Opinion: Police Brutality
Police Brutality has existed since early times. Police sometimes believe that they can get away with breaking the law since there is no one above them. Currently, in 2017, African American men are most likely to become victims of police brutality.
Police brutality is defined as using excessive physical force or verbal assault when approaching an offender and when deadly force is used rather than other tactics to keep the environment peaceful.
African American men are seven times more likely to be shot than whites and thirty-one percent more likely to be pulled over. More black men are incarcerated than total prison populations of India, Argentina, Canada, Lebanon, Japan, Germany, Finland, Israel and England combined.
Victims of police brutality include the famous case of Rodney King in 1991, who was beaten by police officers in Los Angeles, causing the Los Angeles riots. This incident forever changed the relationship between law enforcement and minorities.
One of the more recent famous cases of police brutality was in Ferguson, Missouri regarding the shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson. Officer Wilson was not indicted which then sparked riots in the city and protests nationwide.
Black Lives Matter [BLM] is the most popular and inclusive movement regarding police brutality. It is a decentralized movement that has no main leader, but encourages all of its members to be leaders. The movement’s message is to address discrimination within the criminal justice system. Some blame BLM for police hatred, however their message is not anti-police.
This problem of police officers killing African-Americans may be diminished within the justice system. Officers should be required to wear constant streaming body cameras, so that there would be evidence should any physical altercation occur. The government has provided funding to thirty states for body cameras.
The Stayton Police Department in Oregon has been utilizing body cameras since 2015. Last October, the Marion County Police Department received a $99,000 grant from the federal Department of Justice to have all officers wear body cameras. In addition, Marion County itself added $80,000 to the grant money.
Officers should also be required to take implicit bias tests. Officers can then recognize their bias and may receive treatment such as psych evaluations and counseling to eliminate them.