In the past couple of years, there has been an extreme rise in police related deaths due to racial profiling and excessive force used by the police. It seems as though African Americans are being targeted due to the color of their skin. In a Washington Post article, the writer states, “The #BlackLivesMatter movement has sparked nationwide protests and has raised awareness worldwide about the unequal treatment of black people by police in the United States.” (R. Natarajan 15 Dec. 2014) This amendment states all citizens should not be deprived life, liberty or property. In a Bloomberg article, it states, “14th Amendment …….As summarized more than 20 years ago by the great constitutional scholar David Currie, the clause means that “the states must protect blacks to the same extent that they protect whites: by punishing those who do them injury.” (C. Sunstein Sep 1, 2015 )This is a civil rights issue because African Americans are feeling inferior to whites and are scared for their lives, which is a violation of the 14th Amendment. Also, African Americans feel as though their rights of the 1st Amendment and 4th Amendment have been neglected currently as well as in history. Furthermore, this also connects to events in United States history such as Bloody Sunday and the murder of Emmett Till . The question to ask is, would any of these people have been killed if they were white? Policemen are using excessive force on African Americans due to racial profiling.
Firstly, Police using excessive force on African Americans because of racial profiling connects to Bloody Sunday. In a Black Past article, it states, “Six hundred marchers assembled in Selma on Sunday, March 7, and, led by John Lewis and other SNCC and SCLC activists, crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River en route to Montgomery. Just short of the bridge, they found their way blocked by Alabama State troopers and local police who ordered them to turn around. When the protesters refused, the officers shot teargas and waded into the crowd, beating the nonviolent protesters with billy clubs and ultimately hospitalizing over fifty people.” (c. Clayborne) In the same article it also states,”On February 17, protester Jimmy Lee Jackson was fatally shot by an Alabama state trooper.” (C. Clayborne) Clearly, when African Americans tried to peacefully march to Birmingham, the Alabama police wrongfully impeded the march and beat them and even killed some for trying to make change. This connects to today because African Americans keep on getting arrested by the police for no reason. Also, African Americans could be killed by police officers for very small reasons. To conclude, police using excessive force on African Americans because of racial profiling connects to Bloody Sunday.
Even though there are many similarities between Police using excessive force on African Americans because of racial profiling and the Civil Rights Movement, there are also some differences. Emmett Till, an African American teenager from Chicago who was visiting relatives in Mississippi, was brutally murdered because he “flirted” with a white lady. In a History.com article, it states, “He went in, bought some candy, and on the way out was heard saying, “Bye, baby” to the woman. There were no witnesses in the store, but Carolyn Bryant–the woman behind the counter–claimed that he grabbed her, made lewd advances, and then wolf-whistled at her as he sauntered out.” (History.comStaff 2010) Later on in the same History.com article, it states, “On September 23, the all-white jury deliberated for less than an hour before issuing a verdict of “not guilty,” explaining that they believed the state had failed to prove the identity of the body. Many people around the country were outraged by the decision and also by the state’s decision not to indict Milam and Bryant on the separate charge of kidnapping.”(History.comStaff 2010) Bryant, a white woman, falsely accused Till of rape and other misdemeanors, when really, all he did was say, “Bye, baby”. The four men who slaughtered Emmett Till were put on trial in front of an all white jury, and of course, because of racism and prejudice, they were found not guilty. Today, however, if someone were to do that to another person, they would be thrown in jail, and would have an unbiased jury. To conclude, the trial of the Murder of Emmett Till was different compared to today.
Policemen are using excessive force on African Americans due to racial profiling. Ordinary people like you can help end racial profiling and police using excessive force on African Americans by educating others and protesting. By informing others, and even law enforcement officials, on the racist actions some police officers are displaying, you can raise awareness. You can show people the terrible things police officers have done to innocent, defenseless, African Americans. By protesting, you can raise awareness on a much larger scale. You can recruit groups of people to make signs, start a chant, make t-shirts and websites and march down the streets of your city. If the march gets enough people, you could even get televised.
Natarajan, Ranjana. "Racial Profiling Has Destroyed Public Trust in Police. Cops Are Exploiting Our Weak Laws against It." The Washington Post. WP Company, 15 Dec. 2014. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
Sunstein, Cass R. "Black Lives Matter Reclaims the 14th Amendment." Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg, 01 Sept. 2015. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
Clayborne, Carson. "Selma, Alabama, (Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed." Selma, Alabama, (Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
.com, History. "The Death of Emmett Till." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2010. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.