to an unarmed person, many cops seem to enjoy the beating they put on people. Those cops probably have psychological problems and may feel relieved when they are above the average citizen and abusing their power, that they swore they would preserve the dignity and respect the rights of all individuals. But lets face it police officers are well protected by the department and therefore cant really get much punishment, for there actions on their line of duty.

As has been noted, police brutality is very sick and cruel. Police beatings can really be a downfall in a community, loosing all faith in what a police department stands for and represents. It always seems to be hard getting the trust and loving feeling back from a community, after a department starts abusing power and using it for more than enforcing the law, rather than for pleasure. Police brutality is becoming a bigger issue. It should have stopped with the Rodney King incident, but it hasn’t, it has only gotten worse. The cops have just found newer ways to hurt people. Not enough justice is being done to the cops who inflict their wounds among their victims.



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