Police brutality in America Essay
Police brutality in America, 499 words essay example
The current trend of police brutality in America is a national crisis. The number of American citizens killed by law enforcement in the US last year was 1,000 after police officers in Oakland, California, shot and killed a man who they claim pointed a fake gun at them in December 2015 It was the 883rd fatal shooting by a law enforcement officer in 2015, according to the records. Another forty seven people died after being shocked with officer's Tasers, thirty three died after being struck by a police officer's vehicle, and thirty six were killed in custody. The shooting was also the 183rd death recorded in California, which held the greatest total last year of any state. Ten states, though, have recorded more deaths per capita, with Oklahoma having the highest rate. The US government does not currently publish any comprehensive record of people killed by law enforcement, even after a series of notorious deaths caused a national protest movement and demands from activists and lawmakers alike for better data on the subject. With the mother of Michael Brown, whose killing was instrumental to the formation of the Black Lives Matter movement speaking at the United Nations, police brutality, particularly anti-black police brutality has received international attention to the plight of black Americans here as well as instances of police brutality abroad.
What is the heart of this issue? Simple. The problem is much more multifaceted than people are willing to admit officer training, departmental supervision and accountability, policy-these are areas that need massive reform. How do we even begin to attack the problem? The question has to be asked what is trying to be accomplished with policing. If the slogan is "to protect and serve" but it comes down to "to protect property and serve rich whites" what is its real value? They don't go hard after mail fraud in hopes that they'll prevent inside trading or credit card fraud. Instead the overwhelmingly target is poor communities of black and brown people who are arrested for things as simple as loitering. So the first step is admitting what policing currently consists of. It boils down to the surveillance and harassment of poor black and brown people in the service of maintaining white supremacy. What then should the police force be about? That's a question that needs answering, but not until you address the root causes of the behaviors we find so undesirable that we have regulated them through a progressively violent police force. We have to start with a model that sees justice not as arrest, trial, and imprisonment. Justice needs to look like jobs, affordable housing, healthcare, education, economic security. That doesn't mean all of what we now consider crime would disappear, but if we start from there we can then map out what nondiscriminatory, evenhanded, fair policing could look like. What we have now is a white supremacist patriarchy, and thus police that serve to uphold that structure. We need to acknowledge and deal with the root.