Police brutality is a major problem in today’s society. Police brutality is a civil rights violation where officers use unneeded or excessive force against civilians. Examples have ranged from assault and battery to as serious as murder. Police brutality has happened against all sorts of minority people but the major victims are African Americans. It happens because of the white police officers being anti-black. Racism is a big motive that leads to police brutality.
It was an issue as far back as the late 1800s to early 1900s. It was used to suppress labor strikes and people who went against big companies. In the 1800s the police targeted mostly European immigrants, but as black people fled Jim Crow Laws in the south they were met with harsh policing in the north. In the late 1920s in Illinois, there were lots of individual conflicts between citizens and police. Most of the conflict was started by the police. It was also an issue in the civil rights era against activists. In an attempt to disperse protests activists would be attacked by dogs and sprayed with hoses. This is a very known example of police brutality. In the late 1960s, President Lyndon B. Johnson created the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders. This commission was made to investigate these attacks. The commission established segregation as a sign of police brutality. Black organizations have been reporting and informing citizens of these events since the early 20th century. Now social media is a big part in spreading awareness of police brutality using apps such as Facebook or Twitter.
Police brutality is a common occurrence amongst black people. Many police brutality cases are against black people because of racist cops. According to the Washington Post, blacks are 2.5 times as likely as white Americans to be shot and killed by police officers. (Nodjimbadem). The police killed more than 1,000 people in 2018 which is far more than acceptable. Black people were 23% of those killed despite being only 13% of the population (Mapping Police Violence). Black Americans are three times more likely to be killed by police white Americans. 99% of cases in 2015 have not resulted in any officer(s) involved being convicted of a crime (Mapping Police Violence). It’s so drastic to the point black parents are having to educate their young children on how to react when approached by a cop and how to avoid conflict. People are becoming scared and distrusting of the people who are supposed to protect them.
The federal government has given police the weapons to cause these incidents. Police often deployed military-grade equipment — such as tear gas, rubber bullets, sound cannons, and mine-resistant armored trucks — against largely peaceful protesters, sometimes agitating the situation and causing demonstrations to unnecessarily escalate into tense and even violent conflicts (Lopez). After the controversy of the equipment the Obama administration put in place restrictions, but the Trump administration reversed them.
While the government has not done much to stop police brutality other organizations have helped. One of the most know organizations is Black Lives Matter and they help bring awareness to police brutality. With social media, demonstrations, and other protest tactics to spread slogans such as “Hands up, don’t shoot” or “White silence is violence,” they have brought attention to the deaths of Black Americans (Beaman). Black Lives Matter is not an organization promoting that black people are superior to other races, its simply trying to advertise black lives matter as well as other lives. “When we say that Black Lives matter,” Alicia Garza, one of the activists associated with BlackLivesMatter, explains, “we are talking about the ways in which Black people are deprived of our basic human rights and dignity. It is an acknowledgment that Black poverty and genocide is state violence… And the fact is that the lives of Black people—not ALL people—exist within these conditions is consequence of state violence.”(Beaman). The organization performs protests and shares political occurrences.
Police brutality doesn’t just happen in the United States. It also occurs in places such as El Salvador, Kenya, and the Philippines. Police brutality is also a problem in France. In France, it took a while before the government admitted their policing force known as gilets jaunes (yellow vests) is extremely violent. The recent changes in police violence are part and parcel of the neoliberal restructuring that started in the early 1970s with the launch of global security and defense markets. New approaches to management evolved to boost police productivity, which increasingly governed itself like a “business” with “targets” to achieve (Rigouste). While there have been new approaches the number of conflicts has increased. There are still the same victims being minorities and the working class.
Police brutality is a major issue that deserves to be addressed immediately because of the lives it has taken. It has caused major harm to minorities specifically the black community in America. It isn’t a new issue and even though organizations advocate ways to help more needs to be done. Police brutality has caused major damage and hardship to victims’ families. Actions need to be taken to prevent it.