- April 24, 2020
Instructor`s Name Outline
Thesis:Police brutality is a form of misconduct by police officers thatentails the application of excessive force and is attributable tovarious factors such as poor training, the fall-out with the public,investigations and internal reviews among others.
Police violence remains a dire human right violation.
Cases of unjustified shootings, physical assault, fatal chokings and violent treatment have contributed to the ongoing problem of police brutality in the America.
Police brutality can be traced back to the 20th Century. This police conduct became more dominant in the early 1960s, targeting individuals from the African-American race in the country`s Southern region
Police fall-out with the public ranks as a leading cause of their aggressive behavior.
Officers turn brutal if they feel vulnerable.
Police brutality can be attributed to the nonexistence of complaints or prosecution procedures for culpable officers.
Under international human laws, countries are required to facilitate the proper training of law enforcement officers.
the decentralization of policing has contributed to the lack of standardizations regarding the use of force
Fighting police brutality requires sufficient supervision from relevant authorities to bring perpetrators to justice as well as collect and compile data to explain the trends in the unethical practices
Police brutality remains a significant problem in not only the American but also the global society.
It is crucial for countries to develop efficient judicial systems that address pertinent issues regarding human rights abuses.
Police officers should be answerable to their actions, and government support to the police should not encourage impunity.
Policeviolence remains a dire human right violation, especially in theUnited States. Over the last decade, police have applied force andaggression in ways that leave people wondering if they aredischarging their duties. Recently, law enforcement seems to havetaken a different turn characterized by aggression and violence whendealing with the public. Cases of unjustified shootings, physicalassault, fatal chokings and violent treatment have contributed to theongoing problem of police brutality in the America. Worse still isthe fact that a greater proportion of these cases go unreported andundetected. This has partially encouraged violent police officers tocontinue applying force when dealing with the public. This new lawenforcement culture takes a variety of names from the public with themost common ones being excessive force, police brutality, and policeconduct. Police brutality is, therefore, a form of misconduct bypolice officers that entails the application of excessive force andis attributable to various factors such as poor training, thefall-out with the public, investigations and internal reviews amongothers.
Inthe United States, police brutality can be traced back to the 20thCentury. This police conduct became more dominant in the early 1960s,targeting individuals from the African-American race in the country`sSouthern region at the beginning of the Civil Rights movement in1963. For instance, according to Taylor (200), African-Americancitizens were subjected to beatings by police officers in 1965 whenthey tried to vote at a courthouse in Alabama. The officers beat theunharmed citizens using cattle prods and billy clubs because ofattempting to exercise their right to vote (Taylor 201). This attackwent ahead to the extent that the police officers decided to chargethe unharmed and non-violent demonstrators. This shows that the issueof police brutality is ingrained into the system and causes more harmthan good.
Policefall-out with the public perhaps ranks as the leading cause of theiraggressive behavior. According to statistics related to policeshootings, police officers killed more than 1,000 innocent civiliansin 2015 (SCHATMEIER1).On the same, approximately 40 police officers were also killed duringthe same year. With these statistics, it is clear why some sectionsof the public have held protests against the use of excessive forceby police officers. Most of these deaths may not have occurred ifpolice officers did not act too quickly. The hasty resort to usingfatal weapons when dealing with civilians is the leading cause ofshootings of unarmed civilians by police officers.
Forthis reason, some states in the United States like Indiana haveenacted laws that allow civilians to shoot law enforcement officersin self-defense (Schumm17).There has been a huge uproar from the public claiming that policeofficers are using their power in the wrong way. Numerous platformsincluding Websites such as "Copblock" have been establishedto protest against the brutality of police officers with the aim ofinfluencing their actions in a unified voice. This is enough proofthat the issue of police brutality s eating into the society and thatthe people are worried about the fact that individuals charged withthe mandate to protect them are turning against them.
Nevertheless,it can be argued that officers turn brutal if they feel vulnerable.In most cases, police officers deal with violent criminals some ofwhom attack them physically. In such instances, police officers havethe right to utilize their weapons for self-protection. Although theextent to which this should be allowed depends on the varioussituations, police officers should use force or weapons as a lastresort when all other attempts have failed. Instances in which theapplication of excessive force is justified include whereself-protection matters and when preventing dangerous individualsfrom escaping for public safety.
Moreover,criminal law maintains that the use of excessive force by policeofficers does not constitute a crime. However, the validity of thisprovision can only apply in situations, which police officers aredealing with dangerous criminals, violent, or resistant suspects.Brutality comes into play when officers use force against cooperativeand nonresistant suspects, or civilians. For instance, thePennsylvania case in which officers detained Robert Leone amounts tobrutality (Prenzler et al. 1). This man was brutally assaulted byofficers due to a low-speed chase following a hit and run accident.
Furthermore,police brutality can be attributed to the nonexistence of complaintsor prosecution procedures for culpable officers. Most of the casesinvolving police brutality go unreported, while those that arereported are taken to the attention of the police department forreview, but are eventually cast aside. This lack of legal ordisciplinary actions against the officers found guilty makes themabuse their power and authority by even greater exploits. This bringsinto attention the role that Congress plays to empower the Departmentof Justice to stop police brutality. The 1994 Violent Crime ControlLaw Enforcement Act was passed by the Congress to help n reducing touse of excessive force by police officers, but it is rarely applied(Gületal. 204).The failure to address these cases using the available means onlyleads to more cases of abuse thus, widening the rift between lawenforcement officers and the public.
Internationallaws on human rights guarantee the public the right to securingeffective remedies for any forms of violations of their rights. Inthe United States, the government bears a corresponding duty to availaccess to such remedies regarding the use of excessive force bypolice officers (Williams54).The mere prohibition of the arbitrary termination of the life of anindividual cannot be effective without independent and accessibleproceedings, which seek to verify the legality of the use of force.Therefore, the State has the mandate to avail reforms andlegislations that facilitate such processes efficiently. However,minority communities continue to face increasing challenges regardingaccess to speedy investigations whenever they encounter cases ofpolice brutality (Baraket al. 63).This has been the situation between the police departments in Americaand Black Americans and Hispanics in inner cities. Without beingrooted in the law, it becomes challenging to report and deal withcases of excessive use of force by the police. However, there existsa challenge.
ByJune 2015, the District of Columbia and nine states did not have anylaws regulating the utilization of excessive force by policeofficers. Moreover, the majority of the existing laws areunsatisfactory since they do not meet the standards in the domesticconstitution as well as international laws (Smithet al. 65).Therefore, this gap enables law enforcement officers to abuse theirpowers while hiding behind the lack of clarity in the laws governingtheir mode of operations. Additionally, the country’s legalframework does not specify clearly the need to exhaust non-violentinterventions before resorting to the utilization of lethal forces(Williams102).Therefore, the choice of a certain type of intervention depends onlyon opinions and instincts of law enforcement officers, therefore,lacking any reliable references. The lack of definitive laws exposesinvestigation processes to disarray. The investigative officers lackthe foundation and premises within which they can conductinvestigations and recommend the prosecution of law enforcementofficers (Smithet al. 360).
Underinternational human laws, countries are required to facilitate theproper training of law enforcement officers. A critical aspect ofthe training regime should touch on the lawful use of different typesof forces, and the circumstances that guarantee the graduation ofnon-lethal force to lethal intervention (Baraket al. 204).Consequently, the training regime should equip police officers withthe ability to resist the discriminatory use of force. In the UnitedStates, there is a clear evidence of the existence of discriminatoryuse of force. Black communities and Hispanics suffer the majority ofbrutal police actions. Largely, the problem stems from the lack ofproper training for police officers to understand the psychologicaland physical dangers of subjecting the public to lethal force duringthe process of law enforcement (Baraket al. 211).Since police officers are employed as the agents of the state, it isimportant to inform them of their obligations under the global humanrights laws regarding the use of lethal force. This can only happenduring initial training and subsequent capacity building seminars.
Inthe United States, the number of police officers is more than 800000,and belong to about 18000 different/separate state and local lawenforcement agencies. Additionally, there are 12,500 policedepartments that all work to maintain law and order (Cooper1194).In this regard, the numerous agencies and police departments may nothave similar training curriculums/training schedules. In the UnitedStates, the decentralization of policing has contributed to the lackof standardizations regarding the use of force. Moreover, there islimited transparency regarding police training practices and policies(Wallet al. 103).These problems impede the execution of any meaningful evaluations todetermine whether police officers stick to the practices acquiredduring training. It is, therefore, difficult to determine the sourcesof abusive conduct and design effective solutions in response to theunderlying shortcomings in the police training manuals.
Fightingpolice brutality requires sufficient supervision from relevantauthorities to bring perpetrators to justice as well as collect andcompile data to explain the trends in the unethical practices. Inthis regard, internal review boards assist in monitoring the conductof police officers by receiving, processing as well as conductinginvestigations of various complaints against police officers(Williams110).The approaches in internal affairs divisions vary according to thepolicies of various police departments and agencies. However, thesignificance of internal affairs divisions requires the establishmentof standardized rules and policies, which regulate their activities.Internal review boards should implement punitive and preventivecontrols to deal with officers accused of using excessive force.Internal review boards have succeeded in fighting unethical practicessuch as corruption but have failed to address pertinent issuesregarding police brutality (Cooper1188).In many cases, the boards bring about significant police reformsafter the emergence of big scandals within the police departments.Hence, they are reactionary as opposed to putting in place measuresthat deter brutal police behavior.
Policebrutality remains a significant problem in not only the American butalso the global society. Citizens fund the police operations andsalaries through taxes, and it is their duty to protect them bymaintaining law and order while respecting human rights provisions.Governments have the mandate to ensure the proper training of lawenforcement officers and monitor their conduct to ensure that theyabide by human rights principles. Consequently, it is crucial forcountries to develop efficient judicial systems that addresspertinent issues regarding human rights abuses. Police officersshould be answerable to their actions, and government support to thepolice should not encourage impunity. The way the Police handle lawenforcement determines the outcomes of their interventions as well asthe level of cooperation they can receive from the public regardingcommunity policing. It is the duty of police officers to respectthemselves and the rights of the public.
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