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The fight against police brutality

When it comes to criminal brutality, there is no unanimity in the United States of America. There have been years and decades of criminal brutality against minorities. It has gotten worse in recent years. Every month, it appears that a police officer kills an innocent black man. It is the responsibility of the police to represent and protect the city. The question is, how do we combat police violence against African Americans? Black Lives Matter is a political movement (BLM). This organization is all about the so-called great country. In almost every major city there are peaceful protest when an officer kills a black. They protest because they want the killings to stop and fairness to the justice system to be upheld. They want the racist cops off the streets and punished by the law. Some people view Black Lives Matter as a hate group while others see them as a group who want a change in the judicial system. The majority of the officers who commit the crimes don’t get the time. Approximately over a dozen of minorities have been killed by police. These officers can be violating these victims human and civil rights.

Most people believe that these officers are never held accountable for their actions. To fix the issue of accountability, it needs to start at the federal level. There is a department in place called the Department of Justice, but it seems that they are not doing their job. There is need to establish a new department at the federal level that specializes in situations of local police and federal misconduct. By implementing this new department, it will help the country with equal rights and fairness. This department will uphold the accountability of police misconduct. City and state police have a tough job at hand, each day they leave home from their families it’s a chance that they may not make back. It is the same for everyone when a person leaves their home, he or she doesn’t know how the day will end. When the police are out on their duty and find someone breaking the law, there is protocol they should follow in handling such citizens. Some handlings end with fatalities that could be prevented.

Eric Gardner, a local New Yorker, had an altercation with the police that ended fatally. Some officers approached Eric, an African-American male and a big guy for selling loose cigarettes. The encounter ended with Eric dead from choking and the officers were not held accountable for their actions. In the case of Eric Gardner, a few things were violated that has went unnoticed. The use of excessive force was implied when it wasn’t necessary. The point I this case is to show how an issue as small as selling loose cigarettes can become a deadly encounter in the hands of the police. As U.S. Attorney General from 2009-2015, Erick Holder’s justice department has charged over 400 law officers with different violations of constitutional rights in the past years. The occasional inquiries into police shootings and killings have often left the activists disappointed for instance when the department resolved in March that the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson did not violate federal law (Weichselbaum). The Department of Justice is not holding the officer accountable. So, by having another department at the federal level will specialize in only police misconduct and fairness of the judicial system.

The Department of Justice law for police misconduct under the “Police Misconduct Provision” states that “this law makes it unlawful for State or local law enforcement officers to engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives persons of rights protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.” It covers conducts like discriminatory harassment, coercive sexual conduct, false arrests, excessive force, and wrongful stops, searches or arrests. To be covered by the law, the misconduct should constitute a "pattern or practice," it might not just be an isolated case (Department of Justice). There are two different scenarios, a black man’s encounter with a police officer and a white man’s encounter with an officer. In Ferguson, Missouri a black male named Michael Brown encounter with the police ended deadly. Michael allegedly robbed a convenient. Michael and a friend were walking home from a convenient store when an officer approached them with his car. The officer then claimed that he tussled with Michael and that he reached for his gun. The officer shot Michael several times and killing him. On the other hand, there is Dylann Roof a white male of Charleston, South Carolina. Dylann went inside a black church and killed nine black people. When the officers finally apprehended Dylann they put him in cuff in hauled him to jail. Dylann committed a murder crime, but the officers’ behavior towards blacks shows discrimination.

The law for misconduct should not constitute a pattern or practice. The law should not be that way at all; it should only take one time for a person to be mistreated by any government enforcement officers. Officers will take advantage of a situation like this because it may not happen all the time in that city or neighborhood. I feel that it shouldn’t happen at all. This law tells me that there must be multiple encounters of police misconduct before they intervene or prosecute an officer. The program “Freedom of Injustice” (FOI) that I will present to the “States Representative,” will include holding all law enforcers to any police misconduct, illegal search and seizure policy, false arrest, harassment, discrimination and fraudulent documentation. It will be a start to correct the law enforcement department and to gain the community trust.

Another way we can change the way law enforcement behave inappropriately is by having a Cop Watch. In Berkley, California has a program exactly like this. Berkley police commission states, “cop watch is a community organization whose stated purpose is "to reduce police harassment and brutality," and "to uphold Berkeley's tradition of tolerance and diversity." Its principal activities include monitoring police conduct by personal observation, recording and publicizing cases of abuse and harassment, and working with Berkeley's civilian review board” (ACLU). Most police may argue that it's invading their privacy. It should keep them in place when they think of any wrongdoing. It's just like having a neighborhood watcher, but you are watching the police. The responsibility of the cop watcher is, document what you’ve witness via video or a written statement. Take officer name, badge number, vehicle number, and license plates are also needed. There will be a prepared form for the watcher to fill out the information. The watcher has the right to send video to local news if they like. The point of sending this video is to humiliate the department who the officer work for. It could be a wake-up call for officers who think they can get away with misconduct. The department has a choice to reprimand or tighten up on training.

Black Lives Matter is a group who protest police brutality and injustice. Ever since BLM was established, shortly after police officers are using the acronym “BLM,” Blue Live Matters. I guess they feel their life is more important than anyone else’s. I argue all lives matters, and everyone should be treated equally. The group believes police mistreat blacks than any other minority groups. Black Lives Matter is not a hate group. This group focus on anything led to misconduct of a black person due to police encounters. From the article “Black Lives Matters is not a Hate group states, “many of its harshest critics claim that Black Lives Matter’s very name is anti-white, hence the oft-repeated rejoinder all lives matter.” This notion misses the point entirely. Black lives matter since blacks have been marginalized throughout our country’s history. White lives have always mattered more in our society. As BLM states, the movement represents “the mere proposition that black lives also matter” (Cohen). Also, Cohen states that “Black Lives Matter is not a hate group. However, the perception that it is racist exemplifies the issue. The entire society still does not accept that racial injustice is still pervasive and regrettably, the fact that whites tend to view race as a zero-sum game may hinder progress.” Many individuals who are not blacks believes this group is racist because they are always marching and protests when a white officer harms or kills a black person. It's not only when that happens it also occurs when the officer doesn't get convicted of the crime. There exist several means through which we can fight against police misconduct, marching and protesting can help the cause.

Freedom of Injustice is the department that I will like to implement into our government. I will first send off a petition via email and mail to everyone in the state where I reside. Once I receive one million signatures, I will present the petition to the State Representative. The Representative will hear my case of why we need a change to the justice system. Then the Representative will present this to the Congress too if it can be implied to the judicial system.

The next step is to plan how FOI will be funded. Taxes raised on candy will support FOI. It can be called the “Candy Tax.” It will help both dental hygiene and supporting the department. It's a win-win situation. The department will be employed by the people of your peers. I will place regular people as employees who has a college degree in criminal justice. No law degree is necessary to work for this department. It’s a possibility that my petition may get denied due to the fact of what the government has in place as of now. The government is enforcing all local state police to wear body cameras. The Department of Justice that upholds police misconduct. They will argue that police are wearing body cameras, but I will still like this FOI to be in place. I will like this in place because the DOJ only penalize when there is a pattern of behavior with the police in that area. FOI will look past that because that is a bunch of bolognas. FOI will investigate any mishap should the need arise.

Funding the department may not be an easy task because I will have to draw up a plan of the Candy Tax. A lot will affect the Candy Tax. Sugar, chocolate, salt, peanut, and any company who has ingredients in the candy. This such thing will cause a ripple effect. Everything must be taken to consideration. There will be a battle with candy companies because their taxes will increase. Their sales may fall. They may have to take some brands off the shelves, and stocks will decrease. Other companies that produce sugar, salt, and peanuts that go in the candy will take a big hit too. All of this will have to be taken into consideration by the Congress. If this proposal gets accepted by all parties, it will become a Bill. It will help fund the program, and it may save many lives from police misconduct.

Police misconduct needs to be under control. The entire police force needs revamping and if it doesn’t change our great nation can fall or maybe have another Civil War. The government already have policies in place for civil rights which some officers violate. Weichselbaum of TIME stated, “the Obama administration has ratcheted up its oversight of state and local law-enforcement agencies, using a 21-year-old law to impose reforms on police forces that show a pattern of civil rights violations.” Apparently, these policies need to be changed because there not working. FOI Program will cover all aspect from police misconduct to breaches of civil rights and human rights.

Human rights laws is the fundamental rights and freedoms to which all people are entitled, like civil and political rights, the right to life and liberty (Legal Resources). Civil rights law deals with the protections and freedoms enjoyed by the American people. The rights are planned to see that people are treated equally and minus regard to their gender, ethnicity, or other similar attributes. They also guard against excessively intrusive conduct by the government (Legal Resources). These laws protect the people of this nation from malpractice of the law. Some law enforcers do not obey these laws. If the police department or the local government do not enforce these laws into their policy, the whole department will be held accountable for violating the law. Human right is an amendment and it must be obeyed, it's the law. FOI will enforce all laws gently to protect the people from the misconduct of a police officer.

How can we fight against police brutality against African American? Fight against police misconduct will take a lot to do. Changing the policies that the government has in place will be a tough task. The likelihood of getting a new program started through the government is slim to none. The government already have policy and programs in place that is funded. Having a Candy Tax is a good idea, but it will have a ripple effect that can change the economy for the worst. Protests and marches can work, but it may take longer before the government to do anything about it due to the fact the policy that’s in place. The “pattern or practice” policy is not the way to go. It should not take multiple situations to intervene. The idea of Cop Watch in every state is a step up in the right direction. Maybe the law enforcers will be hesitant to do wrong. Either way, it goes nothing will change until a higher official has enough. Police and civilian should have a relationship that respects one another, and this can happen once the law is enforced to all.

Works Cited

“Addressing Police Misconduct Laws Enforced by The Department of Justice.” Department of Justice, 06 August 2016, https://www.justice.gov/crt/addressing-police-misconduct-laws-enforced-department-justice.

Cohen, Richard. “Black Lives Matter Is Not a Hate Group.” Southern Poverty Law Center, 19 July 2016, https://www.splcenter.org/news/2016/07/19/black-lives-matter-not-hate-group

“Fighting Police Abuse: A Community Action Manual.” American Civil Liberties Union, American Civil Liberties Union, 2017, https://www.aclu.org/other/fighting-police-abuse-community-action-manual.

“Human Rights Law.” Hg.org, Legal Resources, 1996, https://www.hg.org/human-rights.html

“The Bill of Rights.” National Center for Constitutional Studies National Center for Constitutional Studies, 2016, https://nccs.net/online-resources/us-constitution/amendments-to-the-us-constitution/the-bill-of-rights-amendments-1-10

Weichselbaum, Simone. “The Problem with Policing the Police.” The Marshall Project, TIME, 2017, http://time.com/police-shootings-justice-department-civil-rights-investigations/

July 24, 2021

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