Essay on Police Brutality

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There are many contemporary social justice issues that we are experiencing on a day-to-day basis amongst communities across the globe. These issues include poverty, racism, immigration, ecological destruction, incarceration, socioeconomic relations, and more. One social justice issue that truly grabs my attention anytime it is brought up is the uprising of police brutality across the United States. Police brutality lies under the scope of understanding in which police officers are unwarranted or use excessive and often illegal use of force against members of a community. The concept of social justice and humanity are at risk if solutions are not formulated and expressed to suit the betterment of our people. By standing together, hand-in-hand, we can make a difference and strive towards achieving these goals and others alike.

There are many forms of police brutality, ranging from assault and battery to turmoil, torment, and even officers going as far as committing homicide. Many people find police brutality to also embody feelings of provocation, extortion, verbal and emotional abuse, and other forms of maltreatment. Police brutality has seemed to follow a trend since its uprising, targeting minority groups of a given community. Minorities belonging to different races, ethnicities, and other specified classes have felt that police brutality has targeted them at some point in time. There have been many prior events that have highlighted the topic of police brutality in the United States over the last century (Moore, 2016).

To touch base on past events; in the early 1900’s poor white men and women, as well as members of Judaism and other immigrants, felt that they were experiencing brutality. Members of Italian-immigrant communities in the 1920s within the largest cities in America experienced tactics by police officers that were specified to them. In 1943, the LAPD attacked Mexicans during riots that were taking place across the city. Homosexuals felt that they were facing police brutality in 1969 during the Stonewall riots in which police officers raided a gay bar that ultimately gave rise to the gay rights movement. On September 11th of 2001, Muslims across the globe were violated by police officers that were falsely profiling and wrongfully harassing them for reasons unknown (Moore, 2016).

After witnessing different levels of police brutality in the United States over the years, the minority group that has experienced the worst of this social justice issue has been African Americans. Many people believe that the reason behind the prevalence of police brutality against African Americans is racism, but this is but a small fraction of the foundation of the issue. Many officers believe their peers must accept them or their department by taking on tasks that they feel take precedence. They utilize their self-proclaimed power in order to gain that respect and acceptance from their peers by subconsciously aiming at minority groups because it is what police officers in the past have deemed normal.

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Many victims of police brutality come from poor and low-grade socioeconomic ranks. Members of humanity that fall within this scope have found themselves lacking any influence in politics, finance, society, etc. Anti-brutality acts and campaigns have risen in all of the major cities in the United States, especially those with a high minority population. The actions of these campaigns and activists include picketing, boycotts, and monitoring all police actions for any potential violations and mishaps that may come about. In 2014, an unarmed young black man named Michael Brown was shot and killed in the streets of Missouri. The police officer that committed the crime was not indicted and never faced the consequences of his actions. After this occurred, activists across the country formed a movement that is more formally known as the Black Lives Matter movement. Just recently, the Black Lives Matter movement has led protests in over 15 major cities in our country after the police killing of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. During a protest in 2016, five members of the Dallas police department were shot and killed, and three more were gunned down in Baton Rouge just days later (Moore, 2016).

Anti-brutality has been on the rise year after year up until today. A new study found that shootings, chokeholds, and other levels of force that young men experience in America, are the sixth highest cause of death for men whose age ranges from 25-29. This study, conducted by researchers at Rutgers University, found that African American men are two and a half times more likely to be killed by law enforcement than African American women, American Indian men, and women, and Caucasian men and women throughout the span of their lives (Andrews, 2019). Until 2014, many police brutality stories were under rocks and never scratched the surface until later on. Having social media platforms and videos being taken of episodes containing actions of police brutality sheds light on this topic and gives viewers a sense of enlightenment. In 2018, there were more police killings than there were in the previous five years combined. In the year of 2014, when the activism of campaigns and rallies began, members of society thought that police brutality was at its worst, but that was only the case because of the fact that at this time people began to publicize and grant access to resources in order to become knowledgeable on the matter (King, 2019). There are important statistics to learn and understand when understanding the uprising of police brutality in America. At the beginning of 2014, 293 people had been killed by police in the United States. By the end of that year, there were 1,114 people in America killed by police (King, 2019). In the year 2015, police officers or other government officials killed an additional 1,222 people in the United States. In the year 2018, the number at the beginning of the year had increased by 378 casualties and ended up with over 1,300 people killed by police officers that year (King, 2019). The numbers have continued to increase and will continue to increase if this social justice issue is not recognized and admonished.

I believe that this social justice issue really violates all of the Franciscan values that are taught to us at the University; from respect for the dignity of each person, peace and justice, and reverence for creation, to the education for truth and service. The one that I feel is most violated in relation to police brutality would be peace and justice for all. The actions that have been conveyed by police officers and other government officials across the country violate the rights that human beings have to live a peaceful life of integrity. Every member of humanity has the right to live in peace and justice by being respected by government officials. We should feel a sense of safety and compassion from police officers and should feel that they provide a peaceful environment full of equity and justice. With police brutality, the sense of peace and justice is stripped from an individual, leaving them with a sense of hopelessness and defeat. In the future, there are many things that can be done to put an end to police brutality. I believe that some interventions include educating members of a community and police officers on the roles that each should take in providing a safe environment. They should each know what it takes to be a good person that brings justice to the table at all costs. I believe that we can also create organizations that coordinate a feeling of understanding between the officers and community members, allowing them to participate in activities that give rise to education, compassion, care, and a sense of brother/sisterhood amongst all mankind.

When delving into the ideologies of the monotheistic religions, you see that they have the same viewpoints on peace and justice and particularly about issues that relate to police brutality. As citizens of this world and this country, we are obligated to welcome our strangers, combat discrimination, pursue peace, and promote justice for the common good. Catholic social teachings strive to practice these virtues and offer these morals and ethics in order to shape our lives and the lives of others. This society that we are supposed to build will lie a foundation of respect for human life, economic and environmental justice, cultural diversity, and global solidarity (USCCB, 1998). In Islam, peace should be introduced to the world at every level and should be given and spread between all of mankind. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stated, “You will not enter paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I indicate to you something that will surely lead to your mutual love? Spread the greeting and spirit of peace between yourselves.” (Shakir, 2008). This statement sheds light on the teachings of this Prophet and Jesus as well to teach all of mankind about peace, justice, and all of the stepping-stones to a successful life and hereafter.

After reviewing the foundation of police brutality, it is clear to see that there is an ulterior motive behind the actions that fall within the scope of this social justice issue. All may not see it, but many social justice activists put their best foot forwards in providing the necessary information to enlighten all members of humanity on the matter. Citizens of all communities must take advantage of the knowledge that we are obtaining by standing for what is right and fighting injustice in an appropriate fashion. Police brutality lies under the scope of understanding in which police officers are unwarranted or use excessive and often illegal use of force against members of a community. The concept of social justice and humanity are at risk if solutions are not formulated and expressed to suit the betterment of our people. By standing together, hand-in-hand, we can make a difference and strive towards achieving these goals and others alike.

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Essay on Police Brutality. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/essay-on-police-brutality/
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