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Solving Police Brutality

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Solving Police Brutality

Crime prevention is an integral role for all law enforcement agencies countrywide. It is everyone’s desire to live, work and have fun in a safe and secure environment (Seabrook 32). The United States constitution is cognizant of this duty but also outlines the rights and freedoms of offenders. The Miranda Rights provide a framework for police to follow before making an arrest although it clearly states that such officials must have probable cause for taking such actions (Katz and Webb 47). Abuse of these powers by some rogue officers have led to massive cases of police brutality especially on specific ethnicities. Blacks have become a common target for harassment in most cities nationwide. Regular testing of law enforcement officials for racial bias is a necessary step in the reduction of police brutality within the US.

The Justice Department is filled with cases involving police cruelty against blacks. For example, in the State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman 2012 case, Zimmerman was a white police officer charged with the shooting of an unarmed black man named Trayvon Martin. In the course of the trial, it was established that the officer fired the weapon because of his misconceived understanding that a black hooded man was a criminal and had a weapon. This stems from the stereotype that has been bandied for decades (Gerdes 15). The Supreme Court has handled numerous cases involving white police officers and black victims. For instance, the grand jury report in the 2014 shooting of Tamir Rice by two white officers stated that the prosecutor succinctly indicated that judicial employees do nit second guess the police. Proponents of the Black Lives Matter movement reveal the historical injustices meted on the black community and a pattern of racial bias emerges. It is disheartening that criminal profiling embedded in the “stop-and-frisk” policy in New York records higher numbers of blacks than whites. This indicates a systemic mistreatment of minorities by law enforcement personnel.

Everyone has inherent biases. Unfortunately, police officers have the power of life and death in their hands based on the choices that they make (Wolfe and Justin 8). They may physically manhandle a suspect which cause grievous bodily harm or they could fatally wound them. Male white police officers have a tendency of showing discrimination against blacks. It is incumbent upon the regulatory authorities to adopt regular racial screening sessions for such individuals within the force. In most instances, law enforcement personnel are required to make assumptions based on their “understanding” of the facts. The use of racial slurs is rampant within the police service and such incidents should lead to dismissals (Stone and Jeremy 19). Supervisors should be able to fire officers caught in these incidents in order to act as a deterrent for any future replications. Harvard University has compiled a vital tool, Project Implicit that lists a variety of biases and tests which should be made compulsory for the police. Psychological evaluations are important in this regard because they prevent incidents of dishonesty in the course of such tests and ensure that individual police officers offer a true reflection of themselves.

The reality of bigotry within the police service is evident in the number of minorities mistreated within the criminal justice system (Snow 61). A large segment of the officers are well meaning but the few racist ones have a contagious effect that needs to be stopped. Potential recruits should be forced to undergo a battery of tests on racial bias as a means of qualification. Disqualification of applicants with low gradesand placement of middle graders on extensive training and probation schedules should also be standard practice. Such initiatives seek to weed out racist police officers from the service and ensure that justification for the pursuit of justice is purely motivated by a breach in the law (Weitzer 411). Scrutiny of current officers’ records should be done and those found with blots of racial bias need to be pulled from active duty and placed on probation in order for them to merit their return to the force. These exams need to be administered regularly because such officers devalue certain people based on their color and are bound to make gut reactions that could sometimes prove fatal.

Police officers seem to act on impulse based on their imagination and expectation. An implicit bias exists within the service which makes it harder for law enforcement personnel to follow the established code of conduct when dealing with suspects from minority groups in their liner of duty (Seltzer and Johnson 55). A thorough examination of incident reports should be conducted by their supervisors in order to generate the temperament and mental capacity of different police officers. Confidential channels of reporting racial bias opinions from conversations of police partners while on the beat should be availed as a way of tracking and unmasking the true ideologies of every individual within the force. Such avenues would provide filters of bigotry and possibly enhance the prevention of wanton discrimination before these acts are committed (Walker 38). It would also aid in the cooperation of potential victims because they would have confidence in the officers who would confront them. In fact, they would shelve any form of provocation in the belief that the police officers are in strict adherence to the law.

Abuse of authority towards racial minorities has been a common feature in the police service for decades (Cassedy 28). In most instances, the legal system within the locality has been complicit in these incidents. Civilian review boards that were set up for addressing such injustices should incorporate racial screening mechanisms that examine the background of police officers for identification of implicit biases. Attention should also be paid to the use of excessive force when making contact with suspects from different ethnic groups. Body cameras would be helpful in this regard because they would reveal the verbal and nonverbal exchanges between the police and citizens. Analysis of such encounters would aid in the determination of culpability. Insistence on this initiative would also restrain police officers currently in the force from applying their racial bias in their course of work (Schlosser 116). They would be forced to embrace the law in accordance with the Law Enforcement Oath of Honor which stipulates that they will uphold standards of honor, bravery and integrity to the law and the community (Burns 37). Under these circumstances, chances of police brutality are minimized and in the event of their occurrence, severe punishment should be meted on the said officers. Racial stereotypes are corrosive and dangerous especially when perpetrated by law enforcement personnel because they endanger the lives of police officers and the citizens. $1.8 billion is an estimation of the cost of brutality within the police force. Reduction of this huge taxpayer funded bill is achievable through racial screening of law enforcement personnel for a safer America for everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Burns, Ronald . The Criminal Justice System. Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007.

Cassedy, Patrice. Law Enforcement. Lucent Books, 2002.

Gerdes, Louise I. Police Brutality. Greenhaven Press, 2004.

Katz, Charles, and Vincent Webb. Policing Gangs in America. Cambridge UP, 2006.

Seltzer, Richard, and Nicole Johnson. Experiencing Racism: Exploring Discrimination Through the Eyes of College Students. Lexington Books, 2009.

Snow, Lisa M. Prejudice Formation Toward Minorities by Police Officers in the Workplace. 2006.

Seabrook, Renita. “The Ugly Side of America: Institutional Oppression and Race.”Journal of Public Management and Social Policy,vol. 23, no. 1, 2016, pp. 20-46.

Schlosser, Michael. “Improving Policing in a Multiracial Society in the United States: A New Approach.” International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences, vol. 10, no. 1, 2015, pp. 115-121.

Stone, Christopher and Travis, Jeremy. “Toward a New Professionalism in Policing.” Journal of the Institute of Justice and International Justice, vol. 1, no. 13, 2013, pp. 11-32.

Weitzer, Ronald. “Police-Community Relations in a Majority-Black City.” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, vol. 45, no. 4, 2008, pp. 398-428.

Wolfe, Scott and Nix, Justin. “The Alleged “Fergusson Effect” and Police Willingness to Engage in Community Partnership.” Law and Human Behavior, vol. 40, no. 1, 2016, pp. 1-10.

Walker, Samuel. Sense and Nonsense About Crime, Drugs, and Communities. 2015.

 

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