There is the power that police carry over ordinary citizens and then there is policy brutality. History has been decisive in stating the boundaries between the citizen’s rights and the infringement of the law, which leads to police intervention. It is thus very important to state the definition of police conduct, police brutality, types of police brutality and the constitutional rights granted to the ordinary civilian. Police brutality remains a major problem in the USA which has to be addressed sooner if not later. To resolve the problem of police brutality of minorities in the U.S, the governor of each state should acquire the funding to implement the use of badge cameras for all police officers in every department in the United States. Furthermore, the police department should encourage any aggrieved party to report any case to the main offices. This paper will look into the state of police brutality in the US and a case study done in one state.
To begin with, the work of the police is to enforce the laws of the constitution. The constitution states that there are fundamental cannons in the duty of a police officer: to ensure the safety and well-being of the people, to be responsible and have integrity maintaining a fair process to everyone and to be seriously committed to the codes of the police organization. This stated, police brutality has been identified as being illegal but can be performed under the umbrella of the law (Howicus, 2017).It is defined as a form of misconduct on a police officer who tends to use any unauthorized force to any member of the public. The history of police brutality has been observed since the nineteenth century when there was leniency of the police laws. The first time the term police brutality was used being in 1872 (Howicus, 2017). The term has been mainly used on the minority such as the poor, disabled, young and the most commonly observed is due to racial discrimination. This was the main reason to the rise of revolutionary groups such as the black panthers.
The main forms of police brutality include the use of excessive force, Imprisonments and arrest on false accusations, unwarranted search of property, prosecution with evil motives and the denial of rights to detainees before trial. According to a research done on racial biasness of the police by Marekachi (2016), blacks have a higher probability of 3.49 times than whites to be shot by police officers whether unarmed or armed. On the use of excess force, it was found that there was a probability of police killing one in three blacks. These two statistical data are among many that indicate the prevalence of police brutality, especially amongst a minority group such as the African American.
CASE STUDY OF POLICE BRUTALITY
According to the Washington state legislature(RCW 9A.16.20),excessive force is authorized under five circumstances which include preventing a retarded person from harming others, reasonable detention of someone, self defence, necessary use when arresting someone ,by a carrier and in the performance of legal duty by any officer of the law. An incidence that was once reported on the issue of police brutality, more so excessive force, was of a University student by the name David pontecorvo. The police had acted on their line of duty to a call by another student who complained about loud noises. The episodes that engulfed thereafter showed the true definition of the use of excessive police force.
David had observed that police were using unauthorized force on a fellow student which prompted him to record the incidence. Without any considerations, the police beat up Mr. David with all assorted types of weapons and dragged him across the university. The result of the beating was that he ended up having several broken body parts such as cheekbone and a nose, cuts and various bruises. There was no regard to the law in this situation by the police officers since the defendant did not fight back and was not blocking the police from carrying out their duties. To put salt to injury, Mr. David spent an entire weekend in jail cell but was later released with no record of crime. (Fjelstad, 2016).
SOLUTIONS TO POLICE BRUTALITY.
It is recommended that every police be issued a body camera. These cameras will be used to record every police activity. This recommendation also requires an upgrade in technology to assist in the storage and reduction of those cameras footages. The police body cameras have also faced opposition from people who do not want their lives affected by release of certain footages. These cameras are deemed to have a negative effect on privacy. Therefore, in order to make them acceptable to the whole public, it is recommended that these footages be policed effectively. This is in such a way that those using these footages will have to balance between making police officers accountable and protecting the privacy of victims (Feeney, 2013).It is hereby shown that police cameras are effective if certain policies are put in place to address the privacy concerns.
Good police should also be encouraged to speak out on bad police. These officers should be given protection in order to give information on officers who have broken the law. It has become rare for such officers to bring forward useful information that can be used in investigating police brutality cases. Furthermore, these officers are regarded as snitches and are likely to be harassed by their colleagues. Police brutality cases have been on the rise because police who perpetrate brutality are regularly defended by their colleagues. If by any chance we will win the fight against police brutality we need to put in place policies that will allow police to forward useful information and evidences incriminating their colleagues. This will be useful in garnering of evidence and possibly convicting police officers found culpable of police brutality.
In the recruitment of police officers it is recommended that employment of officers from the minority groups and women be increased. It is shown that police officers would decrease violence if they worked in the communities mostly comprised of people of their race (Demby, 2017). Although researches have been exploring the role that race plays in police brutality, the results have been contradictive and inconclusive. I find that people are more secure and comfortable dealing with others of their race. Therefore this diversification of the police force will not only bring a reduction in police brutality cases but also will pave way to more evidence collection and witnesses. In other researches, Female officers have been shown to be less aggressive and would play a big role in the reduction of police brutality (Bhagri, 2017). The difference in mindsets between male officers and female officers really play a role in the violence usage amongst them. Male officers tend to think that they are there to enforce law while their female counterparts believe they are there to impact the society and help them solve their problems (Bhagri, 2017).
Regular tests on police radicalization should be administered to enable the police department to avert cases on excessive use of force. These tests will be used to determine the probability of a police officer to use excessive force on suspects. Also the tests will allow officers who have been radicalized to get psychiatric treatments. On the other hand, the tests should not be used to suspend officers but should be used as a tool to help them in accomplishing their daily tasks (Au-Yong, 2017).This tests will also allow for anger management classes for officers suffering from this problem.
It is a certainty that police brutality has been on the rise. This rise has been attributed to poor anger management skills on police officers. The main reason for the rise has been termed to be Racism (Walcott, 2015).Racism is rampant in Police Departments even to those that are in the major cities (Walcott, 2015).In this thesis I have tried pointing out solutions that will help in decreasing the rate at which police brutality has been rising. The thesis has also outlined when and where excessive force by police may be used.
Since there are some conditions that warrant the use of police force in the line of duty, some measures should be brought into light to tame cases of police brutality. To resolve the problem of police brutality of minorities in the U.S, the governor of each state should acquire the funding to implement the use of badge cameras for all police officers in every department in the United States
Au-Yong, R. (2017, June 21). Officer ‘didn’t show obvious signs of radicalisation when hired’. Retrieved from Singapore Straittimes: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/officer-didnt-show-obvious-signs-of-radicalisation-when-hired
Bhagri, N. T. (2017, February 28). There’s one sure way to reduce police brutality. Retrieved from QUARTZ: https://qz.com/921006/theres-one-sure-way-to-reduce-police-brutality/
Demby, G. (2017, February 4). Does Having More Black Officers Reduce Police Violence? Retrieved from Code switch Race and identity remixed.: http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2017/02/04/513218656/does-having-more-black-officers-reduce-police-violence
Feeney, M. (2013, August 15). Police Body Cameras. Retrieved from PoliceMisconduct.Net: https://www.policemisconduct.net/explainers/police-body-cameras/
Fjelstad, D. (2016). Case study:FBI investigates police use by force.
Howicus. (2017, Aug 1 ). police brutality. Retrieved from wikipedia: n.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/police_brutality
Marekachi, K. (2016). What the data says about police and racial bias. Vanity Fair.
Walcott, J. (2015, July). The Other Cultural Forces Behind Police Brutality. Retrieved from Vanity Fair Magazine: https://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/06/police-deaths-baltimore-ferguson-james-wolcott