How has police brutality risen in the past years?
Police brutality has been present since police stations were established, but recently police brutality has been on the rise. Police brutality has been in the rise in forms of killings and arrest that involve excessive force, such as Freddie Gray. Police Brutality can result in beatings, unnecessary force or excessive force, but sometimes these cases result in deaths. According to a 2015 violence police report, police killed at least 1152 people during 2015. This angers many because it is believed that police are supposed to protect us, but when civilians are killed by police officers, they seem to be doing the opposite. Out of the 1152 people killed in 2015, one of the cases is the infamous Freddie Gray case. Freddie Gray was violently arrested, during his ride to the police station, officers did not buckle him and he received fatal spinal injuries. The officers involved in the case did not get charged. Senior Writer of CNN, Catherine E. Stoichet, states Gray's death became a symbol of the black community's mistrust of police and triggered days of protests and riots in Baltimore. His death sparked controversy of racial relations of the community and police officers, which the community sought better training for police and other ways to prevent police brutality.
What are the consequences of police brutality?
Police brutality has more consequences than those that are obvious. In addition to injuries that some civilians get, police brutality causes distrust in a community and is expensive with legal fees and police brutality fees. After David Castellani was beaten by police officers, he received over 200 stitches on his neck. This is not even as bad as some other cases, which result in death or paralyzation. These altercations cause tremendous distrust between the community and the police officers. New data shows that trust in police officers has been decreasing. The percentage of those who trust police officers is sitting at an all time low of 52%, which ties 1993, shortly after the Rodney King incident and the riots. Distrust between police officers and the community brings in more conflicts which will likely lead to more police brutality. Along with the trust issues associated with police brutality and the injuries that occur, legal cost and brutality fees for the police officers cause problems too. In Chicago, police brutality fees and legal cost have costed Chicago around $600 million since 2004. $600 million is an exceptionally high number, for brutality fees and legal cost, this cost is highly unneeded, which can be fixed with better policing and more trust between police officers.
What factors contribute to police brutality and police investigations?
Throughout police history, patterns of unnecessary police stops and who police stop has been constant. Most police brutality cases occur when police stop civilians on false suspicion and most stops include those who are Latino or African-American. Most stops are unnecessary because most stops do not end in arrest, or any legal actions. During a study of four and a half million police stops in New York, only six percent resulted in arrest, the other six percent resulted in summonses, so eighty-eight percent of stops are not to stop crime but are just based on false suspicion because there is no issues with the civilians. If there are four and a half million stops per year and most of them are off false suspicion, people who are stopped off false suspicion feel violated and targeted, which may lead to refusal to cooperate, leading problems between the officer and the civilian, such as excessive force. Among police stops, most have shown a greater chance of using excessive force when dealing with minorities. According to Data acquired by the Justice Department, in Chicago African-Americans were nearly ten times more likely than whites to have excessive force on them, and eight times more likely to have weapons, such as tasers, guns and more used on them. Excessive use of force against minorities leads to investigation of the police officer, and sometimes lead to investigations of police departments.
Why are more police reports being filed?
More and more police reports are happening because of the increase in unjust stops and the targeting of minorities during police stops. Police have been stopping people at an all time high. The New York Times Editorial Board, states, “In 2011, at the height of the program, the police stopped people on the streets an astonishing 685,000 times — up from just 97,000 a decade earlier.” If more stops are happening and most of them are unreasonable, then there will be more complaints because when civilians are stopped with no reason, it seems like that are targeted by the police and were stopped unfairly; therefore that increase in police stops leads to more complaints filed. Also with these police stops, a majority of those who are stopped are minorities, mostly black people. According to a report by federal and state judges, on the San Francisco Police Department, “Black people accounted for less than 15 percent of all stops in 2015, they accounted for over 42 percent of all non-consent searches following stops.” If a majority of those are stopped are black and blacks account for a minority of the population, then that makes cops seem prejudice and seem like they target minorities.
What measures are police departments and the government taking to lower problems between civilians and officers?
There are many different ways that courts and the government are resolving the police brutality issue. Some of the ways they are resolving the problem are by implementing body cameras, and requiring police to justify why they stopped a civilian. Recent reforms to the New York Police department due to racial profiling and frequent police stops have made investigated officers wear body cameras. According to The New York Times Editorial Board, “A one-year pilot project requiring about 1,000 officers in 20 precincts to wear body cameras will begin soon.” These body cameras will be used to determine if officers and civilians will act differently, or more responsibly during an arrest, search or questioning. Another problem with police brutality is they usually occur from unreasonable stops. The New York Times also states, “The bills, known as the Right to Know Act, require officers to identify and explain themselves when they stop people, and to make sure people know when they can refuse to be searched.” Articulating their reasons for conducting a stop is a step to narrowing down unreasonable police stops and frisk. These reforms will also be reviewed to see if their stop was constitutional and reasonable.