Racism In Amercia

Q1 - How does a police shooting affect the the perception of police as being racist?

When a police officer kills another person, it is on the news and there lots of conflicts and questions that start to pop up. Some of the videos that I have witnessed were officers killing a citizen that did not have any sort of weapon on that. How does it make the community feel when lots of people are dying in vain. There is no sort of justice in that. His/her job has not been taken, his/her hasn't been put in jail or prison. According to Steven Rich and Kimbriell Kelly,editors for The Washington Post states,”When the people hired to protect their communities end up killing someone, they can be called heroes or criminals — a judgment that has never come more quickly or searingly than in this era of viral video, body cameras and dash cams. A single bullet fired at the adrenaline-charged apex of a chase can end a life, wreck a career, spark a riot, spike racial tensions and alter the politics of the nation”. Lots of innocent lives have been taken over the past year and lots of protest and movements have occurred. It just makes the story incomplete which makes people want to complete the story by spreading hashtags and doing protest. It makes racism endless in the U.S. According to Julia Craven, a civil rights leader from The Huffington Post,”U.S. police killed at least 258 black people in 2016, according to a project by The Guardian that tracks police killings in America”. Attacking someone for their skin color is very inconsiderate and if more deaths start to happen then true peace will never be obtained. People on social media are fighting over which hashtag is right.

Q2- Why are people fighting over the hastags #BlacklivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter?

In general, all lives matter because if you single out one group's lives over others it gives them more power and more importance than the other groups. At the moment, the U.S is having a huge conflict between the black community and the police. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, an assistant professor of African-American Studies at Princeton University states, “The entire point of Black Lives Matter is to illustrate the extent to which black lives have not mattered in this country.” When a black person uses this hashtag, he’s not claiming that he is better than other races, He is spreading the hashtag to make a change in the community. Therefore when a colored person sees another non colored person with a sign that says “all lives matter”, that black individual would be offended because instead of supporting the issue, the “all lives matter” hashtag is going against it. Judith Butler, a professor in the department of comparative literature and the program of critical theory at the University of California says. “if we jump too quickly to the universal formulation, ‘all lives matter,’ then we miss the fact that black people have not yet been included in the idea of ‘all lives.’ ”. Lots of protests have been happening because many people died in vain and a change has to happen to improve the environment. Officers need more training to avoid deadly outcomes.

Q3- Is the training of officers affecting their judgement in deadly situations.

A police officer's job is to protect the citizens of the United States and to create an open and safe environment in every community. These days, police officers are killing innocent lives more than they are taking down the actual criminals. Some of the officers who killed the life of another are not put in jail for the deaths that they committed. According to Alice Crites and Steven Rich, reporters from The Washington Post, “Over the past year, a series of controversial police killings of unarmed victims — including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., Tamir Rice in Cleveland and Eric Garner on Staten Island — has raised questions over what it takes for officers to face criminal ­charges”. Officers must pay attention to the situation and decide on a positive outcome. Nick Wing, an editor from The Huffington Post states,”Police fatally shoot an average of around 1000 people each year, and the criminal justice system holds that almost every single shooting is legal". An officer should not kill anyone unless they are in an extreme situation when they have to fire back. In most of the reports, the police officer would see the person take something out of his pocket or just do some sort of action. Therefore a police officer would see this and just assume he's carrying a weapon so then the officer would automatically take action. In some cases, the person has pulled out a weapon on an officer. However, in some ways, an officer should create reasonable tactics and should handle the situation differently instead of killing a life.

Q4- Should police officers follow a protocol when speaking to a suspect and is using lethal force ever justified?

When an officer is in a difficult situation, their last option should be to to fire at the person, this should only happen when the officer is in true self defense mode. If a person is getting angry or physical, the cop should first give off a warning and then proceed to use a taser or baton if the situation escalates. In several reports, police officers have killed people that did not pose a threat, nor did they harm anyone. According to Edmond Jordan, an attorney representing Sterling's’ family, “Mr. Sterling was not reaching for a weapon. He looks like a man who is trying to get his head up, who is actually fighting for his life. A life that ended immediately thereafter, almost as if he knew what was about to happen". Alton Sterling was no threat to the officer and a gun should've been out of the question for this situation. When Alton Sterling was pinned down by the police, he was shot several times at close range. Elahe Izadi, a reporter from The Washington Post states," The video speaks for itself — it is extremely evident that the object that was in Mr. Sterling’s pants was deep in his pocket". Even if Alton had a weapon in his pocket, he did not take it out and threaten the officer with it, nor could he have reach the weapon because he was pinned down. The officer should’ve instead tasered him and pinned him down, and cuffed him, instead he did the unthinkable and shot him. Based on these reports, we cannot justify this death. However in different situations where an officer is forced to pull out his firearm due to his life being in danger, is justifiable. Alton's case and others were put out on social media and on the news. Lots of people were hooked on this subject because they want to put an end to police brutality.

What are common police brutality cases?

Police brutality is the use of unnecessary force by police when dealing with civilians. There have been many cases where an officer has used force that was not needed. According to Nina Golgowski, a Huffington Post reporter says," In the latest disturbing video reportedly taken at Dayton’s Montgomery County Jail in October, a 37-year-old man named Charles Wade is seen secured in a chair when a correctional officer walks up and sprays him in the face. As he gags, coughs and cries out for help, an officer hollers at him to 'stop resisting'. 'I can’t breathe, help me please', he repeatedly begs as the officers pin his back and head against the chair". Just because a officer has a badge and a gun does not make it right to hurt and abuse citizens without any reasoning. Reporters from The New York Times Christine Hauser and Christopher Drew says,"Mr. Davis is then wrestled to the ground, and several officers pile on top of him while one holds his leg bent at the knee. Another officer appears to be fumbling with handcuffs. A few minutes later, in a tape shot by CNN, Mr. Davis is seen sprawled on the sidewalk, covered in blood". If those who abused the job of being a police officer and take away the rights of a citizen, then his/her job should be taken away.

GLOSSARY

Police Brutality - Police brutality is the use of excessive and/or unnecessary force by police when dealing with civilians.

Civilians- person not in the armed services or the police force.

Inconsiderate- thoughtlessly causing hurt or inconvenience to others.

Protest- a statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something.

Equality- the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities.

Created By
Abdirahman Odowa
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Created with images by Poster Boy NYC - "Chicago Clubs" • xddorox - "Black Lives Matter" • Photographing Travis - "Black Lives Matter" • Dun.can - "Police" • Fibonacci Blue - "Rally against police brutality" • Palinopsia_Films - "Bay of Pigs"

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