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Police brutality has plagued American minority communities in both the past and the present years of American history. The countless acts of aggression, brutal force, and unjust treatment towards African Americans has been an issue for quite some time and seems to reoccur on occasion throughout history. Racial discrimination between African Americans and the criminal justice system is creating a wall of tension that is tearing the nation into two. The unnecessary roughness carried out by men of justice has led to the loss of valued family and friends and the tensions to rise within the nation.
A pattern of violence and brutal force has begun to appear with blacks as the center of attention.
At the mercy of the justice system, African Americans are fighting to break the pattern of discriminative and derogatory treatment towards their people and begin the age of equal and fair rights amongst all Americans. Police brutality is the deliberate use of excessive force during law enforcement activities that usually ends in the mistreatment or abuse of citizens ( ).
For the African American community this is an issue that is known all too well. Blacks have suffered at the constant oppression from the justice system and those who swore to protect and serve them from the beginning of time. In the 1960s the Civil Rights movement began the fight for African Americans to receive full citizenship rights as Americans and end the constant oppression of their people (). Leaders of the black community took a stand, holding peaceful protests and creating organizations that stood for the rights of African Americans.
However the rebellion of African Americans caused the justice system to retaliate in more aggressive ways. Using excessive force to disrupt protests and keep blacks from fighting for their rights is where police brutality was born ( ). No matter how brutal the punishment or the treatment received from police officials, black communities stayed committed to the cause and could not be silenced. The March from Selma to the state capitol in Montgomery is a prime example of excessive force used in unnecessary times. Leaders and supports of the civil rights movement planned a peaceful march from Selma to Montgomery where they were unfortunately met by mounted police, who used tear gas and clubs to attack unarmed African Americans (). The event sparked a fire in many Americans to join the fight against violence towards blacks and their mistreatment by police force. Leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., who was also a part of the march to Montgomery, challenged the justice system by promoting more protest for the African American freedom struggle ().
Other races also joined in the fight to show their support for the black community. It would seem that an issue that was tearing apart a nation was also bringing together a nation to support American citizens. Over time African Americans were able to make some major accomplishments, gaining the equal rights to vote and ending segregation, but unfortunately not the oppression of the African American community. In times of crisis, the African American community has suffered from the racial stereotypes that has labeled them as the lower and hostile race of America (). Racial profiling has played a major role in the spark that ignites the violence between blacks and police officials. Although segregation is long gone, the oppression of African Americans continue to grow and become worse over the years. Police officials are using the power of the justice system to target African Americans and commit countless acts of violence against their race. Offices are using their powers aggressively to discriminate against the African American race (J).
In the late 1960s, police brutality against African Americans began to reach a height of aggression that would soon divide a nation in two. Rodney King, an African American male, was brutally beaten by police officers after being apprehended and the event was videotaped and broadcasted to the nation (). The incident sparked a fire in the nation becoming a symbol of racial tension and protestant movement. Officers involved and charged in the incident were unfortunately acquitted of all charges, a decision that did not suit the African American race within the nation. The incident sparked riots in the streets of L.A, causing many too be injured and even worse death (). Police officials used aggressive force, spraying protestors with water hoses, beating them with clubs, and many other over excessive tactics (). The black community took a major loss but also a major gain by taking a stand against the oppression of their race. Showing the justice system that their voices could not be silenced no matter how hard they were beaten. Since then, many leaders have risen to the occasion in the fight for the civil rights of the black community.
Al Sharpton, both Baptist minister and civil rights activists, has defied the structure of power and given a powerful hand in the fight for equal rights. Sharpton has headed many rallies and protests to fight for the justice of blacks mistreated by the justice system (). Such as the case of Trayvon Martin, where an unarmed teenage boy was shot by his neighbor on his way home from the store. George Zimmerman, the man accounted for the death, was acquitted of the charges and found not guilty (). This verdict would cause Al Sharpton to head several rallies and protests in pursuit of justice for Trayvon ( ). He argued the verdict, calling it an atrocity, and demanding that there was mishandling of the shooting (1). Sharpton continued to go against the system and show continuous effort in the fight for black civil rights. Al Sharpton served as an inspiration to many, showing them how to combat the justice system.
The many protests and rallies have led to the creation of many support groups that are willing to fight for the African American community and their cause. Activists groups such as Black Lives Matter have begun to bring more attention to the issue at hand and seek justice for their community. Black lives matters is an international activist’s movement that protests and rallies against violence towards black people. The organization originated in the black community and began to protest the killings of African Americans by law enforcement (). Black Lives Matter is nationally recognized for the street demonstrations after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Shooting of Trayvon Martin (). The organization brought the eyes and attention of people from all around the world to witness the brutal beating and killing of the black community. Supporter’s around the world join together to aid the fight for social equality in the African American community.
The organization continues to demonstrate against the killing of African Americans by law enforcement, growing their numbers at an enormous rate (). From a social media hashtag to a national organization, Black Lives Matter has aided in the fight for justice and pushed progress much further. The group has brought the issue from the dark and into the light to show non-believers that the oppression never ended, it only has gotten worse. National recognition of police brutality within black communities has created a tension barrier within the nation. The battle between races has come to a head that will soon pop. A division between minority races and the justice system has caused reckless and excessive actions that have caused a ripple through the nation ). Riots and protests within African American communities targeted by police brutality have begun to overtake the nation ().
The Baltimore riots, which occurred after the death of Freddie Gray, who died from law enforcement related injuries, were the violent actions of overwhelmed victims in black community’s (). The constant oppression against blacks builds tension that eventually causes for one to react. African Americans demand respect and fair justice, which is almost embeddable when the race is constantly put down and frowned upon (). More and more African Americans are losing their lives due to the over aggressive manner in which they are dealt with by law enforcement. The negatives however can also be turned into positives. The loss suffered by the black community did not go unnoticed or unsupported by certain leaders of the world. President Obama used his powers to find justice for those who were wronged. He demanded new and improved policies which focused more on the safety of black civilians against law enforcement Q.
President Obama enforced that law enforcement must wear body cameras while on duty to record all events that occur (). Obama took to the press to stress the importance of Black Lives Matter and seeking justice for those wronged by the ones sworn to protect them (1). Having the support of the president allowed for the black community to further make stepping stones to the path of their civil freedom. The president never hesitated to discuss the issue whenever he made a national address to the nation. Obama used his power of authority for the better, to make a change and address the issue of the black community receiving full civil rights in America. Bernie Sanders, another political activist, has been a substantial help in the fight for African American civil rights since the civil rights era. Sanders build and run his campaign on the importance of equality and the fair treatment of all Americans (Broadwater, 2). Sanders have several platforms that if elected president would aid the efforts of the civil rights movement. Sanders speak of ending over policing in African American communities as well as demilitarizing the police force (). His strategies prove to be in the best interest of the black community and protecting their rights as an American. Sanders see the issue at hand and want to make a difference, giving the African American community a voice to fight for.
Sanders want to diversify the justice system and show that the black community is just as equal as all other racial communities residing in the nation (). He has actively involved himself within the civil rights community aiding in protest and rallies that discouraged violence against African Americans (). Sanders minor stepping stones have opened the door for the civil rights community and further progress the prerogative of blacks to ensure their civil equality. However the more support for the cause the more animosity that is being built up in the black community. With more and more attention being brought to the issue of African Americans and their civil freedom, police brutality has alarmingly increased through much of the nation. Increasing amount of cases reported with African American related deaths have begun to be the topic of discussion.
In the most recent years many cases of excessive force being used against unarmed African Americans have gone unnoticed or have been hidden away from the public (). There are cases involving African Americans or black communities that don’t recall the correct events that occurred. In the case of Sandra Bland who was found hanging in her jail cell, there are questionable factors or evidence not present that makes the case seem all too unreal (). At first glance the death was ruled a suicide], however that was hard for many to believe giving who Sandra was and what she supported. Sandra Bland was an active civil rights member who participated and started many protests and rallies to fight for the black community’s American civil rights. Many believe that Sandra was arrested and killed due to this fact (_). Civil rights groups and leaders took a stand to fight for justice for Sandra Bland and demanded that her case be reopened and retried. Sandra Bland’s death was another eye opening incident to remind black communities that the issue has yet to leave but still lingers over their heads. Police brutality has a reoccurrence through history that has become an apparent pattern. The mistreatment and targeting of minority communities has caused a rift tearing apart a once united nation. The minority death count is rising at an alarming rate and something has to happen to put it to an end. The continuing oppression of minority groups can only cause further hostile complications to occur that won’t have a happy ending
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