Racism and Police Brutality goes hand in hand, and causes a major concern in today’s society, in the United States. On March 3, 1991 in California, Rodney King an African American, was pulled over after a high-speed chase, and after stopping was beaten by four white police officers (Worsnop 635). Tracy Brock also an African American was arrested in Manhattan in November of 1986. An officer smashed his head through a plate glass window, when Brock refused to go into the officers lunchroom (Police Brutality and Excessive Force in the New York City Police Department 14).
Ki Tae Kim a Korean grocer was assaulted when he was accused of passing a counterfeit bill. He was punched in the face, his head was slammed into the counter, and the officer also subjected him to racial slurs (Police Brutality and Excessive Force in the New York City Police Department 17). Marcos Maldonado a Latino grocer was mistaken for a suspect after an armed robbery to his store. He was handcuffed, thrown to the floor, repeatedly kicked, and beaten with the officers nightstick (Police Brutality and Excessive Force in the New York City Police Department 17). Abner Louima a Haitian immigrant was arrested outside a dance club in Brooklyn, and was brutally assaulted when he arrived at the police station. Volpe a long time police officer was accused of shoving a plunger into Louima’s rectum so far that his bladder and intestines were lacerated.
Then he shoved the plunger into Louima’s mouth and broke his teeth (Steinback 8). These are just a few examples of the people who were affected of police brutality, and racism. There are five stages through which force can progress and lead to brutality: Verbal persuasion, unarmed physical force, force using non-lethal weapons, force using impact weapons and deadly force, which most of the officers mentioned before fell into this stage. The deadly force stage is only to be used only when an officers life or another persons life is in danger.
The deadly force stage should be terminated, if not made illegal in the United States. By having the deadly force stage, by law you are permitting someone to commit a murder, and basically saying that it is just. In many of the cases stated before these guidelines were violated, and stronger action was used on the citizen than necessary. The officers who were accused in these cases were charged with only minor offenses, and some were charged with nothing at all. Stronger action should have been enforced on the police officers that committed these crimes.
All of these victims mentioned are from minority groups, and were harmed by white New York City police officers. In less than four years fifty -five people have died while in being in police custody, in the New York City Police Department (Police Brutality and Excessive Force in the New York City Police Department 8). This number compared to earlier statistics seems to be low, but still seems extremely high, for the rules and regulations the officers are supposed to be following. Should the Federal Government increase the punishment on law enforcement officials who brutally hurt citizens that are in custody, or under arrest? Many law enforcement officials appear to have a tough exterior towards crime, but are very sensitive to crime on the inside. Police officers build up negative feelings towards certain races, sexes, or religions.
Officers tend to get the impression that if one or a few people treat them with disrespect than other people of that same sex, race, or religion will treat the officer in the same way. It is has proven that less than five percent of all cops are the bad element, but if the other ninety-five percent stand around and do nothing, then that is where the real problem lies (Worsnop 636). Another cause of police brutality and misconduct is the amount of stress that is put upon the law enforcement official. According to Robert Scully who is the president of the National Association of Police Organizations in Detroit, There obviously has to be some kind of stress factor at work in brutality cases because stress is an inherent part of policing. (Worsnop 636).