An officer who uses more force than policy allows is said to have used excessive force and may be guilty of police brutality, the excessive and lawless use of police force. Police officers are often seen as a thin blue line of protection between criminals and law-abiding citizens, but when they use excessive force, they cross the line and become criminals. Police brutality damages the image of law enforcement as well as the justice system. It leads to loss of trust in the policemen, which then creates a gap between them and people in the community.
According to the early policing principles imported from 19th century England, it is the lack of centralized control which forms a corruption in America when opportunities of bribery were widespread. Police reforms from the 1930s to the 1950s sought to establish professionalism among police forces by introducing military-like command and higher performance standards. Not everyone agrees with this type of procedure when critics see the March 1991 beating of Rodney King by officers of Los Angeles Police Department which used professional policing. From Rodney King beating in 1991 through the O.J. Simpson trial, the rift has widened the threatening racial discrimination.
The reasons for the gap are complex and deep. According to the experts, it is based on the nation’s painful racial history. The current practice of racial profiling, where skin color is a criterion to pull over a driver is ongoing today. For instance, when Reggie Miller, who is Black, had been ordered to pull over by a Nashville police officer for driving with expired tags, had suffered chronic back problems as a result of the beating. It was about 8:40 p.m. when he was shot on his chest and ordered him to lie face down on the ground. Within couple of minutes the officer, who didn’t have a chance to identify himself, called for backup. Suddenly Miller found himself as a cushion using his body from five police officers that had surrounded him. Miller also recalls that the officers gouge his eyes and choke him. This 1992 incident of Miller made him suffer a permanent back problem due to the beating and the shot he encountered.
Police officers have no right by any means to harass a person. Otherwise, they are more considered as criminal because of such inhumane acts. In general, brutality is a form of punishment. Police officers are not supposed to punish but are expected to protect and serve. However, they seemed to expose brutality as punishment when they beat up Adolph Archie in March of 1992. Archie was shot by a police officer and the police officer did not even bother to rush him to the hospital. Instead, they waited in the parking lot until they found out that their injured colleague had died. Then the officers took Archie in the hospital while beating him dead. Unfortunately, Archie only breathe for 12 hours and was diagnosed with two skull fractures, a broken larynx, fractures of the cheekbones, bleeding testicles, teeth had been kicked in, and his entire body was exposed to blunt trauma. Brutality is an inhuman or savage form of cruelty. Police officers need not use too much force to stop a suspect.
Police brutality is an important topic to discuss because it deals with the life of a person, the misconduct of some police officers, the burden it caused and the lesson that everyone should get from it. Police officers must realize they were not given their badge to show that they are one’s to be afraid of but to keep the peace and order of the community. They have the right to discipline a suspect which will depend on the physical condition of the latter. Police need not use the force if the suspect is already injured because it may only lead to a more tragic situation. In several cases, people died after being restrained by police officers. Police brutality does not cause anything positive. It only leads to racism, disrespect among people, loss of respect and confidence for the police and it makes citizens feel less safe. Not a single act did brutality explicit an advantage to the people.
The possible solution to police brutality is to include in their training new techniques in handling suspects and criminals geared towards the demand for public policies that promote social and racial justice. Furthermore, police officers should receive antiracism and diversity training as a part of their education in police academies. Police officers must learn to conduct themselves in multiethnic and multicultural communities. To fund this solution, everyone must cooperate by respecting the police officers in our community and the law of United States of America. Without the cooperation of everyone, the prevailing widespread of police brutality will continue to grow.
The people should give a serious thought of what they are doing in order to avoid violence. Let’s just think about the victims of violence and how thousands of people die every year because of brutality. Let’s not make one of our families and our next generations become a victim of these humiliating, devastating and inhumane acts of the police. We, as a nation, need concerted effort in protest for all the victims whose lives have been stolen and sacrifice. The goal must be nothing short of creating a just, humane, peaceful and less violent society. If there is no justice, there will be no peace in the United States.
The widespread of police brutality has widened all over the world. The nation must join together to eliminate repression, unjust and abusive treatment by the police in order to have a more peaceful and harmonious nation. To terminate police brutality means calling for justice for our brothers and sisters whose lives have been stolen. In addition, this will give time for the government to open their eyes for the families of those who are unjustly locked down behind prison walls. It will allow balance of justice between the government officials and the people regardless of racial status. Our world would be a better place to live in because it lessens violence, death rate, and increases the confidence and harmony between the police and the community. Moreover, the absence of such brutality will terminate arrest and harassment based on racial origin.
“Activists Protest Against Police Brutality in LA,” MAS magazine, (August 16, 2000), 2 pages.
“Call for a National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation, http://www.mojo.calyx.net/~refuse/ndp/071400oct22.html,
October 22, 2000.
“DNC Activists Protest Cop Brutality,” MAS magazine, (August 16, 2000), 2 pages.
“NYPD’s Bloody Month of August 1999, http://www.mojo.calyx.net/~refuse/ndp/090699ndpnyc.html,
September 6, 1999.
Anderson, Kelly, Police Brutality, San Diego California, Kelly Anderson, 1995.
Bender, David, Policing the Police, San Diego California, David Bender, 1995.
Charles, Nick, “Criminally Suspect,” SIRS, (September 1995), 4 pages.
Conroy, John, Unspeakable Act, Ordinary People, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2000.
Fitzgerald, Terence, Police in Society, New York, Terence Fitzgerald, 2000.
Meeks, Kenneth, Driving While Black, New York, Kenneth Meek, 2000.
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Steinhorn, Leonard, By the Color of our Skin, New York, Leonard Steinhorn, 1999.
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