Police brutality is the fact of American life. Police officers carry weapons, are provided with special privileges and huge accountability. Officers are trusted and expected to esteem the social order all together. Taking all of that into account, do officers really break the regulations? Yes, they do. Ongoing high crime rates nowadays have resulted in more officers being put in the streets. Federal Government is paying for a hundred thousand of novel officers. Accompanied by the high crime degree, there comes a wish for police officers to accomplish the fast results, therefore, there are fewer restraints on the way they conduct (Saari, 2000). This paper is an essay on the topic of police brutality. The usage of inappropriate force on the part of officers is not a new phenomenon. On the contrary, police cruelty is a serious and continuing issue. The police needs to be forbidden from utilizing extreme force except in dangerous circumstances, for example, a supposed committing of a murder or act of terrorism.
The Concept of Police Brutality
Police brutality is generally described as an unjustified and pointless use of force - either verbal or physical. Gerald Williams, the president of Police Executive Research Forum declared, “Let me guarantee you we are committed to the professional degree of policing with a stress on humanity, fairness and integrity” (Weill-Greenberg, 2005).
Generally speaking, there are five degrees progressing through which the control may turn into the brutality: oral persuasion, physical force without weapons, force using non-fatal arms, force with the help of impact arms and lethal force. Enforcement personnel can utilize the fatal force degree when the officer’s existence or another person’s life is in danger. At the lethal force degree, the law allows somebody to commit a murder and validates its use. The majority of officers seems to have a rough exterior, but is very responsive to a crime on inside (Weill-Greenberg, 2005). Officers foster and strengthen the negative attitude towards some races, religions or sexes. They tend to share the following prejudice, if one individual treats the officers with certain disregard, than other representatives of that gender, race, or even religion will treat them likewise. One more cause of the police brutality is the stress under which the officers constantly are (Skolnick & Fyfe, 1994).
At times people feel as if the extra force is required when coping with the felon. Moreover, many people think that all officials are here to assist and the total of force is based on the casualty. The author Lan Loft declared on the issue of police brutality; “Police officer has a hard but extremely crucial role within the social order - to “serve and protect.” The essence of this position at the vanguard presupposes the officers usually discover themselves in the most aggressive circumstances. Such hazardous circumstances rely on the intuition and even self-defense to keep the situations away from getting uncontrollable” (Loft, 2008). That is why, it is important to understand that self-protection demands a police officer to take certain measures in the intense atmosphere. Another opposing utterance was made by Summer Tyme. “By no means having been an officer, I can merely go by what I have noticed on the news and my own experience in the community. I believe they are provided with a hard enough work without being blamed for the brutality every time some felon gets one bruise” (Tyme, 2008).
Police Brutality and the Minority Groups
Police brutality is usually a relevant and crucial matter mostly against members of minority groups. This is due to the fact that historically police brutality has at all times been considered a social trouble as it was usually against non-white US members of the society. The custom of police brutality has a strong impact on the major segment of the US populace. The influenced people are minorities and elderly causing them to feel hatred towards the whites in the USA. Brutality is enforcement of mistreatment of the law, when an official thinks that due to the fact he/she has badge and a handgun, it places them above the regulation and they may utilize needless strength against another person. Police brutality is not a novelty; it has become more focused just recently due to some cases, which have happened in the past several years that has been covered by the media (Roane, 2001).
Police brutality against members of minority groups has existed as long as police has been around in the nation. There are lots of brutality cases. For instance, in 1919 in Chicago a young black man was murdered whilst swimming in the area for white people in the Lake Michigan. Officers did not try to find the murders, but instead arrested a black male who witnessed the act and did nothing to stop it (Da Silva, 2001). In 1965, in California, upon the traffic stop in a ghetto of Watts, a young male resisted arrest. When the guy’s mother came, the police bundled her, and as tensions increased between the people and the officers, the police pushed a pregnant female in a stomach. In 1980, in Miami, after hurting black businessman to passing away following the motorcycle chase, Tampa officers were found not guilty of all charges. This triggered riots and mob of African-Americans assaulted each white preson they noticed. Police struggled back, murdering individuals in the rioting mob. Eighteen individuals passed away altogether. This case was highlighted in media (Saari). As showed by the examples, lots of causes of police brutality stem from racism which is the main reason for many brutality cases in the 20th century.
At the same time, James J. Fyfe, author of the article about police shootings and use of force, concluded there was no crucial dissimilarity in the usage of force with regard to the ethnicity or race of the police officer. Black officers committed these acts at a degree of 9.8 per a hundred police officers, whilst white officers committed the acts at a degree of 8.7 per a hundred police officers. This shortage of dissimilarity essentially concludes that officers who commit acts of brutality cannot be categorized by race, ethnicity or color (Fyfe, 1982).
The abuse utilized by officers is a solemn offense, which violates an individual’s human and civil rights. The violations are observed nationwide to the minority community and crimes are committed by officers of different races, who usually do not obtain the punishment for the action. The Civil Rights Act “provides defense to those people were wrong by the mistreatment of power, possessed by the asset of state law and made it possible merely due to the fact the wrongdoer is clothed with an authority of state law” (U.S. Department of Justice, 1994). There is the violation of the Fourth Amendment when blameless human beings become casualties of officer’s brutality. Lots of minorities are stopped as they are driving a posh vehicle. They are presupposed to be either drug dealers or felons (Meeks, 2000). The defense of the Fourth Amendment, nevertheless, is decreasing; it may simply be utilized with the presence of the warrant (Meeks, 2000). This prevents illegal police searches and mistreatment to happen.
Racial profiling is a more wide-spread type of brutality. It is the most usual infringement of the Fourth Amendment. It is the practice of stopping somebody due to the fact that this person has different skin color. Racial profiling chiefly targets young Latino- and African-American males and is thought to be a justified type of the law enforcement. In other words, it is a type of usual and even legal prejudice, which takes place daily. Though, there are lots of doubtful spheres in racial profiling, which cannot be proven nor avoided. First, it is extremely hard to prove. In many cases there is no confirmation of racial profiling and the officers may claim a stop to be the custom traffic stop. For example, when an African-American is stopped for the traffic breach, the car is the first thing they notice whereas the second one is the skin color. Many Latinos and Blacks drive either showy or historical cars and this determines the ethnicity of a driver. All too often this triggers annoyance and irritation, however, no one may confirm this but the casualty and the officer (Meeks, 2000).
Courts should recognize that racial profiling took place and in many cases this is difficult to confirm. There are also additional types of profiling. In lots of professions, this sort of profiling is utilized as a mean of security. Security personnel and taxi drivers use profiling when they feel threatened. Drivers of the taxi utilize this sort of estimation when rejecting to pick up the client at night and guards utilize it to discover the suspects whilst working. Profiling is seen to be the profile utilized by the officers to recognize suspicious felon or violators of the law. A usual profile utilized is the CARD approach. It is the short form for class, age, race, and dress. This system is utilized to fit people into the categories for ways of recognition. The trouble with CARD is that many members of the minority groups fall into the category. It makes them main targets and creates a trouble for some of the whites, who also fall into a category. Yet, there are several positive aspects of profiling. Firstly, it may be considered to be the survival ability permitting one to see if humans are doing righteousness. Also, it puts individuals on the inherent level. Profiling demonstrates the signs concerning dissimilar representatives of the society. Finally, it is not treated as racism. Officers who apply the profiling utilize it as an instrument as they believe they are actually color blind.
Police brutality also takes place in prisons where the prisoners are ill-treated as it becomes a mere case of authority. All human beings, including the prisoners, have liberties and rights and police brutality violates these human rights. Three people who committed suicide in jail did so due to the fact they did not receive food and they were beaten every day (Saari, 2000). Many cases have become public through TV and other media.
However, in spite of these brutality cases it is important to bear in mind that the officers are being looked at all the time. Usual cameras and portable video recording devices shed light on the truth of police at work (Walker & Katz, 2004). Today many interrogation rooms and most police cars are equipped with video recording gadgets. Also, more and more departments have multiple officers to be present at the place to supervise interrogations and arrests.
Electronic recording of interrogations in criminal cases guarantees the defense for all parties involved. It defends the suspect from forced confessions of guilt. At the same time it defends the officials from the fake complaints. Electronic recording defends the populace from false convictions, which leave the guilty free. The recording of the total interrogation process, from the moment the Miranda rights are declared, is the most effectual usage of technology in an interrogation process. The easiest method to record the total conversation between the suspect and official is a handheld audio recorder. It is the most satisfactory way to preserve the interrogation. The officer declares time, date and names of people present in a room. An audio recorder either records to the tape or has an incorporated memory chip, which permits the entire conversation to be downloaded to the computer later.
Additional Difficulties of the Large Cities
Police officers usually have to act aggressively in response to the violent society (Dudley, 1991). The increase in aggressive crime and the consequential law enforcement overreaction has led to rise in the brutality rates. In metropolises there are large groups of humans for the officials to control. Because of the greater populace in the cities, there are more violent humans as well. Officers in large cities obviously have to manage more troubles then officials in little towns, resulting in greater cases of violence. Therefore, the police officers are forced to pay more attention to own safety. The training they obtain may, in fact, contribute to the increased aggression as well. The official training for city officers is forceful and as a result of intense preparation, they tend to respond aggressively and faster.
In larger cities, police officers have to cope with a variety of troubles much different from the ones that arise in smaller towns. These troubles comprise the gangs and gang related acts like shootings and gang conflicts. The police officers also have to deal with larger drug troubles due to the fact that there are more people in the cities. These drug troubles are caused by organized gangs, as well as poor and generally less educated populace, making the circulation of illegal substances extremely large (Saari, 2000).
Major cities also have a huge homeless populace. Politicians constantly assert that cities have to become friendlier to the citizens and have instructed officers to deal with the problem of homeless. However, a large part of the homeless are connected with drugs or have some psychological troubles. Officers are not psychiatrists and their preparation does not provide them with the necessary instruments to deal with these people. The shortage of proper preparation and the constant stress may and does result in brutality against the homeless.
Apart from all these difficulties there are also the daily circumstances police in cities experience. These parts of the work, which officers face daily force the police perform more aggressively then they should (Saari, 2000). In small towns, officials know many people they are talking to. Officials in cities do not have this advantage. Larger propensity of crime combined with less knowledge of the neighboring population subjects officers to aggression and mistreatment. The violence also rises as officers are being shot at and assaulted on a common basis making them more alert in case of danger. Officers are not merely subjected to physical but also to verbal abuse, being continuously called awful names making them act irritably towards individuals they meet causing cruelty degrees to increase (Serrano, 1991).