Brutality - savage physical violence; great cruelty.
Litigation- the process of taking legal action.
Misconduct- unacceptable or improper behavior.
Tangible- perceptible by touch.
Municipal- the governing body of a city/town.
Correctional- the punishment of criminals intended to correct their behavior.
What is Police Brutality and why does it relate to society?
Police Brutality is the use of unnecessary/excessive force by police when dealing with citizens. This means a police officer is using force well beyond what is really necessary for the situation. The Law Dictionary states, “Police brutality can also take the form of false arrests, verbal abuse, psychological intimidation, sexual abuse, police corruption, racial profiling, political repression and the improper use of weapons.” With these types of miscommunication within a situation, they can lead to trials, protests, and litigation. An example of Police brutality from The Huffington Post reports, “An Arizona police officer recorded on video punching a woman in the face while making an arrest resigned from the force Wednesday.” In this situation there was miscommunication between the police officer and the victim which lead to the officer falsely arresting the woman and physically abusing her. The punishment the police officer was to receive is still a work in process. This can happen in many police brutality situations due to this being a new trending focus.
What types of punishments are police receiving?
Many believe that police should be severely punished for their wrongdoings such as murder, although most police are not receiving punishments. According to the Wall Street Journal, “2015 saw the highest number of police officers being charged for deadly, on-duty shootings in a decade: 12 as of September 2015. Still, in a year when approximately 1,200 people were killed by police, zero officers were convicted of murder or manslaughter, painting the picture that officers involved in killing another person will not be held accountable for their actions.” There are laws set in place for police to follow if there becomes misconduct with a citizen during a situation, this law is called the Police Misconduct Provision. The Police Misconduct Provision law, “makes it unlawful for State or local law enforcement officers to engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives persons of rights protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States. The types of conduct covered by this law can include, among other things, excessive force, discriminatory harassment, false arrests, coercive sexual conduct, and unlawful stops, searches or arrests. In order to be covered by this law, the misconduct must constitute a "pattern or practice" -- it may not simply be an isolated incident.” If more people knew about this law and how it connects with certain situations, police would receive the punishment or respect they deserve.
Is there any solutions to help stop police brutality?
A solution to police brutality that has been an idea is police training. According to Law Enforcement officer Donald Grady II says, “there were 63 million contacts between a 16-year-old or older person at least once with a police officer in the country in a single year. Forty-two percent of those, which is the biggest piece, were traffic stops. That’s where we are going to most likely talk to people, and that’s where we need to be the best prepared to practice these new skills and these new ideas of bias and how to deal with it and how to prepare yourself. We have a lot of room to grow and a lot of room to be better; and training is key to it. He continues to explain how creating new police training will help enforce officers to respect themselves and citizens. An article from The Washington Post explains, police “need to learn more than logistics of policing but also the broader significance of their role in society.” The article continues to explain that even with new police training, money is an issue. “Our police commanders are constantly seeking more dollars. If there is any place where the federal government and the Justice Department can produce a tangible difference for our officers, it would be to provide more resources in this area.” If money keeps becoming an ongoing problem to help start new training for police then this may not be the best solution to stop police brutality. On the other hand if laws or new training does protect police what about the victims/citizens of a police brutality situation. Is there a solution for them, is there anything that is protecting their rights.
Is there anything that protects victims of police brutality?
While there are laws that help protect officers, what about the victims of police brutality? From a civil rights website it states, “A primary purpose of the nation's civil rights laws is to protect citizens from abuses by government, including police misconduct. Civil rights laws allow attorney fees and compensatory and punitive damages as incentives for injured parties to enforce their rights.” This explains that citizen rights laws protect citizens from any form of abuse by any person that corresponds with the government, which includes police officers. On December 18, 2014, Congress passed a law entitled the Death In Custody Reporting Act. Signed by Barack Obama it announces, “The State shall report to the Attorney General, on a quarterly basis and pursuant to guidelines established by the Attorney General, information regarding the death of any person who is detained, under arrest, or is in the process of being arrested, is en route to be incarcerated, or is incarcerated at a municipal or county jail, State prison, State-run boot camp prison, boot camp prison that is contracted out by the State, any State or local contract facility, or other local or State correctional facility (including any juvenile facility).” This law means that if the state reports to an attorney general that a police officer has harassed or killed a citizen then they could be sent to different boot camps, and jails as there punishment. With the help of new laws forming citizens that have become victims of police brutality will know that they have someone/something on their side ready to support them.
What can others do when they see police brutality?
Many now wonder what they should know and do if they see police brutality. An example of what people have done to stop police brutality are protest. Protest are “a statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something.” Many people protest outside of city halls, police stations, and other government venues to try and get a point across. People gather in groups holding signs, chanting for what they are protesting for. Another idea officials have suggested would be to record the situation for evidence of police brutality. Some may say “Now that cameras are so cheap and people have cameras on their phones, it is a lot easier to hold the police accountable for their actions.” With recording a police brutality situation it will help the court make decisions with the evidence.