Discussing the Issue of Police Brutality
You hear breaking glass, someone coming of the stairs, and you are hiding on the floor of your closet; what are you going to do? You have no security systems, weapons, or a way to get out of the house; what are you going to do? Well, if you have a telephone, or better yet a cell phone, which most everyone does these days, then all is not lost. You are going to dial 911 and pray for the police to get there in time. For many people police represent an image of safety and protection. However, that is not the case with every American, there are many whose experience with law enforcement has been unjust and entirely inappropriate. These men and women, of law enforcement, have to make life or death decisions and make judgment calls on how best to defuse and resolve a given situation every day. However, sadly there are many officers in positions of authority who use their position to commit vicious violence upon legitimate suspects and, sometimes, innocent people at the wrong place at the wrong time; none of which was warranted. . While all of the good, loyal, and honest police officers in the world are deserving of respect. It is not easy to be a police officer, but there is no excuse for unprovoked police involvement or the commission of brutality.
It was not until the middle of the 19th century that more formal police officers were established. However, many of these officers were voluntary and were also working as something else when not on patrol. Prior to this, police were little more than modern day security guards, they were paid, like hired guns, to guard and protect by specific people; those that could pay. It was not until the 1890s that police became officers of the municipal system. These new, modern departments all shared similar characteristics. (1) They were publically supporter, as well as, becoming more bureaucratic in nature. (2) Were officially full-time positions; no longer paid case-by-case. (3) Established fixed rules and procedures. (4) Would answer to the central government’s authority
Unfortunately, sometimes, when considered after the event, it becomes obvious that the actions of the police may not have been necessary and entirely warranted. The public did not really become aware of it, until the innovations of technology have allowed people to record theses events and present them to the Court of Law. A great many experts believe that this brutality of the police against citizens has always existed; in fact, it may be a very unsavory common behavior. However, today via the advantages of video cameras, iphones, and cell phone cameras it is possible for bystanders to capture these heinous abuses of power as they happen. Today society’s perspectives on the police departments and the officers that serve them are mixed; until changes are made to fix the issues within system these views are unlikely to change.
Is there a time when police brutality is acceptable? The answer to that question is equivocally no. In and of itself brutality refers to extreme physical and mental abuses done to a person, which is not ethically acceptable even against those who are guilty of crimes. That said brutality is never appropriate and should never be endorsed. However, police brutality cannot and should not be confused with a necessary “use of force.” Sometimes a perpetrator gives the police no other option but to employ violence responses if the perpetrator continues to pose a threat to the officers or the public. Even deadly force, however, unfortunate, is sometimes warranted under certain circumstances For example a mass shooter, firing on the public, refusing to disarm themselves, and continuing to threaten the citizens, and then the use of deadly force is deemed necessary. However, those cases do not represent all of the cases where those arrested have been beaten, tormented, and the officers involved swear it is justified. The truth is it is not. The best way to understand how inappropriate instances of police brutality really is to review serious instances that have occurred in the past. The issues of police brutality extend back more than a century. The reasons and justification may change, but the occurrences were and remain far too common
In the 1920s and 1930s police the eras of prohibition brought, both honest cops, and a great many that were not. These officers might make extra money by extorting it from business owners and the like. This is, also, the era that is synonymous with the gangster era and police that freely beat people for confessions for crimes. In this, the police became not law-enforcers, but just another position where the strong take advantage of the weak In the 1950s and 1960s; the issues of police brutality became heavily associated with the Civil Rights Movement. Many police were openly racist and savored the opportunities to accost, arrest, and physically abuse African Americans who were unfortunate enough to catch their eye. However, it is the 1980s and 1990s that saw a change in that brutality. Technology changed the game on corrupt and abusive police officers. For so long people did not really know how frequent this sort of brutality was, except threw “word of mouth.” But now people’s behavior and acts can be recorded, and cameras are a lot harder to dismiss.
One of the most significant police brutality cases involved Rodney King in the 1990s. Rodney King was stopped by police; he was argumentative with police and appeared to be under the influence of something. King refused to follow the orders of the police officers; the officers then took it upon themselves to forcibly subdue, using punches, kicks, and “billy-clubs” for a long period of time. This exchange was caught on video and became a major piece of evidence in the trial against these officers. However, the court favored the side of the officers. This verdict would ultimately lead to the riots in Los Angeles, California; where police and citizens were literally at war. The injuries King received did seem excessive and abusive, but the courts saw it differently; the public perceived this as the legal system “covering for” the officers over the claims of a “felon.” This common practice creates a lack of trust between citizens and police. What makes it all the worse is the overall police department’s perspectives on issues of police brutality. Most police officer’s feel that the public and the media are over concerned with the concept of police brutality, which comes across sounding a lot like “shut-up about it” to a discerning ear. When officers take such a defensive position it only increase negative impression of police officers and the laws they are supposed to represent. They are meant to encourage the law, enforce the law, but they are not above it. This is the sentiment that is shared by many Americans.
One of the most disturbing and significant cases occurred this year that argue that excessive and unnecessary force was used, and the victim was brutalized in the worst way; he lost his life. Michael Brown was an 18-year-old, Ferguson, Missouri, resident. He and a friend were stopped, while walking through the neighborhood, by police. The police immediately approached them as if they had committed a crime. The two teens, foolishly, fought the officer. The altercation resulted in the officer lethally shooting Brown, who was unarmed at the time. Between mixed eye-witness reports that offered different views on the shooting; many claiming that Brown was surrendering when he was shot. The incident brought up issues of racism, police brutality, and excessive force. A few days after the incident, a video was released showing Brown and his friend, stealing a package of cigars, which were a low dollar value, and shoving the store clerk who tried to stop them. This was done to show that Michael Brown was not an innocent victim of anyone. However, the officer who stopped and shot Brown on the evening of his death had no idea that the petty robbery had occurred.Regardless, the officer responsible ended a teenager’s life that stole two dollars worth of cigars and decided that execution was the deserving end for his crime. This continues to send the wrong message about police to the public. As with the Rodney King incident, the Brown case caused a great deal of uproar. This resulted in protests, which only continued to strain the relationship of the public and the police in this small suburban community.
Whatever the motivation, the influences, and motivators are present that allows this sort of brutality, disregard of others, and sense of entitlement associated with their badge to occur needs to stop. The truth of it is, police brutality, has been and remains one of the most common, albeit negative, traditions within law enforcement. It has existed throughout every era. The victims may vary and the faces may change, but the intention and unacceptable behavior has and remain heinous and unacceptable It is a reality of the office and it needs to be more succinctly addressed, The only reason that we are so aware of this brutality today is because it is more likely to be capture on video, security cameras, or find them uploaded to social media sites, like Facebook. If the solution is found and it means retraining, reorganizing, and reinventing the police forces in the United States, then that is what may be necessary, Until then, the use of cameras and other surveillance may be called for to protect the people from the police and vice versa, in some cases. No one wishes, again, to malign, all of the honorable and honest police officers that serve. However, brutality is never acceptable, ethical, or just; it does not matter if one has a badge or not
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