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Lately there have been more reports of police brutality and discrimination popping up in the news or social media. Police officers have been getting a bad rep for this as most people now assume that all officers must be racist. There is an obvious history of discrimination based on race in the police system. However, It is unfair to claim that all cops are considered racist. There will always be the situation where a few bad people ruin the reputation of a whole group. This has happened to the police force when the media brought to light the amount of fatal shootings done by police officers to the African American community. At the time it seemed as if the whole world turned on the police force appalled at their actions and shocked by the statistics of these fatalities. The reason why situations like this are a huge deal is because there seems to be no repercussions or punishment for the officer except for a temporary leave of absence from the police force. It is still important to investigate the cases that do happen where white police are often taking advantage of their power as a police officer against blacks and. Although the media sometimes tend to over exaggerate the truth of what really happens in these situations, it is most important to understand both sides of the story and come to a understanding on whether or not the outcome of the confrontation was justified or not.
Cops are not being held accountable for when they use their power in the wrong way. Some people believe that there should be a way harsher punishment for police who accidentally shoot a person based off the color of their skin. Also the media does not give attention to the colored people who are victims of police brutality and discriminated against by police. The stats show that it is obvious that colored people are more likely to end up in prisons, be killed by police, and get higher jail sentences. Police killed 1,147 people in 2018. Black People were 25% of those killed despite being only 13% of the population.(Killing of Black suspects is more than just a white police problem, August 2018) The memorable names of a few colored men killed by white police include, Philando Castille, Tamir Rice, and Michael Brown. These men were the spark to light the fire for the Black Lives Matter movement as protest began in Ferguson and then spread throughout the U.S. The movement got even more attention when Collin Kaepernick kneeled at a football game during the singing of the national anthem in protest of the way the police force treats the African American community in the U.S. However, this sparked outrage from most people as it was seen disrespectful to all the soldiers who fight for our country. I think Kaepernick had good intentions and was truly trying to help the African American community by calling attention to the victims and families affected by fatal police shootings or those who have faced brutality or discrimination by the police force. Instead, Kaepernick’s message came off as insulting to most Americans who are proud of their country. The Black Lives Matter movement remains to be a strong organization of the African American community seeking justice for the victims of fatal police shootings.
When police are involved in a fatal shooting with a minority who is unarmed, there seems to be no consequence for that officer. The affect of police getting away with discrimination is that the problem continues to happen and not enough action is being taken to end discrimination in the police force. Not only should these officers be let go from their job but also there should be court hearings held so that way the families of the victims can be offered closure for the loss of their loved one. Black people are three times more likely to be killed by police than white people. Police have been proven to use more force when the person involved is of color. (Race, Racism and Law Enforcement, October 2014) Clips shown on the news and in social media reveals shocking imagery of how some police officers treat people. It is also disheartening to see the police officer receive no consequence for his actions. Some may argue that these video clips and pictures don’t show the entire story and there are some instances where people use their race as an advantage to entice police officers and then try to gain sympathy from social media. This is frustrating because this topic always gets a huge reaction from people online just to find out later that the story was a hoax. This leaves people making obscured accusations about police officers without hearing the entire story. However, We can not ignore when a racist cop kills a young colored man. 99% of cases resulted in the officers not being convicted of a crime.(Trials, Convictions are Rare for Officers, October 2018) It is understandable that being a police officer you have to make quick life or death decisions, but police need to be held responsible for their actions and atone for their mistakes. This would at least do some damage control if people really saw that the officer regrets their mistake and is truly sorry for what they did.
Giving white police that have been in the wrong about killing colored people deserve harsh sentences and for their murders to be taken seriously. We must make it so that discrimination is not okay in law enforcement and this will bring results. It’s one factor that enters into the perception of African Americans is that the police are not on their side.(Police Rarely Charged for On-Duty Shootings November 2014) The tensions behind the African American community and the police force are high since there is a lack of trust for officers to actually protect them when they are in danger. Police should make an effort to re establish the trust and send the message that police can be people that are relied on instead of feared. When police are not charged after a fatal shooting with an unarmed minority it sets the precedent that the law enforcement is insensitive and shows a lack of care for the African American community. It’s also important to establish whether or not the victim was armed during the shooting because then it shows that the officer was under an extreme amount of pressure and fear for his own life. We cannot really hold officers accountable for shooting someone who is armed because that puts them in a situation where they have to decide it’s their life or the suspects’. Constitutionally police officers are allowed to shoot under two circumstances, to protect their life or the life of another innocent. The second is if the suspect is fleeing and the officer has probable cause that the suspect poses a dangerous threat to others.(Police Can Use Deadly Force if They Merely Perceives a Threat, November 2018) The stress and pressure that comes with being a police officer is extremely high. People believe that an officers job is so fast paced that in a life or death situation sometimes police are going to make mistakes. However, recent statistics show that while most people think the number of colored people dying from police brutality is equal to the amount of caucasian people in the U.S. They do not think racial discrimination is a problem in the United States police force.
The jobs of police are intense and they have to make decisions very quickly to do what they think is protecting people. When it comes down to it, and the officer has to make a rash decision to protect their life or the life of another against a armed assailant, they can’t be held accountable. However it is obvious that people of color are most likely to be discriminated against by police and when the police do something wrong they will not be punished. The police force needs to be held to a higher standard when it comes to consequences for officers involved in fatal shootings with unarmed minorities. Law enforcement needs to make a better effort to send the right kind of message to the public and the African American Community that they will be there to protect, not kill. We can not call all police bad for the few that have messed up, but the public can’t start patronizing the police force because then who is going to help people or make sure the world doesn’t turn to anarchy.
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