By Jose Romarah Chery ’16
Police brutality has probably existed since the dawn of policing, but with the development of technology and news being so wide spread, people all over the world are now able to see the issue more clearly.
Lately, it seems like every day a new police brutality case emerges, cases like: Rodney King, Eric Garner, James Boyd, and Michael Brown are a few that come to mind. The cases stated above have been received with widespread media attention, but the assailants (excluding ones from James Boyd’s case), were all acquitted of their actions in criminal court. Our government must do something about these mad men with the “license to kill”. I don’t just mean after the incident happens, but before.
According to the article, “U.S. Police Have killed Over 5,000 Civilians Since 9/11,” by Katie Rucke in mintpress.com, police officers kill about 500-1,000 civilians each year, and Americans are eight times more likely to be killed by an officer than a terrorist. If this doesn’t make you want to do something to resolve the issue, then keep reading.
In some experiences of police misconduct, the men and women in blue physically, verbally, and, sexually harass victims. According to the chart “A neutral look at Police Brutality”, in Graph.net, sexual misconduct takes second place after brutality, occurring 10.9% of the time and brutality 19.4% of the time. Well, so much for white knights.
According to the same graph, 43% of officers agree that following the rules doesn’t always get the job done. About 49% of officers believe that the only way for a criminal to get punished is by taking the law into their own hands. Approximately 52% of police of police officers say that it is not unusual for a police officer to turn a blind eye if another police officer does something wrong.
There are some who are frustrated with the negative treatment of police officers. Their argument is that not all police officers are trigger happy, and there are officers who are constantly doing the right thing and putting their lives on the line. These people are also right; it would be a crime to lump all law enforcers into one category, but the bad cops are slipping through the judicial cracks. This, in turn, is making the public lose its trust in the police.
According to the article, “Excessive or reasonable force by police? Research on law enforcement and racial conflict in the wake of Ferguson,” by John Wihbey in the Journalistic Resource, the government doesn’t really regulate incidents where cops injure or kill civilians. Statistics collected by the FBI claimed that these incidents only occur 400 times per year, but the article found that it is a grossly understated comment.
It’s time to start educating the common man and inform them of their unalienable rights: freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom from excessive bail/ funds, right to plead the fifth, and the right to refuse unorthodox searches.
We must make a change by rooting out the “bad” cops. The United States justice system should take greater legal action against police officers who commit crimes. In addition, police officers should become more involved in the community to gain the trust of the public.