Why Is Police Brutality a Social Problem: Research Essay

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Police brutality has been an ongoing issue for a significant amount of time now. It is constantly being reported by the media for events such as racism and social violations. Law enforcers are committing violent acts against those who are innocent and need their protection. This is an act of abusing their rights and freedom violation. It does not stop here, for many years, police have also been reported to mistreat their suspects and force them to make a false confession. Statistically speaking, the number of police killings of civilians has increased over the last five years peaking in 2015 at 1,187 followed closely by 2018 with a figure of 1,164. This is just another example of how there is little to nothing being done about the crisis at hand. In that same time period between 2014 and 2018, 4,962 were killed by gunshots. The common misconception about police brutality is that it is only the African American population who is falling victim to this injustice but statistics say otherwise. It is, in fact, Native Americans who make up the majority of the statistics with African Americans following closely behind them. Moreover, to further put these statistics into perspective, African-Americans account for approximately 12.5% of the overall U.S. population while accounting for more than 22% of those killed by police. Whites make up two-thirds of the American population and account for less than half of those killed by police, note, African Americans do not have the highest police-killing rate among all ethnic groups and this is because Native Americans are scarce and that is why their figure is so much higher. Furthermore, the most alarming part of this topic and the data provided is the fact that it is based on police officers, but it does not include other forms of violence committed by other parties such as vigilantes, security guards, and neighbors. There is so much injustice in the system because the rate at which officers are charged with crimes has fallen by 90% and the charge-to-conviction rate has almost vanished completely.

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Additionally, it is very evident that police brutality has been an ongoing social issue for many years. Incidents go all the way back to Rodney King’s case on March 3rd, 1991. King was caught by L.A.P.D officers after a high-speed chase where they proceeded to pull him out of his car and beat him on camera. The officers involved were indicted on charges of assault, however, after a three-month trial, a predominantly white jury acquitted the officers. Another notable example is Eric Garners’ case. He was killed by N.Y.P.D officers after being confronted and placed in a chokehold as a result of suspicion. He was thought to be selling untaxed cigarettes on one of the streets in New York. While in the chokehold position, he repeatedly said “I can’t breathe” Throughout, Garner did not show any resistance but was still forced down to the ground where he met his untimely death by suffocation as multiple officers were on top of him in an attempt to keep him down. Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who was primarily responsible for Garner’s death was suspended without pay for one month. Before the suspension, he was earning an annual salary of $85,000. A grand jury found “no reasonable cause” to indict him on criminal charges and regardless of Garners’ tragic death, a U.S. Attorney said the evidence “does not establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Panteleo acted in a willful violation of federal law.” In contrast, in the uncommon case where the police officers are convicted, it never comes easy. To even stand a chance, the victim has to have a very strong case against the officer for the jury to believe them over an officer and the reality is that in almost all cases an officer is believed over a civilian in terms of credibility. Even when an officer is charged, they’re rarely convicted so to argue that there is fairness in the conviction is futile. For those who think it’s not a real issue and not race-based, there was an incident in 2016 where a police officer was caught on camera pulling over a woman. The woman can be heard in a state of panic after being told to reach down and get her phone. She says “I’ve just seen way too many videos of cops -” “But you’re not black,” the officer interrupted in an attempt to console the woman. “Remember, we only kill black people.” Not to anyone’s surprise, the police officer suffered no convictions but instead was made to retire. No disciplinary action could take place since he was longer employed and thus entitled to his retirement.

Police brutality is not only in the streets; it is even behind bars as earlier discussed. Possibly one of the most well-known cases is that of Sandra Bland, a story that’s not unfamiliar to most which started outside in the streets. One of the oldest and most pathetic excuses police officers use after committing those kinds of acts is that they ‘feared for their lives’ in the case of Sandra Bland. Encinia had absolutely nothing to be afraid of as he approached her car and shortly arrested her. Throughout the whole first half of the investigation, the only form of conviction made against Mr. Encinia was perjury because he was dishonest about what really happened on the day of the arrest. It didn’t end there, three days later, Sandra Bland was found dead in her jail cell having hanged herself. At least that’s what the authorities said, but that topic is still up for debate. Encinia was indicted for perjury but the charges were dropped at the price that he would never work in the law enforcement field. Although some police officers are convicted, more often than not, those charges are dropped. The unfortunate reality of the situation is that police brutalities have become normalized with less and less being done about them. All things considered, one would ask themselves why police brutalities occur in the first place. What are the reasons for the increase in the frequency of police brutality incidents? The obvious answer would be fear, but there is so much more to it. A common trend that can be seen throughout all police brutality cases is the fact that consequences for misconduct are minimal. Police officers can get away with almost anything without any major consequences. Secondly, minorities — the African American population, are unfairly targeted. The impact on American society is far greater than someone would think, it has gone as far as causing mental health issues among the black community. A black Detroit-based reporter spoke about his PTSD and mentioned the intensity of the emotions he feels when he sees police car lights flashing behind him. It is the sad reality of a great number of people who have had similar experiences as him and to think it is all from being afraid of the same people who are supposed to make you feel safe is disheartening. All things considered, it is more than clear that police brutality is a very serious problem in American society. People could begin to record their encounters with police in case something doe happens. Although far from the actual solution, they can be very resourceful. This issue that America is facing doesn’t seem to be getting the real attention that it should. People are gunned down too often and something has to change before it’s too late and the process continues to repeat itself for generations.

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Why Is Police Brutality a Social Problem: Research Essay. (2023, September 19). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 20, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/why-is-police-brutality-a-social-problem-research-essay/
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