Have police changed from one decade to the next? Police brutality has only changed in the way the abuse is viewed, but not in the way that it is committed or the motivation behind it. In the Martin Luther King era, there was acceptable police brutality in which African American citizens were blatantly assaulted, mistreated, and in some cases killed. Now in the present-day use of force or “police brutality,” must have a justified reason in order for the offending officer to be placed on trial and for the victim and their family to receive justice. Police brutality is very inhumane in the way African Americans are shot and beat like they are animals or trash. This issue is not a newly discovered issue but rather an issue that has merely gone unaddressed for decades. Dating as far back as Martin Luther King era in 1929 to 1968, and moving forward to other events such as Rodney King in 1991, Eric Garner in 2015, and Sandra Bland in 2015.
African Americans have been not receiving the justice they deserve. Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream’ speech in March 1963, keeps on resounding today after a long history of brutal encounters between African-American natives and the police. In his speech he says ‘there are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, when will you be satisfied? We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.'(King Jr.)
During the Civil Rights Era, although several of the movement’s leaders advocated for peaceful protests, the Sixties were fraught with violent and harmful riots. Aggressive dispersion tactics, such as police dogs and hearth hoses, against people in peaceful protests and sit-ins were the first widely publicized events of police brutality during that era. However, it had been the pervasive violent policing in communities of color that resonated distrust on an unremarkable level.
In 1967 one of the most lethal riots occurred in Newark when law enforcement officials severely beat a black cab driver during a traffic stop. The beating of John Smith by police caused a riot in which twenty-six people died and plenty of others were wounded throughout the four days of unrest. President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968, organized the National informatory Commission on Civil Disorders to analyze the causes of those significant riots (The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders).
The origins of the unrest in Newark were not distinctive in exceeding police versus subject incident. The commission over police actions were final incidents before the irruption of violence in twelve of the twenty-four surveyed disorders.
The commission known segregation and impoverishment as indicators and revealed recommendations for reducing social inequalities, recommending associate expansion and reorientation of the rehabilitation program to present priority to directly helping low-income households to get adequate housing. Johnson however, rejected the commission’s recommendations.
Black newspapers rumored incidents of police brutality throughout the first and mid-20th century, and therefore the popularization of radio storytelling unfolding those stories even more (Moore). Following the beating of cab driver Rodney King in 1991, video footage vividly told the story of police brutality on Tv to a much larger audience. During the arrest, King was struck over fifty times by police with nightsticks after resisting police orders. A bystander to the event, George Holliday, recorded the arrest which was later played on local station KTLA and several other news networks nationwide. A week after the incident, a Grand Jury delivered indictments against all of the officers who participated in the arrest for assault with a deadly weapon and use of excessive force.
More than a year following the night of the beating, the Los Angeles Police officers charged in the trial were cleared of the charges against them. Consequently, as a result of the verdict, many residents of Los Angeles responded with surprise and rage. Some people took to the streets to protest. Others turned to their televisions to watch events unfold. From April 29 through May 15 in 1992, television networks devoted extensive resources and airtime to the uprising. The core of a good portion of the resulting activity occurred in the South-Central area of Los Angeles, and events spread quickly across many parts of the city.
Data collected through the Washington Post regarding the use of deadly force against citizens by police officers in 2015 indicated that relative to the element of the population, African Americans are over-represented among all those killed with the aid of police underneath all circumstances (The Washington Post). The US Census estimatesthat African Americans made up 13% of the total inhabitants of the United States (Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS)).
In 2015 African Americans accounted for 26% of those that were killed by police, in 2016 which is 24%, and in 2017 which 23% of all those killed by the police officers. African Americans were the victims of the lethal use of force through police at almost twice their amount in the general population. For the first half of 2018, African Americans make up 20% of all those killed by the police considering all plausible scenarios. As of the cease of June 2018, of the 102 Black humans killed by police, eleven had been unarmed (11% of the African Americans killed by police) (The Washington Post).
African Americans account for 38% of the unarmed residents killed through police so far this year. That is three times the proportion of African Americans in the US population. While anyone confronted by the police, withholding a weapon being debatable, does not deserve to be killed by way of police gunfire, one would argue that even those with a weapon other than a gun, must be can be apprehended by police except the use of lethal force. Police ought to have the training, skill, and expectation that an encounter, even with a non-cooperative or fleeing citizen, should be resolved with the aid of ability different than lethal force (The Washington Post).
Unfortunately, compared to Black victims with no weapon at all, those with no gun that were killed by police demonstrate a less dramatic decline between 2015-2017. In 2015, a 115 African Americans who had no gun on them (but may also have had a pipe, knife, or been operating a vehicle) were killed by the police. The number of victims under the same stipulations In 2016, used to be eighty-eight, and in 2017 it was ninety-two Through the end of June 2018, forty-nine African Americans that were killed by police this year had no gun. That is 48% of the African Americans killed through police (The Washington Post).
In 2015, of all the Whites killed through police, 6.04% had been unarmed, in 2016 that number declined to 4.51% that were unarmed, and in 2017, the number increases to 5.69% have been unarmed. In 2015, of all the African Americans killed with the aid of police, 14.67% have been unarmed, in 2016 we see a full-size drop to 7.30% that had been unarmed when killed by using police, and in 2017, 8.76% of African Americans killed with the aid of police have been unarmed when killed. Of all the African Americans killed by the police, a more significant number of African Americans are not armed compared to Hispanics and Whites. Despite a decline from 2015, in 2017 African Americans had been nonetheless 54% extra in all likelihood to be unarmed when killed by way of police compared to Whites (The Washington Post).
In 2014 a 395 pound 6’2 African American Man by the name of Eric Garner was unlawfully selling cigarettes and was aggressively placed in a chokehold after what police said he was resisting arrest. Garner said over eleven times that he could not breathe and not one police officer listened. He died from not getting the medical attention he needed. The police are here to protect and serve the community; no one came to Eric Garners aid that day. https://nytimes.com
Sandra Bland was a 28-year-old African American woman. Sandra Bland graduated from Prairie View A&M University in 2009 with her degree in algaculture. Sandra Bland was pulled over July 13, 2015, for a traffic violation, failure to use a signal to change lanes. She was pulled over by a Hispanic officer named Brian Encinia, who then arrested her for speaking her rights. Ms. Bland was found dead in police custody. The death was ruled as a suicide. Bland’s family said she was in a great place in her life and was to start a job at her old college. In 2016 Brian Encinia was indicted for perjury and fired. Mr. Encinia lied about the circumstances surrounding Bland’s arrest. Sandra Bland’s mother received 1.9 million in a suit filed against the department. An educated black female with no mental history of suicide, had no intentions of taking her own life. Sandra was pulled over in a racist part of Texas by a cop that was looking for a confrontation. When do you get pulled over for not using a signal unless it causes an accident? This case was only one of many current instances in which African Americans are being mistreated by police and how it’s trying to get covered up and excused.
Windle Hawkins, an African American male, joined the Los Angeles police department in 1988, that is 30 years of service. Windle is family to me, my kid’s uncle. He is a firm dedicated and fair police officer. Windle rank is Sergeant III. He works the tough areas of Los Angeles one of them is Watts. There are a lot of good officers that get lost and judged because of the bad officers. When you put a non-ethnic police officer in an area where they do not understand that areas dynamics it can be problematic to why we have so many white police so quick to shoot blacks. The killings of blacks by a white police officer is the fear of the unknown.
In the 1980 era and now, the police feared black’s strength, our willingness not to back down and our education. The white man has always wanted to keep the black race down so we could not be educated in school and beat our slaves so they would feel broken. Understandably whites were marching with Martin Luther King. White police abused those whites for standing up for black rights. Even now some white officers see no color and want to do their job but, just like the black officers getting bad raps because of their career, both get lost in the whole cycle of bad cops. Sergeant Hawkins has also been called Uncle Tom because of his career working for the white man. There are bad people in every race. White officers come at blacks as if their race doesn’t commit the same crimes yet the white officer and the judicial system show the white man more leniency that the black man.
Police brutality has been going on now for decades even with the peaceful marches with Martin Luther King or the aggressive way of Malcolm X taking care of his people with the Black Panthers. The white race fears black people because blacks are not dumb as they wanted us to be. Now in 2018, we have Black Lives Matter. The African American community will not just take lies and killings without fighting back, and that’s what police fear. There are many great officers sadly been lost behind the corruption and bad officers. Everyone needs to stop judging one another and treat each person as an individual and then maybe we can learn to respect one another. We are not our ancestors we will not be victims without a voice anymore. Hatred is a learned behavior so we must all reteach ourselves that we are all equals, because if we do not our children will continue this horrible cycle.
Police: brutality and abuse of power. (2021, Jun 13).
Retrieved October 7, 2022 , from
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