Sources of Police Abuse in the United States

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The US Criminal Justice Administration has faced numerous obstacles, some of which include technological advancements, organizational changes, and many others. (Pattavina, 2004). Although these issues have also improved the system's functionality, they have to some degree led to criminal government failure. Similar to how some effects came along with numerous sector adjustments (Ascher-Svanum, Nyhuis, Faries, Ball, & Kinon, 2010). Numerous incidents have occurred in the criminal justice system, but police abuse of American citizens will receive special attention. Therefore, the primary concern of this paper will not only examine the causes of police violence that has taken place in the US but also critically try to look at the actions that need much concentration to reduce if not to solve these challenges or activities.

The US police departments have been pointed over decades for its excessive use of force when handling her citizens. The Los Angeles riot in 1992, which engineered several law reforms was the worst ever experienced(Cooper & Fullilove, 2016). There have had few cases of same instances that have fueled debates in recent years across nations like in 2014 after the death of Eric Garner on Staten Island(Cooper & Fullilove, 2016). Reports are showing lack of adequate training among officers especially those dealing with mentally ill people as demonstrated by Washington Post reports of 2015. After such instances, there was aneed to call for a joint event aimed at driving the nation toward theorientation of “police culture” between 2014 and 2016 that comprised of police officials, some scholars, and politicians.

The high rate of racism in America has been a catalyst towards police-civilian abuse. Studies show that young black men are almost ten times at risk of being killed by police officers(Brunson, 2007). Some are arrested simply for less crucial offenses. Example of those who suffered such mistreats is Tamir Rice for merely playing with a toy gun and was black and Michael Brown (Cooper & Fullilove, 2016). This action has raised much fear and attention in the US especially among the black Americans(Brunson, 2007). However, one should not run to a conclusion always that the police are being against the blacks, but maybe because they do commit crimes that could lead to these undertakings by the police, or are armed to fight back thepolice.

The great migration of 1916-1970 contributed much towards brutality between Americans and the police. The World War II made most people move especially from thesouth;increased population caused an increase in hostility that escalated the crimes among civilians(Williams, 2001). As a way to control crimes, it forced to impose restrictions on movement (segregation)to restore safety. There were manycases of abuse reported including the sexual assaults against women(Williams, 2001).

There is little confidence in enforcing the law in the US as shown by some surveys. As a result, it has left majority to believe police need to use a lot of force on them, especially the suspects(McGregor, 2016). There are weak responses among people in case of any instance happening against someone’s right due to divisions among Americans. Similarly, the police departments in the US do not hold some officers accountable for their wrongdoings; this has created more chances for their misbehavior(McGregor, 2016). The major influence for continuous transgressions among the police units is because of mistrust among different communities as reported by social scientists.

American police enter the carrier with various reasons that cause many variations in handling different situations. Most male officers usually come to policing with the idea of enforcing the law(Gill, Weisburd, Telep, Vitter, & Bennett, 2014). As a result, they see theuse of force as the only solution to achieve such objectives(Adams et al., 1999). On the other hand, most female officers enter the job aiming to help solve community problems. Similarly, the 2002 findings by National Center for Women & Policing (NCWP) show that male officers use excessive force compared to female corp. The studies showthat female officer usually impresses communication and also empathy whenever they interact with the community(Gill et al., 2014).

Various doctrines like federalism; discretion and burden have been explanations for the persistent police misconduct(Panwala, 2002). Through traditional system in themanagement of police,some training haslinkage to the increased police brutality; this has in most cases discouraged prosecution of any misconduct among the police(Panwala, 2002). Also, there are political systems in the US that seem to respond more rapidly to police than what it does to the residents. As a result, without this substantial change in society, the control of this police culture may go beyond control in future.

The passing of some acts like the Volstead Act haslong-termadverse effects on police practices. The effect of these laws caused crime to increase rapidly(KANIA & MACKEY, 1977). By early 1930s, the issue had gone up much, thus forcing theformation of some organs to investigate into the matter. The reports later showed that the use of physical brutality and other cruel means to handle people were on the increase(KANIA & MACKEY, 1977).Also, there is police brutality associatedwith different religions and to some extent; some groups are viewed by police to just deserve punishment, especially those from powerless groups like poor or minorities.

There is less tightness of law enforcement in the US presenting many challenges towards handling suspects(Miller, Azrael, & Hemenway, 2002). Policies like “community policing” have been put across to ensure elimination of this situation but it has been less successful. The failure is because of high homicide rate in the US compared to other developed countries with a large number of guns among the civilians(Miller et al., 2002). These are some of the incidences that are making police to act against the law to defend their life from armed citizens. According to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) records of 2013, approximately fifty thousand officers sustained injuries from thecivilian attack.

Solutions to Police Abuse in the United States

Implementation made to use less lethal weapons in handling the criminals by police has reduced some cases of major injuries as earlier reported(MacDonald, Kaminski, & Smith, 2009). Police are not investigated much for the cases of abuse of power and use of force in handling criminals. The findings show that there is ameasurable drop in the event of injuries by 25 percent to 62 percent after the adoption of the tactic(MacDonald et al., 2009).Ithas shown considerable efforts in the police departments to cut on many complaints pointed toward it. Therefore, much should be expected in future to ensure cases caused by deadlyweapons are minimal.

Comprehensivetraining of police officers can be an effective method to reduce the increased injustices in Americans(Richardson-Foster, Stanley, Miller, & Thomson, 2012). The training will strengthen community relations and reduce prolonged widening of nation’s division. The method may not be much practical, but it makes a good start towards achieving some objectives. Such training should not aim at equipping police with logistics only, but also to teach them their roles in society. Similarly, police commanders strive for more dollars. Thus, it makes these officers find an alternative way to get these resources hence anabuse of power.

The change in the gender ratio may play asubstantial role in changing police attitudes to handling civilians. The number of female officers compared to their male counterpart is not well distributed with about 12 percent of the femalein 2013 according to findings by Bureau of Justice. The aim, therefore, should to have anequal proportion of male and female in the policing departments; this will enable to cut on the increased abuses currently experienced(Martin, 1999). However, senior officers in these departments do not see the initiative as a solution that will reduce reports of police abuse, hence prefer recruiting more male to female. There is a reduction in some outcomes especially domestic violence between police and Americans people whenever there is a womanhired. The bias is not only during recruitment but also extended to thepolice academy and during trainingof these officers(Martin, 1999).

The lawmakers in the US should come up with measures that aim at eliminating racism and mechanisms of preventing it from happening(Gibbons, 2006). The respective human right bodies should criticize thegovernment for the failure to condemn racist speech and another acting that could worsen the situation. It is upon the government to abolish continuous cases of violence like what happened at Charlottesville. The US government failed to condemn the action and left many injured. Therefore, the government should ensure such incidents are not repeated and develop mechanisms that will makeearlierdetection of future happening.

The Civil Right Movement is the primary target for people to fight for justice and equality(The Hebrew Press, 1972). Street march has confronted numerous cases of police abuse, anexample being the Birmingham campaigns that happened from 1963-1964. Through the rapid brutality cases especially on media, it sparked outrage that made these movements to increase rapidly. The outcome was the formation of the Black Panther Party (BPP) that confronted police departments against mistreating the blacks. The BPP also escalated the violence as the FBI initiated more chaos among thenationalist group. Many killed were leaders of BPP and some assassinated at the end like Mark Clark when police raided Chicago(The Hebrew Press, 1972). Right Movement usually raises the alarm for people to work as a team to stop the wrongdoings.

The investigation departments for police officers should be held accountable and show transparency in their actions without any discrimination. The bias examination of criminalsis the action that should be done away with because it leaves the criminals tocommit crimes farther and punishes the innocent people(Hassell & Archbold, 2010). Police abuse cases are usually leftin the hands of Internal Police Commissions that is less accountable and work in favor of the officers. They defend police personnel that they acted by the law. In astudy at Chicago in 2007, only 0.19 percent of police-related cases filed in 2002 weresuccessfully ruled(Hassell & Archbold, 2010).

The police body camera has played a significant role in the reduction of poor handling of civilians by police in the US. It has also improved police and citizen’s interaction behaviors(White, 2014). In case of bad acting among the police, investigations are done in line with the body cameras to examine the main reasons that drove the cops into the act. The initiative has drastically reduced the cases where American peoples were mishandled and could not report the instances because of lack of the evidence (White, 2014).


Police abuse in the US has been a trending action for many past years where the police have in many cases seen theuse of extreme force the solution in dealing with those involved in crimes. Although there are many ways to be implemented in solving this situation among people, the senior officers in some cases have been reluctant to borrow such ideas. As a result of this, the country has experienced continuous and repeated cases now and then. Therefore, it will be very beneficial in case the actions that aim to achieve better outcomes need implementation in case the situation arises.


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July 15, 2023

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