Police Shootings Police shootings are on the rise and new strategies are being implemented


Excessive force: the use of force that exceeds the minimum amount necessary

Stop and Frisk: the situation in which a police officer is suspicious of an individual and running his or her hands lightly over the

Dash-cams: a continuously recording video camera that is mounted on the dashboard or windshield of a vehicle

Equal protection clause: provides equal protection of the law

Broken window theory: states that maintaining urban environments from smaller crimes will prevent larger crimes from occurring

Proactive policing: is decreasing criminal activity by police presence

Why is there an Increase in police shootings?

There is an increase in police shootings primarily because of excessive force tactics and racist police. For example, in the article Police Work to Balance Crime Fighting With Protecting Citizens' Rights; Increase in gun violence reignites a debate across the country, “The New York Police Department said it has seen a nearly 9% increase in shootings and a 19.5% boost in murders in the first five months of this year compared with a year ago.” Clearly, police shootings are becoming more common because of aggressive police strategies. The stop and frisk technique is one of many tactics police use. According to the website, Center for Constitutional Rights, the case Floyd v. City of New York, brought up the point that the NYPD police were searching mostly Blacks and Latinos for no apparent reason. This violates the Fourth Amendment and is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The case found that minorities were more likely to be shot. The stop and frisk tactic is used to check to see if a suspect is carrying a weapon. Many police officers skip this step and assume the suspect is armed. Evidently, stereotypes and racist police are causing the increase in shootings. As a result of racial policing, African Americans are more often to be shot.

The New York Police Department said it has seen a nearly 9% increase in shootings and a 19.5% boost in murders in the first five months of this year compared with a year ago.

Why are african americans more likely to be shot?

African Americans are the most likely to be shot in a police shooting because of racially driven policing and stereotypes. According to the article, Police Shootings and Race, by Heather Mac Donald, “In New York, Where blacks make up 23 percent of the city’s population, blacks commit three-quarters of all shootings and 70 percent of all robberies.” This is an example of some of the stereotype that blacks have. When these statistics are combined with other generic stereotypes it causes officers to react differently when encountering an african american versus a white person. Other stereotypes include; unemployment and poverty levels. In addition, in the article When Cops Lose Control, by Rachel Nuwer, “Blacks in America continue to face higher levels of poverty, incarceration and unemployment.” Police assume that people that live in these areas are up to no good. Therefore, african americans are more likely to be shot because they are discriminated against. Police officers only think about these stereotypical situations and use more aggressive police tactics. Many studies have been done to determine if the color of a person's skin makes them more likely to be shot. Joshua Correll, a social psychologist of the University of Colorado Boulder and his colleagues conducted experiments where they asked people to play video games that used unarmed suspects with different color skins that appeared on the screen. That goal of the game was to shoot the guy with the gun. They found that blacks were more likely to be shot because of society stereotypes. Overall, african americans are more likely to be shot because of stereotypes and racially driven police officers. Because of racial policing and police brutality, new strategies are being implemented to decrease police shootings.

How can police shootings be prevented?

Police shootings can be prevented by using body cameras and proactive policing.The first way police shootings can be prevented is by body worn cameras or dash-cams. These videos can have a huge impact on each case. For example, in the Washington Post article discussing the Laquan McDonald case , a three second video was recorded on a dash-cam. This recording was a major piece of evidence in the case and cause the police to be put behind bars. This evidence is used to help other police learn from others mistakes and improve their strategies. Another way to prevent police shootings is proactive policing. Proactive policing is deterring criminal activity by law enforcement engagement. This prevents crime from taking place. Heather Mac Donald, a contributing editor of City Journal believes, “the current rise in violent crime in many American cities is the result of officers backing off of proactive policing.” There has been a drastic increase in police shootings in the last few years because police involvement has decreased. This shows that proactive policing is beneficial because the smaller crimes are happening more often, which is leading to the more serious crimes. If proactive policing was occurring police would not feel the need to deal with serious crimes by shooting the victim. Overall, body cameras and proactive policing can prevent some police shootings but the shootings that occur need to be justified.

How are police shootings justified?

Every state has a different set of laws that determine if the shooting is justified. However, each state follows general guidelines from the U.S Supreme Court. There are three ways that excessive force is justified in Minnesota. In the article, Good Question: How Do They Determine If Deadly Force Was Justified?, by Heather Brown, “In Minnesota, deadly force by an officer is justified when police officers use it: 1) to protect the peace officer or someone else from apparent death or great bodily harm 2) to arrest, capture, or prevent the escape of a person whom the officer reasonably believes committed or attempted to commit a felony using or threatening deadly force 3) to arrest, capture, or prevent the escape of a person whom the officer reasonably believes committed or attempted to commit a felony and will kill or seriously injure someone if not captured.” These three guidelines help determine whether a shooting is justified in Minnesota. Other states follow similar guidelines. An example of a case where it was justified was with Tamir Rice in Cleveland Ohio. In the article, Police Shouldn't Ask If a Shooting Is Justified, But If It's Avoidable, police officers were informed that the suspect was carrying a gun. When the officer arrived at the scene, he jumped out of the car and within seconds shot the twelve year old boy. Evidently, if a police shooting is not justified, officers may receive consequences.

What consequences do police officers face?

There are five different consequences that police officers face when they use excessive force. Excessive force is force that exceeds the minimum amount necessary for everyone's safety. According to the article 5 Major Consequences, federal criminal charges, state criminal charges, federal civic changes, state civil charges and departmental charges are the five major consequences that officers can face when using unnecessary excessive force. Depending on the incident, the court decides what the punishment is for the individual that used excessive force. Alison Collins, wrote a report on police brutality for the group of Human Rights Watch, states “Police officers are human, but you can't have officers acting too similar to suspects they’re apprehending,” Police are human too and need to be punished for their wrong doings. Along with the punishments of the officers, the shooting needs to be determined if it is justified or not.

Works Cited

"Fatal shootings by police remain relatively unchanged after two years." The Washington Post, WP Company24 Jan 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/fatal-shootings-by-police-remain-relatively-unchanged-after-two-years/2016/12/30/fc807596-c3ca-11e6-9578-0054287507db_story.html?utm_term=.c599bcb00450

"Police shootings and race." The Washington Post, WP Company, 25 Jan 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/07/18/police-shootings-and-race/?utm_term=.bb05a4c88483

Ali, Tanveer. "City Barely Keeps Track Of Police Shootings, Excessive Force, Probe Finds." DNAinfo Chicago, 13 Jan. 2017, https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20170113/archer-heights/chicago-police-shooting-records-use-of-force

Dawsey, Josh and Pervaiz Shallwani. "Police Work to Balance Crime Fighting with Protecting Citizens' Rights; Increase in Gun Violence Reignites a Debate Across the Country." Wall Street Journal, Jun 15 2015, ProQuest, http://search.proquest.com/news/docview/1687920434/CAA8D70248504924PQ/6?accountid=42214

Nuwer, Rachel. "When Cops Lose Control." Scientific American Mind, 31 Jan. 2017, EBSCO, http://web.b.ebscohost.com.proxy.elm4you.org/ehost/detail/detail?vid=25&sid=46c5cfa1-82e7-49e2-92f3-5eb276a61a82%40sessionmgr103&hid=115&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#AN=110166379&db=keh

"POLICE BODY CAMERAS: TOO MUCH, OR NOT ENOUGH?" World News, 02 Feb. 2017, https://www.google.com/amp/s/garygrumbach.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/police-body-cameras-too-much-or-not-enough/amp/

"Floyd, et al. v. City of New York, et al." Center for Constitutional Rights, 20 Feb. 2017, https://ccrjustice.org/home/what-we-do/our-cases/floyd-et-al-v-city-new-york-et-al

"5 Major Consequences." Law Officer, 20 Feb. 2017, http://lawofficer.com/tactics-weapons/5-major-consequences/

Segan, Sascha. "What Is Excessive Force?" ABC News, ABC News Network, 14 Jul. 1970, http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=96509&page=1

Brown, Heather. "Good Question: How Do They Determine If Deadly Force Was Justified?" WCCO CBS Minnesota, 20 Feb. 2017, http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2014/08/18/good-question-how-do-they-determine-if-deadly-force-was-justified/

"Police Shouldn’t Ask If a Shooting Is Justified, But If It’s Avoidable." The New York Times, 20 Feb. 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/04/09/are-police-too-quick-to-use-force/police-shouldnt-ask-if-a-shooting-is-justified-but-if-its-avoidable?scrlybrkr=57427061


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