Police brutality involves members of law enforcement engaging in acts of misconduct by using excessive force to cause emotional, mental, or physical harm to members of society. Causing ferocious assaults to and manipulating citizens go against the role which law enforcement officers were sworn to serve which is to maintain law and order and protect citizens. Police brutality thus amounts to abuse of police authority and violation of the rights of citizens. The situation is especially appalling if a citizen is innocent of any wrongdoing. Often, the brutality leaves victims with serious emotional and physical scars and even leads to death in extreme cases. Police brutality violates human rights and should be curbed through effective measures.
Police brutality in America majorly emanates from racial profiling whereby police officers develop negative feelings and hate towards certain religions, sexes, or races. Apparently, police officers believe that if one person from a given race or religion disrespects them, it would imply that all members of that race or religion are disrespectful towards the police. Race has particularly contributed significantly towards police brutality in the American society. Minorities have been exposed to discriminatory treatment and physical abuse by law enforcement. Apart from physical abuse, minorities have also been subjected to humiliations and non-violent harassments (Ruth, 2015). For instance, there is a tendency whereby African American drivers are pulled over by police and put through thorough questioning with the intent of finding them at fault or probably creating one against them (Ruth, 2015). Whether based on race or otherwise, the effects of police brutality on a citizen would be far-reaching.
Given the harrowing experience it puts citizens through, police brutality should be stopped. The first step in this respect would be for the internal affairs department to revamp and improve every police unit in the country. Since it is this department that is charged with handling the conduct of police, it should reevaluate leadership roles in police units by way of ensuring that all the units uphold and respect human integrity and rights. It should put in place systems through which “problem police officers” may be exposed before they go on the rampage tramping on citizens’ rights. There should also be firm disciplinary actions against officers who engage in the use of excessive force and brutality. Every time the department conducts a review, it should be focused on the review activities and clearly document all of them. Implementing this solution would not cost much because it is just about better management of an already active system (Schenwar, Makare and Price, 2016).
Another solution, as suggested by Williams (2015), would be for police departments to reevaluate, revise, and modify their training systems. The departments should consider adopting new training methods on areas that usually send police officers into being brutal, such as racism. For example, they should educate officers on how to handle mentally ill or non-violent citizens, how to go about a post chase arrest, and how to operate pepper spray in the correct manner. On that note, police departments should thoroughly investigate the effects of such weapons as pepper spray before releasing them for use on citizens. Additionally, officers should be trained on how they may handle the effects of the use of police weapons and this should include how to offer or access proper medical assistance for victims. Moreover, a more effective training policy should be developed by choosing qualified and suitable trainers. Trainers chosen should have no history of any kind of misconduct.
A third solution would be to conduct background checks so as to ensure that people who are potentially violent are not recruited into the police force. Such checks should be conducted in combination with a tracking system for preventing possible reassignment of terminated “problem officers” to new positions in new stations. Robertiello (2017) advises that when an officer quits or is fired from the department for human rights violation, relevant information should be submitted to a tracking office by the department. It should then be a requirement that a thorough check is conducted by recruiters with the tracking office before considering any applicant for hiring. Upon being found guilty of misconduct or brutality, an officer should have their certificates revoked so they may have nothing to identify them as police officers anymore. Until they are possibly re-certified, such officers should not be employed again. This way, no “problem officer” would ever get reabsorbed into the police department.
Police brutality is a serious problem that violates human rights and abuses police authority. It goes against the spirit of protecting citizens and maintaining law and order which is the major role of the police. As a matter of fact, police brutality is among the factors that severely infringe into civil rights in the United States. This is why there should be an end to such police misconduct as verbal assault, unlawful shootings, and physical abuse. The situation should be salvaged through measures that would ensure professionalism and civility in how the police handle citizens. Such measures may include reevaluation and modification of police training programs, reevaluation of leadership roles in police units, and conducting background checks during police recruitment.
Robertiello, G. (2017). The Use and Abuse of Police Power in America: Historical Milestones and Current Controversies. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
Ruth. M. (2015). Police Brutality. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press.
Schenwar, M., Makare, J., & Price, A. Y. (2016). Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?: Police Violence and Resistance in the United States. Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books.
Williams, K. (2015). Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America. Oakland, CA: AK Press.
Police brutality violates human rights and should be curbed through effective measures.
Police brutality in America majorly emanates from racial profiling whereby police officers develop negative feelings and hate towards certain religions and races.
Given the harrowing experience it puts citizens through, police brutality should be stopped.
Police departments should reevaluate, revise, and modify their training systems.
Background checks should be conducted to ensure that people who are potentially violent are not recruited into the police force.
Police brutality is a serious problem that violates human rights and abuses police authority. It goes against the spirit of protecting citizens and maintaining law and order which is the major role of the police. It should be addressed through measures that would ensure professionalism and civility in how the police handle citizens.