Why aren’t police officers who commit crimes convicted? Police brutality has been a very common situation in America. In today’s society, many citizens’ sense of safety has been lost. According to Washington Post, many citizens feel more afraid of the police, rather than protected. The cause of this is police brutality. Police brutality is the use of excessive force by a police officer.
Many police brutality incidents results in injuries or even death. The year 2015 was marked by countless high-profile incidents of police brutality against minorities. In a large amount of these occurrences, the police officer involved was never charged with a crime. Even though the officers used unnecessary excessive force, the police officers were granted their jobs back. These incidents are very frequent, and the police officers involved have rarely had any consequences. Also, in multiple situations, the victim was innocent and did not have a weapon.
Several people believe that police brutality happens because of racism, or the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race. Others believe that it happens when a police officer takes advantage of their power. Many believe both theories. Regardless of the cause, police brutality is affecting the citizens of America. It affects the sense of safety in a large amount of United States citizens.
However, minorities are more concerned about their own safety. Minorities are more at risk for a police officer using excessive force towards them than a Caucasian person. However, all races in America have been affected by police brutality. The victims are not receiving their justice due to the exclusion of convection for police officers. The year 2015 had an astounding amount of incidents of police brutality against minorities. A very fitting example of a police brutality incident is the case of Eric Garner.
Eric Garner was a 43-year-old African-American man. He was a father of six. According to a video recorded by a bystander, Eric was being attacked by multiple police. They were attempting to arrest Garner, although he allegedly did not commit any crimes (Goodman). After telling the police officers that he did not do anything wrong, the police officers began to tackle him. One officer put him into a choke hold. Afterwards, Garner began to repeatedly scream, “I can’t breathe!” However, none of the police officers seemed concerned. The chokehold later resulted in Eric Garner’s death.
His death sparked a larger national debate about the police’s use of excessive force. Eric Garner’s daughter, Erica Garner, was interviewed by Amy Goodman. In the interview, Goodman revealed that one police officer in the incident was charged. Ironically, the African-American officer who was charged was not involved in the death of Erica’s father. The officer was charged because they believed she failed to supervise. Erica believed that was an act of racism and mockery to punish the officer who was not involved. She found it ironic that the only African-American officer was convicted when she was not involved in the death of her father.
She wanted the police department to convict the officers who murdered her father. According to Erica Garner, the officer who put her father in a chokehold, Officer Pantaleo, should have been charged. She does not feel comfortable with the fact that Officer Pantaleo is still a working police officer. She said he is portrayed as a monster in the African-American community. Erica Garner said she did not feel protected by police after the incident occurred with her father. Eric Garner did not receive justice because Officer Pantaleo still has not been charged with murder.Police brutality occurs most frequently within the minority population of America.
There was an astounding amount of cases. Just within 2017, the police have murdered 1,049 U.S.
citizens. African-Americans were three times more likely to get shot by the police than a caucasian person. In May 2015, the Washington Post analyzed the 385 fatal police shootings in the United States. The report showed that African-Americans were to be killed at three times the rate of Caucasians or other minorities. In August 2015, another Washington Post article revealed that African American men account for 40% of the 60 unarmed people who had been fatally shot in that time period (Somashekhar). It was also discovered that in 98% of the police brutality incidents did not result with an officer being charged with a crime. The state of California did not track basic information of those incidents, such as the number of the shootings (Fisher). Jim Fisher, a retired FBI agent, found more than 1,000 incidents nationwide of police brutality in 2011.
“The police were killing people unnecessarily,” said Fisher. Fisher also said, “The police essentially are investigating themselves, and the American public really doesn’t trust the results of an internal investigation that says, ‘We have cleared these officers.’ ” Within the large amount of police brutality incidents, a very small amount of the police officers involved were charged. It was least likely for a police officer to be convicted if their team were doing the investigation theirselves.
The fact that the police officers and their department were investigating their own cases raised many questions. It caused an uproar in society. Many people were outraged due to the unfair ruling of the guilty police officers. They were rarely convicted because they were being protected by their department and the country. The shocking amount of deaths has affected citizens’ sense of safety. Many citizens feel unprotected due to the lack of punishments for the guilty policemen. Overall, many people do not feel protected by the police. In one incident, the police officer claimed that the young man was a criminal, and that the young man was armed.
The officer said the boy stole from a store. That is the story of an unarmed African-American teenager of the name Michael Brown. The police officer shot him between six and eleven times. Michael Brown put his hands up, yelling, “I don’t have a gun – stop shooting!” The officer did not show mercy, and shot Brown several more times. Michael Brown was pronounced dead (Grayson). The police officer was not charged. The officers claimed that Michael had stolen from a local store earlier that day. Allegedly, that was the officer’s reason for attacking Brown.
However, an infinite loop of the surveillance video from the local store was released to the media. There was little to no evidence that the officer knew of the store incident or that he connected it to Brown. According to an article published by Grayson, Grayson believed that many people were too willing to ignore the effects of police brutality. Members of Brown’s family say that the police should be protecting the citizens, instead of attacking them (Piper). Brown’s family filed a lawsuit against a police officer who was involved in the death.
The officer, Jackson,was accused of civil rights violations by employing Ferguson police officers who used unjustified, unreasonable, and illegal use of excessive force, including deadly force (Piper). In another incident, Samuel DuBose, an African-American middle-aged man, was shot in the head after being pulled over for driving without a front tag. “America cannot continue to sanction the killings of unarmed people of color,” lawyer Benjamin Crump said. Few parents felt afraid for their children.
The youngest victim by May 2015, was only the age of 16. According to David, he said it would feel like police violence was waiting on every corner when raising an African-American boy. According to Hughes, it was hard to raise a child knowing that police officers viewed him as a threat just because the color of his skin. Hughes believes that minorities in America are left at a disadvantage. Even when innocent, minorities are being killed due to excessive force by the police. Police brutality puts fear into U.S citizens because the police officer does not usually suffer any consequences for murdering an innocent victim.
In conclusion, police brutality is a major problem in America. Many lives have been taken because of the use of excessive force by a police officer. Unfortunately, many officers were not charged due to a corruption within the justice system. Multiple police officers continue to serve their duty to America after their crimes.
Many citizens of America demands justice. They do not feel safe in America. Police brutality has jeopardized their sense of safety. In a protest in Ferguson in 2014, one protester said, “There is no protection in America for us minorities.” (Wong). Activists started a movement known as “Black Lives Matter.” It relates to the people in the African-American community who demands justice. Black Lives Matter helps bring awareness of situations.
They often do protests, meetings, and write articles to bring attention to the frequently recurring events. Social media has also been brought into the movement. Black Lives Matter activists have taken their movement to the social media applications Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Due to the the current time period, many people spend a large amount of time on social media. Therefore, the activists makes posts about each police brutality situation to make the topic trending. The group also takes surveys of people.
They usually ask questions regarding their safety in America. In one survey, citizens were asked if they felt safe after hearing about those unfortunate events. Majority of the people surveyed said no. One citizen said, “Of course not. That could have been me or one of my family members!” (Finnegan). Therefore, police brutality affects the citizens of America’s sense of safety. Police officers have been protected by their departments, although they have committed crimes.
After recognizing those very unfortunate events, several people demand justice.