Extent of Police Misconduct, Corruption and Brutality in the United States
Police brutality, corruption and misconduct have been rampant in the United States. There are police officers who are given money not to enforce the law. In New York, police officers were receiving up to $850 to protect a single drug dealer. In New Orleans, 11 police officers were arrested for protecting criminals after they failed to expose a warehouse that was being used to store 286 pounds of cocaine. Officers would expose information to the defence attorneys to protect criminals and even conveniently forget certain information while on the witness stand (Walker & Katz, 2010).
There were policemen who stole money from the people arrested for drunkenness. During a drug raid the police steal money and drugs. In the River Cops case in Miami Florida, 19 officers were arrested and convicted for stealing and selling cocaine. There is also internal corruption where police officers in the New York police department were found to be paying money to superiors for favourable assignments and promotion. Brutality has also been on the rise. In 1998 and 1999, the police in Los Angeles formed the Rampart Crash Unit, an anti-gang group that used to track gang members and attack them. They would also falsely accuse some of the individuals. They would choke and punch them during the interrogation in order to intimidate them.
The police have been accused of discrimination and racism against the minorities in America such as the African American and Latino/ Hispanic communities. In a survey conducted in Cincinnati, 46% of the African Americans said that they had been harassed by the police compared to 9.6% of the Whites. They were stopped or closely watched yet there was nothing they were doing wrong.
In May 2009, police officers from the El Monte police department participated in the car chase where Rodriguez refused to stop his car after the police motioned for him to stop over. He was a gang member who had evaded parole supervision and the police had noted that he had two passengers in the car who gave the policemen nervous looks. The police suspected it was a stolen car decided to follow him and asked him to pull over. The police chase lasted for 34 minutes and during this period he showed no great regard for human life. He was driving at 100km/hr. ignoring stop signs and traffic lights.
The police finally caught up with him when he took off on foot after the car crashed into a Lincoln and he was trapped in the backyard of a condominium. Experts observed the videos of the arrest and noted that the suspect obeyed the police orders to get on the ground and surrender. However, the police officer kicked him in the face yet he was not resisting arrest or exhibiting any threat. Rodriguez was in a prone position with his hands on his head.
The kick in the head was totally unprovoked and unnecessary and is an example of the police brutality that has been increasing in the United States. There were calls for the suspension of the police officer and the district attorney to launch investigations (Blankstein & Winton, 2009). However in December 2009, the district attorney decided not to charge the two police officers on the grounds that they used reasonable force and that they had been confronting a dangerous criminal who was highly unpredictable (Zavis, 2009).
The police were justified and allowed to give a distraction blow to a suspect they feared would attack them. The suspect, though he had lain on the ground had slightly moved up as if he wanted to engage in a fight. I do not agree with the findings of the district attorney since the arguments justifying the violence are not conclusive and can be used as an excuse in future arrests for the police officers to attack suspects. Rodriguez had already surrendered and the attack was unjustified.
The police have also been involved in police misconduct and corruption. The senior officials have also been involved. In January, 2012, the deputy sheriff in Los Angeles County, Henry Marin was charged with smuggling heroin to prisoners using a burrito. He however pleaded not guilty to drug smuggling and the conspiracy to commit a crime. The district attorney’s office communicated that the sheriff had been relieved from his duties without any pay. There have been investigations and several prosecutions that have focused on sheriffs and other departmental staff for smuggling narcotics into the cells and fuelling a lucrative drug business in the prisons.
A former deputy who was arrested and jailed for four years narrated through a video how he had been smuggling drugs into the prison. For his first smuggling operation, he had received $ 2,000 for his first package and $ 4,000 for his second package before he was arrested (Faturechi & Leonard, 2012). The sheriff’ spokesman, Steve Whitmore spoke publicly condemning the behaviour. He narrated that such behaviour was inexcusable for a law enforcement officer. I am in agreement with the district attorney’s decision since this is a very serious issue. The police are engaging in crime in order to get financial advantages yet they are the people supposed to ensure that the criminals are being punished and getting rehabilitated well for the crimes they have committed.
Blankstein, A. & Winton, R. (2009). Experts say El Monte police officer’s kick was unjustified. Retrieved from: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/05/el-monte-officers-actions-and-tactics-questioned.html
Faturechi, R. & Leonard, J. (2012). Deputy allegedly smuggled drugs in a burrito into
courthouse jail. Retrieved from: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/01/deputy-smuggled-drugs-inside-a-burrito-into-courthouse-jail-prosecutors-allege.html
Walker, S. & Katz, C. (2010). The police in America. New York: McGraw Hill.
Zavis, A. (2009). D.A. won’t charge El Monte officers videotaped kicking and hitting
a suspect Retrieved from: http://articles.latimes.com/2009/dec/31/local/la-me-police-kicking31-2009dec31\