Police Brutality Unfortunately, nowadays the people who are supposed to protect us and help us when we are in need, can’t be trusted. Police brutality has always been a problem, but there’s been a dramatic rise in police murders and brutalization of citizens. Police Brutality is anything from harassment from a police officer to being murdered by one. Ayo Martini; Live chat room, 10/27/99 www.mtv.com Of course, harassment is much more common than being murdered by a police officer. Here are some cases of police brutality that have occurred in the past year or two.
Will Smith, a famous actor and rapper is pulled over once a week. When he asks the officers why he’s being pulled over, they simply answer because he is black and he has a nice car. Young people get followed constantly, just because the officer wants to make sure they aren’t getting into any trouble. Unfortunately, these problems are nothing compared to these next cases. Prisoners are put to death, only after they have been strapped to restraints for hours. They were made to suffer before they were killed.
A young women was in a diabetic coma in her car. She was shot at and killed because the police felt threatened by her. A young man, sitting in his car with guns pointed at him from every direction was forced to put his hands in the air. When he did so he was shot to death because an officer thought he saw a gun. This 18 year old was innocent and unarmed.
Four police officers approached a man’s door in search for a suspected rapist. Even though this man was innocent and unarmed, he was shot at 41 times and killed. At least two police officers tortured a Haitian immigrant by driving the handle of a toilet plunger into his rectum and punctured his small intestine. Then they put the plunger in his mouth and called him a racial name and said they’d kill him if he said anything. The most famous of all police brutality cases is, of course, Rodney King’s case.
On March 3, 1991, four Los Angeles police officers beat Rodney King as eleven other officers stood by watching. Rodney King was in a high-speed car chase with the officers, when his car was finally stopped, he hesitated to get out of his car. When he did, he was said to jump at the officers. He was hit by two darts from a stun gun, which didn’t seem to work. Rodney King still refused to obey the officers and lie flat on the ground.
But, in less than two minutes, he was hit with 56 baton blows and kicked six times. He suffered from eleven skull fractures, brain damage, broken bones, knocked out teeth and kidney damage. Also, emotional and physical trauma. Not in all cases are the victims of police brutality innocent, obviously, as you can see in Rodney Kings case. But no matter how rude or uncoopitive a suspect is being, this extreme force from officers should not be used. Another case comes from the other side. This one is about a man named Mumia Abu-Jamal.
In 1982, he was protecting himself and his brother from the brutal force of a police officer. Mumia Abu-Jamal shot a police officer to protect himself. He was sentenced to the death penalty. When a police officer murders a man to protect himself, he walks free because it’s all part of his job. Police have been questioned about why there is so much of this happening. Some say they are just doing their job.
Isn’t their job to serve and protect? They have also said that it’s because they are under so much pressure. Another excuse given is that being a police officer is the most dangerous job in America, and they are just in fear for their own lives. But according to the New York commissioner of police, the average police officer is never going to draw his gun during his entire career. A police officer is at half risk of death and injury on the job than is a farmer, truck driver or logger and considerably less than a heavy-construction worker, roofer or coal miner. An officer is no more at risk for fatal injury on the job than an electrician or construction supervisor. The police use brutality and other tactics to instill fear and terror in people. (Robert Rockwell, Internet, available at www.refuseandresist.com) Police brutality is used to intimidate the citizens in many cases, but it’s been proven that most violence by police happened because of racism and discrimination.
Most victims are poor and people of color. Also, police declare a war on immigrants claiming that immigrants steal their jobs. Perhaps being a police officer can at times be a dangerous job, but most of the time, violence is used by police because of personal feelings towards the person. Most cases of police brutality go unreported because people don’t know who to report it to. (Mumia Abu-Jamal, Internet, available at www.refuseandresist.com) Many people are ignorant when it comes to police brutality. They aren’t even aware of what is going on.
Every incident should be reported and also brought to the public’s attention. Unfortunately, reporting an incident doesn’t actually do too much. The US Justice Department receives thousands of complaints every year. Those whose rights have been violated often receive financial compensation in out of court settlements, which means the taxpayer is paying for authorities’ right to abuse their power with impunity. Cops who have committed these acts will face no serious prosecution, if any at all.
(Mumia Abu-Jamal, Internet, available at www.RATM.com) So far, of all the documented murders since 1977, only one officer has been convicted of homicide. Any man that kills another, for no matter what reason, should have to face consequences. As a matter of fact, the government practically encourages police brutality. On April 28, 1997 the supreme court ruled that, a police department that knowingly hires an officer with a record of assault need not be liable if that officer injures civilians. So reporting an incident may just make that incident become another joke for our authorities to make fun of. One way to help, is to make our society aware of the problem with police brutality.
There are many ways to do this. You can form groups with other people who realize this is a problem. With these groups, speeches can be made to your community. Posters and banners can be put up around the community. Letters can be written to the local police department. Another way to make people aware is by posting things on the Internet.
You can either go on to pages already created on police brutality and add in your own two cents. Or you can create your own web page. Hopefully people will become more aware of the fact that our police officers aren’t serving and protecting the communities, instead they are shooting, humiliating and imprisoning the very public they are sworn to serve. By Dawn Otto Social Issues.