By David A. Stepney Management of Law Enforcement AL318 Professor Tim M. Murrell Police brutality and poor community relations continues to plagueracial and sociological groups throughout United States, which proves thatlaw enforcement management needs to implement better community relationspolicies and procedures. The Watts Riots of 1965 was the peak of police brutality at its worstthat was documented by video.
At the time, California had adoptedProposition 14. This proposition moved to block the fair housing elementof the Civil Rights Act which created feelings of injustice and second-class citizenship among minorities, particularly Blacks, in the Los Angelesarea. According to www. history. acusd.
edu, Watts was “known as the ‘duckpond’ where police could stop anyone, at any time for any reason; one studyshowed 90% of juveniles arrested never had charges filed. ” On August 11,1965 a ‘routine’ traffic stop in South Central Los Angeles of a suspecteddrunk driver is what started the Watts Riots. Apparently, the Blackcommunity had enough of the constant harassment that preceded this eventand Proposition 14 did not help. The riots began and lasted for six daysthereafter.Order now
By the end of the riot of 1965, 36 people (mostly Blacks) wereslaughtered by police, 1,032 injured, 3,436 jailed, and $40 million dollarsin property destroyed according to www. occawlonline. pearsoned. com. According to Rev.
James Edward Jones, this was not a “riot” but a “protest”by people not allowed to participate in mainstream of society Los Angeles. Police Chief William Parker contributed greatly to this tragedy by orderingpolice to use “justifiable homicide” to stop the riots. If community andminority relations were good during that time, this riot would have nothappened. Chief Parker was a proponent of military-style policing as opposed tocommunity policing. This style of policing was very threatening to theBlack community. It also added fuel to the fires of racial tension andpoor community relations between police and minorities.
Police using theterm ‘boy. . . do this or do that’ to refer to Black males during a routinestop did not make matters any better as opposed to being referred to as’sir’ or ‘Mr. . .
‘ During the Parker administration for the LAPD, there wassegregation within the police department itself; Black cops only partneredwith Black cops and White cops only partnered with White cops. However,White cops were allowed to patrol Black neighborhoods such as Watts, whichincreased racial tension, much like North St. Louis, Missouri today. Thismilitary-style policing offered no solution but increased poor race andcommunity relations, which eventually led to the Watts Riots of 1965.
Poor race relations are not the only element that sparks communitytension with police – poor relations with specific sociological groupsdamages the image of police. For example, the Stonewall Inn was a gay barlocated on Christopher Street in New York’s Greenwich Village. On June 27,1969 during the night, a police inspector and seven other officers from thePublic Morals Section of the First Division of the New York PoliceDepartment arrived shortly after midnight. Allegedly, they were there tolook for ‘violations’ of the alcohol control laws. During their’inspection’ they made the unnecessary homophobic comments, and afterchecking identification, they threw the patrons out, one by one, whileothers remained outside to watch.
The gay and lesbian community had beencontinuously treated as second-class citizens by NYPD during this time. Aswith the Watts Riots, with poor community relations, it was just a matterof time before big something had to happen to initiate change. TheStonewall Riots of 1969 lasted three nights. Although there were noreported deaths as a result of this riot, it is still quite disturbing thatit took three nights of rioting to even begin a change in police communityrelations with the particular social group. This is yet another example ofthe backlash of poor community relations.
There is a definitely connection between police brutality and poorcommunity relations; they go hand in hand. Former United States AttorneyGeneral Janet Reno said it best: “The issue is national in scope andreaches people all across this country. For too many people, especially inminority communities, the trust that is so essential to effective policingdoes not exist because residence believe that the police have usedexcessive force, that law enforcement is too aggressive, that lawenforcement is biased, disrespectful and unfair. ” There are endless stories of police brutality, abuse of power,racism/racial profiling, and negligence. For example, it was concluded bythe state Attorney General’s office that .