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Are they Peace Keepers of Law Enforcers?

Police officers in the United States of America were once seen as peacekeepers by members of society. However, this image has deteriorated over time, and the world now feels they are more of a law enforcement agency than peacekeepers. Nonetheless, whether it is maintaining harmony or enforcing the law, the department must act as one of coordinated as well as humane officers. This is not the case since nearly all police departments in the United States are focused on generating money for their own cities and the government as a whole. It is this condition of merit that has made more and more officers looking forward to having as much arrest as possible most of which are unnecessary. The outcome of this baseless arrests has been tension between the law enforces and the members of the community. The pressure led to an increase in violence in both the cities along with the states. As a result, the police officer methods of handling individual have been slowly becoming aggressive over time. The aggressiveness brought around unnecessary brutality of the police for the past two decades.

Police Brutality

The presence, as well as the rise of police brutality, has been a significant problem even if as the society continues to grow. Furthermore, the issue that emerges from the unlawful aggressive exercise if the police powers have been a continuous reality for all the people who belong to a disfavored sexual orientation, class as well as race (Bonilla, Yarimar, and Jonathan Rosa 13). The police seem to have forgotten whom they are serving. The brutality against the members of the public has to be stopped to remind the cops whom exactly they are supposed to serve. It is imperative for everyone to enjoy their right, which means that even if a person is a criminal and they are part of the public they have given rights basing on the civil laws. Because of this fact that the resolution of police brutality is imminent since brutality had been a significant concern to the public.

It is not only in the USA but also in almost all nations over the world there are laws, which protect the citizens from police brutality. It has been seen that under the said laws brutality by the police is considered as a serious offense, which must be investigated by the district attorneys. However, the painful truth is that despite all these laws covering brutality from the law enforces, many of the cases instigated by the members of the public against the police on their aggressive use of force are not investigated (Engel, Robin S., and Kristin Swartz 135). According to research, it has been found out most of the times the offices of the attorney argue out that the police have the authority to use force when it is deemed necessary therefore most often it becomes hard or somewhat difficult to prove that the law enforcer used excessive force or was brutal to the citizens. It has been a requirement for the police uniforms to have body cameras, which record all the interaction with the civilians. The recordings of these cameras have proven useful later in case there is need of an investigation against any officer of the law.

Origin of Police Brutality

Brutality from the police has a long history in the United States of America. It roots back to the early days of policing where there was evidence of the acts of mass brutality. All these cases the poor laborers were always the victims. The cases began from the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 to all the strike, which followed not forgetting the Ludlow massacre of 1914 where more than one hundred men were citizens were gunned down by the National Guard. Later after the First World War, police were seen brutality beating poor labors that were fighting for better working conditions. From 1920 all through to 1960, there were events such as the Prohibitions, the rise of the civil rights movement by activist led by Martin Luther King, the Vietnam War in this entire event higher cases of excessive use of force by the police were experienced. During the civil rights movement members of the protests were brutally beaten by the police (Harris, Fredrick 34).

Causes of Police Brutality

Sociological Cause

By now, we are asking ourselves what causes police brutality. The police are members of the law enforcement community who are supposed to maintain law and order in our cities and states but instead they end up breaking the law in the name of fighting for it. There are only three reasons, which can explain why police engage in such aggressive acts, which harm the citizens. The cause may be psychological, sociological, or organizational. Sociologically these law enforcers become brutal because of the social status of the person (Bonilla, Yarimar, and Jonathan Rosa 15). It became more unlikely for a police officer to be aggressive to a member of a higher social class as compared to their counterparts. More so if a low-status individual has been accused by a wealthy person in the society, the police will tend to be brutal to the victim.

Psychological Cause

Psychologically, on the other hand, the officers are basing on stereotypic information or knowledge about a given community, group of people or race and naturally act aggressively towards individuals from such races. A higher cause of the brutality from the police is attributed to this reason. The law enforces from distinct education have shown different signs of action they take. Those who receive less education have been proved to be more aggressive with too much physical contact with the victim. The race has been a contributing factor also since African American officers have been shown to be patrol more aggressively, make more arrest by using deadly force (Engel, Robin S., and Kristin Swartz 137). Psychologically the level of experience of the office is a significant factor. Research has it that new graduate into the job was more aggressive as compared to their experience counterparts.

Organizational Cause

The organizational cause, on the other hand, is based on the mean behavior of the officer who has the desire of doing thing by the books. Most of the officers who are following the laws, regulations, and policies may find themselves committing crimes since they find it necessary based on their procedures. For instance, this type of law enforcers may take brutal action against anyone who shows disrespect to the authority of the police. However, they use force basing on legalistic reasons but find themselves using more force than is necessary. When the officer follows the books, it makes it hard for the police to be prosecuted for misconduct.

Types of Police Misconduct

There are various types of police misconduct. From the early days of policing to current days, most of the brutality methods have been the same. Nevertheless, with the innovation of technology, some of the things have undergone a transformation. In the early 20th century, offices used fists and batons, but in the 21st century, they are using Tasers as well as pepper spray to assault the member of the public. Some of the police misconduct method includes the excessive and aggressive use of force, false arrests, sexual assault, failure of a law enforcer to intervene, and malicious prosecution (FindLaw).

Police Brutality in USA

Statistics show that police brutality or generally misconduct is on the rise. For instance, in 2010 approximately 4861 cases of police brutality and misconduct were reported (Packman, David). About 23.8 percent of the total reports were excessive use of force while 57 percent were based on physical abuse. All these cases involved an astonishing 6613 sworn in police officers. The cases had more than 6626 different victims with a year high of 247 fatalities (Packman, David). The aggressiveness and excessive use of force is not just a painful experience to the typical citizen, but it has proven to be costly to the nation as a whole. In the year the national lost $ 346 212 800 as a recommendation and civil judgments.

Research has it that more incidents of police brutality are experienced in the state of Louisiana as compared to other states in the USA with New Orleans on the front line regarding misconduct by the law enforcers (Packman, David). It has been proven that city police have been more aggressive because it is perceived that there is more violence in the cities as opposed to the county departments. California is among the states well known for police brutality with the L.A.P.D being marked because of its notoriety regarding the use of excessive force. The first prosecution of police officers occurred in the case of Rodney King, which was an incident that opened the highlight on the police departments as well as the total amount of force instigated against the public.

Rodney King Case

Rodney King was just one of the incident that cracked open the issue of police brutality. He was born in 1965 in Sacramento, California. He was in trouble with the law almost all the time. In 1991, Rodney King was pursued by a police car chase. However, when the police caught up with him, they pulled King out of the vehicle and brutally beat him with their baton (Rodney Glen King). Luckily, there was a local witness, George Holliday, who got the footage of the entire incident. The officers in the event included Stacey Koon, Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind and Theodore Briseno. The law enforcers were arraigned in court, were prosecuted and charged with criminal offenses which comprised of assault and excessive use of force. Later controversially, they were all acquitted of all charges. The outcome led to a series riot outbreak in 1992 because members of the minority were angry at the ruling of the court on the trials.

The riots were to be put under control by the L.A.P.D, but unfortunately, more than 53 people ended up dead due to more brutality from the police while trying to bring the riot under control. The riot was a calamity because more than 2100 individuals were injured while 7000 fired occurred causing a property damage worth $ I013824. Later in 2012, Rodney King was found dead, and it was perceived that one of the police he put in trouble had ordered a hit on him (Rodney Glen King). However, the situation has remained a mystery. Even though Rodney King incident will be documented in history, books as an example of police misconduct it cannot be used to stop or prevent other cases of brutality from happening.

Presently police brutality is still a rising issue with more people being bitten by police dogs or Tasered for no specific reason (Rucke, Katie). It is imperative for some action to be taken so that such cases must be mitigated. The office has to understand they are there to serve the people of the USA by ensuring their safety. The officers are not supposed to be a threat to security and safety, more so police have to maintain peace and only make arrests only when necessary.

Conclusion

In conclusion, police brutality in the USA seems to be a major issue in low income and populated areas. The police are using the gangs in the region to harass citizens forcibly. Police misconduct has been seen in areas with the higher crime rate. In such situations, the officers perceive that their lives are in danger, which makes them use excessive force as a way of self-defense. Police brutality is a criminal offense, and all the officers who take part in this kind of misconduct have to be prosecuted. However, in some cases, an office may be forced to use lethal force to contain the suspect. Such accounts are acceptable but in other cases of ignorance and unlawful use of police force some action have to be taken to protect the civil right of all people who happen to be victims of police cruelty.

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Work Cited

Bonilla, Yarimar, and Jonathan Rosa. "# Ferguson: Digital protest, hashtag ethnography, and the racial politics of social media in the United States." American Ethnologist 42.1 (2015): 4-17. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/amet.12112/full/

Chaney, Cassandra, and Ray V. Robertson. "Racism and police brutality in America." Journal of African American Studies 17.4 (2013): 480-505.

Engel, Robin S., and Kristin Swartz. "Race, crime, and policing." The Oxford handbook of ethnicity, crime, and immigration (2013). 1-661

FindLaw. “Police Misconduct and Civil Rights.” Retrieved on November 26, 2017 from http://civilrights.findlaw.com/civil-rights-overview/police-misconduct-and-civil-rights.html

Harris, Fredrick C. "The next civil rights movement?." Dissent 62.3 (2015): 34-40. Retrieved on November 26, 2017 from https://muse.jhu.edu/article/585788/summary

Packman, David. "NPMSRP police misconduct statistical report: Draft." PoliceMisconductnet. ." Retrieved on September 9 (2010): 2013. Retrieved on November 26, 2017 from https://www.policemisconduct.net/2010-npmsrp-police-misconduct-statistical-report/

Rodney Glen King. Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2015. Retrieved on November 26, 2017 from https://www.biography.com/people/rodney-king-9542141

Rucke, Katie. "US Police Have Killed Over 5,000 Civilians Since 9/11." US Police Have Killed Over 5,000 Civilians Since 9/11. N.p., 18 Nov. 2013. Retrieved on November 26, 2017 from http://www.mintpressnews.com/us-police-murdered-5000-innocent-civilians-since-911/172029/

August 31, 2021

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