There are many incidents of brutality that have gone viral. Gone are the days of your Sheriff Andy Dalton and his Deputy Barney Fife, friendly cops whose duty it is to serve and protect. Today’s police force has been ‘militaries’, not only in weaponry and tactics, but attitude as well. Not all officers are bad cops though, but with all the attention given to some police officers abusing their authority, the saying “one bad apple spoils the bin” definitely is the growing sentiment of public attitude towards police. Alice work is surely not an easy job. As stated on the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) website, “every day, law enforcement officers face danger while carrying out their responsibilities. When dealing with a dangerous-or unpredictable-situation, police officers usually have very little time to access it and determine the proper response. ” Proper training techniques about how to access and handle situations teach officers how to implement use of force. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (CAP) in its study, Police Use of Force in America 2001 , defined use of force as ‘the amount of effort required by the police to compel compliance by an unwilling subject’ There are many instances of abuse of how the use of force protocol is abused by an officer and very little done about it. One case is that of Danville Muddles, a 20 year old white female who was tasters while in handcuffs. She tried to run away from the officer who instead of pursuing her, which she was only footsteps away from him, was shot with the taste and subsequently fell to the pavement hitting her head.
The injury to her head left her in a permanent vegetative state. The officer was cleared and actions found justified. Another incident of brutality involving a 15 year old girl who was reportedly a runaway, was caught on video by Luis Santiago. The video shows the officer repeatedly punching the girl as her mother begging the officer to stop. The young girl was “screaming that she couldn’t breathe as her mother attempted to explain to the officers that she has mental problems as well as asthma. (Rules) On Santiago Backbone page he stated that one officer explained that the arresting officer “acted correctly/’ and “if she needed to, she could have shot her dead. That is pretty disturbing to hear considering the 15 year old girl was unarmed. A particularly disturbing case is reported by the NY Daily News, in which Kaki Gurgle, 28, was “dying in a darkened stairwell at a Brooklyn housing development, the cop who fired the fatal bullet was testing his union representative. (Paradoxical) It’s reported that the officers were incommunicado for six and a half minutes. When the officers “finally resurfaced on the radio, they reported an accidental discharge. ” The most recent example of police brutality which has thrown the subject onto the national spotlight due to the civil unrest it has caused is the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager killed by a white police officer, in a predominately black community.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the actual facts of the case as to what really took place but the fact is whatever happened after the struggle in the cruiser, Michael Brown turned and ran after a shot went off. The officer then pursued Brown yelling freeze. Brown reportedly turned around and went towards the officer, unarmed, and was shot and killed. The Grand Jury cleared the Officer sparking tots in the streets. Probably the most disturbing fact was that Brown had been shot at least six times, including twice in the head.
When researching statistics for deaths caused by police officers due to excessive force, one reaches a startling conclusion, there is nearly no way to actually determine this. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) keeps these statistics but many cases are not reported to them by local law enforcement agencies. There is an unfortunate assumption that the FBI “oversees” police departments across America. Local police departments are not required to port to the FBI although they work together cooperatively, they are not legally obligated.
The public has begun to cry out for more transparency of police brutality. We should know actual statistics of police killings so we can track it to see if there really is a growing problem. “When cops are killed, there is a very careful account and there’s a national database,” said Jeffery Fagan, a law professor at Columbia university (Barry). Police officer deaths seem more important than ordinary citizens deaths. With no consequences coming down on police officers for taking their use f force powers too far, what will prevent them from abusing the authority?
There are several causes of police brutality that have been explored including: job-related stress, racism, group psychology, an elitist attitude toward civilians, lax police discipline, and the need for self-defense. Police officers who abuse their authority need to be held accountable and face consequences for their actions just like common citizens. Communities need police to protect the populace from real criminals, but if they lose the trust of the police, what happens next? DO the days of mobsters and organize crime return to offer protection for profit?