Putting an end to police brutality

stop police brutalityImagine living in a multiethnic community consisting of Asians, whites and people of color. You decide to go for a walk around the neighborhood when a black guy walks past you with his white girlfriend. Suddenly you hear a loud commotion and when you look back, there’s a white police officer telling the black man to put his hands up because he’s under arrest for a crime he committed. The man tells the cop he has the wrong person and that someone else who looks like him is the suspect, but the cop doesn’t buy his story. The man refused to cooperate, so the officer took out his gun and shot the victim at point-blank range, causing him to fall to the ground and later dying from his injuries. His girlfriend started screaming at the cop asking him why he targeted an innocent person, and the cop told her that there were too many people of color inhabiting the neighborhood. You then turn to the officer and say “What if that was your family member? How would you feel if someone killed them because of their race?”

The example above proves that we should put an end to police brutality because innocent lives are being taken due to discrimination and racism amongst others. I feel that officers who abuse their powers lack the necessary knowledge of understanding that blacks are human too and they should be stripped of being on the force due to reckless endangerment. An article by Gutman looks at how law enforcement organizations and departments are taking matters into their own hands when Trump encouraged them to be “rough” with prisoners. It states “Last Friday, President Trump gave a speech to a group of law enforcement officials in Long Island. Trump had a specific request: ‘Please don’t be too nice.’ The crowd laughed and applauded. Trump called for police brutality, for ‘thugs’ to be ‘thrown into the back of a paddy wagon,’ as he relished the adjective rough to laud the actions of police.” One example of police brutality looks at how 30 year old David Jones was shot in the back in North Philadelphia by a cop who claim Jones was fleeing from him, though if Officer Pownall was the same ethnicity as Jones, he wouldn’t have shot the man to death.

In New Orleans, a federal court testified to override a Fort Worth judge’s appeal stating that two police officers and the city were responsible for the death of 34-year old Jermaine Darden. The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals testified that the man would’ve been alive if the cops didn’t use force and taser him, but U.S. District Judge John McBryde claimed that Darden died because of health issues. Ryan Osborne states “Darden died of natural causes, with sudden cardiac death associated with high blood pressure and application of restraints, the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office ruled. Darden also had liver disease and thyroid disease, according to court documents. But a medical expert for Darden’s family testified that Darden’s death should not have been ruled ‘natural,’ according to the Fifth Circuit’s ruling Wednesday.” Another incident looks at Baltimore’s police department and the excessive force they use towards the black community. Laura Jarrett of CNN quotes “Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, echoed Ifill, and said the decree ‘may serve as a model of reform for other similarly-situated police departments across the country. While the crowd was diverse, their stories were consistently tales of children killed, domestic violence survivors living in fear, and of those with mental-health challenges being abused by Baltimore police.” I believe that if necessary training and precautions are taken, police departments around the world will be more careful when dealing with the black population and realize that their lives matters as well.

Tracey Corder of the Easy Bay Times states “The numerous police killings of black citizens around the country in recent years have made us take a hard look at police brutality against black communities but law enforcement in Oakland has a particularly alarming history. Between 2000 and 2016, police officers in Oakland have killed 90 people, three quarters of whom were black. Victims include 23-year-old Richard Linyard, who was killed after fleeing police at a traffic stop and 30-year-old Demouria Hogg, who was shot and killed by police after they found him unconscious in a car with a pistol.” If a black officer saw a white individual fleeing from him at a traffic stop, would he kill the person? Would there be less brutalities if the roles were switched—a black officer dealing with a white individual? John Conyers of the Detroit Free Press looked at how Patsy Elmore and Adrienne Montgomery reflected upon what life was like in Detroit, 1967. He quotes “In July 1967, six months into my second term in the U.S. House of Representatives, I watched my hometown tear itself apart. For five days and five nights, citizens and police in Detroit went to war. The carnage was terrifying: 43 dead, more than 1,000 wounded and several thousand more under arrest. Three individuals were shot in cold blood at the Algiers Hotel incident.  Hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed by arson.”

The use of excessive force is happening in other countries around the world, not just the U.S. as one article states. In Zimbabwe, a NewsDay journalist was brutalized by plain clothes officers for doing his job in Harare’s central business district, but nothing has been done to protect the citizens. An article from NewsDay.com states “There is no doubt that Zibusiso Moyo (27), who has been battling for her life at a hospital in Victoria Falls since June 27, when she was tortured by the police, who accused her of loitering for the purposes of prostitution, will never fully recover.” This shows how police brutality is getting out of control around the world and we need to take a stand against officers who abuse their powers. J.C. Lee of Penn Live looks at how a Minnesota cop shot and killed Philando Castile as his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, caught the action on video. Jason Blair’s music video “Mind of the Police” shows how he viewed police brutality in the neighborhood. The article states “‘It’s frustrating, really. These are things that people have been saying for a long time, in particular the African American community,’ Bair said. ‘With Rodney King, that was just a situation where they finally had it on tape.’ The song is personal for him too. Bair, his family and friends do not have a favorable view of the police because of past interactions.” Speaking of shootings, there’s another article by Virginia Bridges of The Herald Sun which looks at how the “Stop Killing Us” organization is recruiting members to take a stand on August 28th to place standards on the department and it would reduce violence by the police. She quotes “Gatewood is asking participants to promote 18 universal standards for law enforcement in the U.S., including:
▪ eliminating searches of residences in which officers don’t knock.
▪ eliminating written and unwritten loyalty oaths within law enforcement agencies.
▪ prohibiting any form of choking people during arrests.
▪ requiring all law enforcement agencies to have and enforce a clear de-escalation policy.” I feel that by promoting these standards, other police departments around the country will start implementing them into their system and this would drastically decrease violence amongst the black community.

Police brutality isn’t just seen in the black community, as I’ve read, it’s occurring worldwide with white individuals as well. Kyle Blankenship of kdhnews.com quotes “According to a Texas Rangers investigation into the incident, Blanchard led Geers onto a private drive in the 12900 block of Farm-to-Market 2410 before stopping his vehicle, stepping out and reaching for his pocket. Geers fired his service weapon eight times, striking Blanchard, who was not armed, four times and killing him. A Bell County grand jury cleared Geers of all criminal charges in the incident Feb. 15.” Another article by The Associated Press quotes “The officer, Brian Trainer, shot Terrence Sterling after a high-speed chase that ended with the 31-year-old revving his motorcycle into a police cruiser’s door, according to the statement. Federal officials said the level of alcohol in Sterling’s blood was 0.16, twice the legal limit. They said he also tested positive for marijuana.

I feel that police brutality needs to be stopped, as it endangers the lives of many Americans and we can’t live in peace knowing that innocent lives are taken. While I am a fan of the police, I do not encourage such behavior to be brought out because it makes the officers have a bad reputation and people wouldn’t want their help in times of crisis. We need to take a stand and end police brutality NOW!

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