oday’s society that is one of the questions that needs many answers.
The past few years has shown that police officers are going far beyond what the law is allowing them to do. These officers are the same people that are called when somebody needs help and also protect and serve the needs of the people. Now more than ever people need the feeling to not only protect themselves from criminals, but also thepolice. Becauseof recent events many people feel that police officers are demonstrating excessive force of power they have. The main problemsthat people have with police officers is when they come to the conclusion to use force and when that force becomes lethal.
This is mostprevalentin the African-American communities around the country. It has become such a big issue in these communities that the need for urban police policy is needed. The job of a police officer is to protect and serve the public. They are here to keep order in the public, averting, and investigating crimes that are reported. While doing all of these things they are to uphold the law at a higher level than most civilians do. As citizens we have put our trust in these police officers to do the right things at all times.
People who decide who wants to be in law enforcement has to do this because they want to make a difference and help people in process. Besides when somebody starts their career as a police officerthe money is not an important factor because the public safety is. This can be really rewarding to somebody that would like to be a public servant because crime is the one constant that seems to never stop. Although with low payand helping the public this is considered one of the most dangerous jobs in America. Each day officers risk their livesto make it possible for people to walk around without fear.
Police need the use of force but it has to come when it is really needed. At some point inan officer’scareer there is going to come a time when they are face with a decision to use deadly force or not. Police brutalityis nothing new in the African-American community. In the earliest case of police brutality was RodneyKing in 1991. He was beaten after running from the police in Los Angeles. A videotape of this beating is played all over the national news.
The video shows four officers repeatedly beating King while other officers while other officers standby and watch. This instance brought much attention to how officers treated minorities. Four officers were charged with assault with a deadly weapon and use of excessive force. Three officers were acquitted and the fourth was acquitted by a jury because they failed to reach a verdict on the excessive force charge.
These acquittals led to the L. A. riots in 1992. In the aftermath of King’s beating “confidence in the city’s police department plummeted to 31% for Latino residents and 14% for African-Americans” (Weltzer). With these types of numbers about confidence in the police with minorities, police will never get that trust from them.
In a time were almost everything is on video, it is troubling to think that police are still getting away with brutality. With the case of Eric Garner is one of those examples. Garner was arrested for selling loose cigarettes back in July of 2014 in Staten Island. Video shows garner is talking to officers telling them to stop harassing him and to leave him alone. He is then surrounded by four cops and throw him on the ground.
“One deploys a chokehold, a use of force specifically banned by NYPD regulations” (Scott). With a videotape officers reported that no chokehold was used. While Garner’s head is being smashed into the ground, it is heard on the video, of him screaming “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe”. These would be his last words he would ever say. Because of the actions of these NYPD officers, Eric Garner was dead at the age of 43. Even though the medical examiner ruled this a homicide, a grand jury decided not to indict the officer involved.
Days after this ruling came there were many demonstrations around New York City protesting against police brutality. For officers who know that a chokehold is againstits departments regulations and still do it with basically no repercussions is why the African American community has a difficult time trusting police officers who are sworn to protect them. After the choking death of Eric Garner by the NYPD, there was a shooting death in November of 2014. A 12-year-old boy named, Tamir Rice, was shot and killed by Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann.
Two officers were responding to a call that was described as a black male pointing a gun at people while on a swing set in a park. A caller tells the dispatcher that the gun is possibly fake. The caller relays to dispatch that they think Rice is a juvenile. The problem with this is that important information is never told to Loehmann or Garmback from dispatch. When the officers arrive on the scene, they report that Rice was reaching toward a gun he had in pants waist.
Before the police car can stop, Loehmann opens fire on Rice hitting him once in the torso. Both of these officers did not try to give any first aid to Rice which resulted in him dying the next day. It was later discovered that the gun Rice was playing with was an Airsoft replica. Because the replica Airsoft gun was missing an orange safety feature that would make it a non-firearm. In the following days a video was released of the shooting by police. With their investigation completed, the case was handed over to the county prosecutors.
The evidence was presented to the grand jury in which they did not indict officer Loehmann or the 911 dispatcher. However, there is more to the story of officer Loehmann. Before joining the Cleveland Police Department, he worked as an officer in Independence, Ohio for 5 months. It was found out to be that Loehmann resigned because he lacked the emotional stability to be a police officer.
The Independence deputy police chief says that Loehmann could not follow basic functions as instructed, distracted and weepy. It was discovered that the Cleveland Police Department did not review Lohemann’s mental personnel file before hiring him. “If this report ofLoehmann’smental state had been used to disqualify him from joining the police in Cleveland, a child’s life could have been spared” (Garimella, 2015). Before the shooting death of Tamir Rice, there was another young black male shot by a police officer Darren Wilson on August 9, 2014. This shooting has caused even more tension between the African-American community and the police.
Brown was killed, in Ferguson, Missouri, a northern suburb of St. Louis, that is predominately black. Before the shooting, Brown had stolen several items from a local store. While trying to leave he shoved the store clerk. Michael was with his friend Dorian Johnson in the store.
Officer Wilson was dispatched to the scene where the robbery took place with a description of Brown and Johnson. Wilson catches up with the two while they were walking in the middle of the street. The officer then puts his patrol car in reverse when he recognizes these two from the description from the store and blocks them off. Brown and Wilson get into an altercation through the patrol car window while reaching for Wilson’s gun to get control of it until it was fired. “Cops in St. Louis County may use deadly force to stop a fleeing suspect when they have reasonably two things” (Troutt, 2014).
Brown and Johnson take off running and Wilson gives chase after them. Brown then stops and turns toward Wilson, were Wilson shoots Brown several times. While all of this is going on Wilson fires twelve shots into Brown. Witness reports tell of different accounts as to what Brown was doing with his hands, other witnesses were found not to be credible because they did not see his hands up to surrender. This shooting brought a lot of attention to this small city. Many people of color feel, “for black Americans, abuse of police power is a familiar pattern” (Christian Century, 2014).
The death of Mike Brown caused a lot of problems in Ferguson. There were many strong protests and outrage about the killing of an unarmed black male. “Today’s media has beenpublicizing more and more cases of police abusing citizens, violating constitutional rights” (Garimella, 2015). The grand jury was given evidence from the St. Louis County prosecutor on Wilson shooting of Michael Brown.
On November 24, 2014, the grand jury decided not indict Wilson. The Department of Justice does an investigation and clears Wilson of civil rights violation in the shooting on March 4, 2015. They stated that witness corroboration and forensic evidence were the reasons whythose conclusions were reached. According to the evidence, Wilson shot Brown in self-defense.