Have you ever witnessed or know someone who has suffered of police brutality? People would never think that the men and women that are supposed to protect us are the ones abusing their power. Police brutality occurs when police officers use excessive or unnecessary force when dealing in certain situations with civilians. There are many cases that go unseen and the reason behind this is because the police have a code of honor that says that police do not tell on each other.
During the 1960s, there where significant events that marked American history. One of the most significant events was the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Civil Rights Act is a set of laws that banned discrimination in the workplace regardless of race, religion, color, national origin, or sex. This act cause anger among the white Americans. They were angry because now the minority had the same rights and opportunities as the white Americans. With all the anger in the air huge riots started to happen. There were several race riots but the motivation behind this was police brutality. Two of the biggest riots where the Watts Riots of 1965 and the Detroit Riot of 1967.
The Detroit Riot of 1967 was one of the most violent and destructive riots in United States history. What started this riot was when police raided an illicit after-hours club serving alcohol and arrested all those present. Most of the arrest where African American. After this everything let loose. There was a total of 43 dead, over 7,000 people were arrested, and over 1,000 buildings were burned down. The president Lyndon B. Johnson attempted to end the riot by sending U.S. National Guard and U.S. Army. In my opinion everything could have been handled differently from the start. From my point of view and from what I read, the police men knew what they were going to do and they should had prepared ahead of time. This was not there first rodeo. They should have taken better precautions after las riot that occurred in 1965, The Watts Riot.
According to statistics, police brutality could happen anywhere. The state that has had more shooting up to this date is California, a total of 98 shootings. Overall, there has been a total of 857 people shot and killed by police in 2018. On average, a police officer takes the life of a citizen every seven hours in the United States. Like I said before, the code of honor that police have has not helped one bit. The most shocking statistic that I found was 52% of police officers report that it is not unusual for law enforcement officials to turn a blind eye to the improper conduct of other officers.
One recent case of police brutality was in Arizona on September 2018. A 38-year old women, identified as Renne Armenta, was assaulted after being forcibly removed out of her vehicle by a police officer of The Goodyear Police Department. According to the police officer, his reason behind his actions was that when he told Armenta she was being arrested for a suspended driver’s license, she tried to run away. A part of the statement that the Goodyear Police Department gave stated “We are working to review body cam footage and conducting interviews to determine exactly what occurred. Once our investigation is complete and all the facts are in, we will be better able to provide accurate information as to the details of this arrest. According to court documents, marijuana and a smoking pipe were found in Armenta’s purse. At the end of the day, the police officer had no right to abuse of his power in such manner. He did not have to assault the victim and drag her just to get her in handcuffs. As of today, nothing has been done.
With all this people suffering, how do the police officers get punished? The police officer who gets accused of police brutality are assigned to desk duty and have their gun taken away. The police officer will also face internal affairs investigation with in his or her life and personality. The accusation, even if its false, well stay in the officer’s record. When it comes to the police department, the police commissioner and the officer’s direct supervisor will most likely be held responsible for the officer’s behavior and might even resign. The craziest thing about this is from an accusation of police brutality, the department will suffer and when they need help from the public for an investigation, the public will turn their back to the police department. The public trust for the police will go down. So, in my opinion, there actions are only hurting themselves and the people they work for. They are ruining their own reputation.
Another case that got to me was about a twelve-year-old little girl, Dymond Milburn. According to the HoustonPress, the little girl went outside a little past eight at night just to turn on a switch when three officers jumped out of a blue van screaming “You’re a prostitute. You’re coming with me.” Couldn’t the see she was only a little girl? In my opinion they knew exactly what they were doing. The reason why the Galveston police officers where there was because they were called to the area regarding three white prostitutes soliciting a white man and a black drug dealer. A police officer should have the enough training and common sense to know the difference between a twelve-year-old and a grown white prostitute.
The police officer’s allegation for their action was that they though she was a hooker just because she was wearing tight shorts, keeping in mind this happen in 2006. The officers beat up the little girl so bad that she was hospitalized for black eyes and throat and ear-drum injuries. This is nonsense! Three grown man couldn’t contain a twelve-year-old girl that they have to put her through such trauma. The officers knew they were on the wrong so they tried to cover their own tracks by saying she assaulted one of the officers. She was later arrested in school but everything ended in a mistrial. What happen to those three police men? With my research I could not find a clear answer but I believe nothing happen to them. Every article focused on the victim and the overall situation, they leave it as a mistrial.
There is no escape when it comes to this. Russia is no stranger to police brutality. As of matter of fact, Russia has truly severe cases. There was even a case where a Finnish police officer was charged with smashing a man’s face into asphalt. It would not be surprising to find out that nothing happened to the police officer. This isn’t surprising considering the statistics for Russia. Almost one in four Russians say they have seen police brutality first hand. Keeping this in mind, 28.6% of people have heard cases from family and friends, shocking. 12.3% of Russians have reported of being actual victims of police brutality.
Everything can be avoided if the police would have better trainings. I understand that we are all human beings but not everyone if physically and mentally fit for this type of career. A police officer must be compassionate, capable of thinking critically, not easily offended or excited but most importantly being capable of using restraining or using force while not being convicted of police brutality. The best way of training is to start with the right people. According to some training experts, recruitment is key. The recruiters most have life experience and people skills so they are able to relate with people from all different backgrounds. “When someone has been in danger, whether it be a fight or a car accident, he or she tends to learn to see the danger approaching and find ways to prevent it from happening or react to it” (Griffith 2015). According to the Washington post, for the past 6 years all recruiters from Washington state had created a new training that would produce “guardians of democracy” who serve and protect instead of “warriors” who conquer and control.
Some of the ways to avoid police brutality is if ever stopped make sure to be calm and respectful. When the officer asks questions, make sure to not give non-committal answers or just express the right to remain silent.
My overall thoughts of police brutality are getting worse as I read more about it. Innocent and guilty people are being killed because of police officers not being able to control themselves and abusing their power. This made me realize that police brutality is not limited, this is happening all over the globe. People say that police brutality is simply the new wave of publicity it brings. With the media in our favor we can keep the law enforcement in check.