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Police Brutality as a Human Right Issue in The United States

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The main purpose of the police department is to protect the people and make them save as well as maintain public order, enforce the law as at when due, prevent, detect and investigate criminal activities but it is a different case when those appointed to protect the people are the ones enforcing excessive physical forces and hurting the people physically, psychological and also health wise. Walker (2011) defined police brutality as the use of excessive force or verbal assault and psychological intimidation by the law enforcement members.

Police brutality isn’t some new factor that is just known to people as it has been in existence for hundred of years and the brutality is basically towards the black people and the people of colour. This made police brutality more of a racial problem against African American and also other people of colour. This brought in civil right scholars and activist who stand together to form an academic movement who seek to critically examine the law as it intersects with issues of race and to challenge the mainstream liberal approaches to racial justice. According to Bell (1992), critical race theory captures how race is structurally fixed within institutional structures i.e law enforcement making a negative feeling of white authority over others and apparently increasing the likelihood of essentially different king of treatment of societal group which are treated as insignificants e.g black male and other men of colour, to keep them unwelcome by giving them a form of treatment which is unpleasant.

A typical and well known example of police brutality is the Central Park Five Jogger Case which happened in 1989. A group of teenagers were hanging out in the central park one evening, while some of them were harassing passer-by, the others were just having the time of their life enjoying the cool spring night. The police came in and arrested most of the kids and unfortunately for them, that same night, a female jogger was found beaten and raped close to the park which became a serious case. For this rape case, two female prosecutor were trying their best to handle the case, one of the woman being black the other being white, at the end, the white lady was put in charge of the case and these took a deadly turn for the boys who were picked up the previous night. While the police was interrogating the boys, some of them said they were just wildling in the park and it affected everything. The prosecutor saw them as prey to cover up the case about the raped jogger. The kids were picked up at random and coarse into talking without their guardian or parent being there with them. Despite being young, the questioning took place for at least seven hours and were forced to lie against eachother when they can’t even recognise themselves. Their fake confession was recorded by the police department, one of the boys wasn’t a suspect at the time of questioning but followed his friend to the police station simply because he didn’t want his friend to go alone and also only wanted to offer a moral support to his friend who was picked up by the police. Despite all the evidence founded at the scene of the accident not pointing to any of the boys and also the boys later stating they were forced to confess, the prosecutor relied solely on their false confession which was taped previously.

After two trials, the five boys (four Black and one Hispanic) age 14-16 were found guilty of offences including attempted murder, rape, assault and robbery and were convicted to 6-13 years imprisonment. Donald trump as of this year was a New York property Mogul who spent a lot of money on a New York newspaper titled ‘Bring back the death penalty, Bring back the police’. He wrote he wants to hate the murderers and will always, he’s not looking to psychoanalyse or understand them but he’s looking to punish them. In an interview he had with Larry King on CNN on the 17th of May 1989, he said; Maybe hate is what we need if we are going to get something done. After the case was done with and all the boys were sent to jail, their parent and guardian suffered and looked forward to the day the boys will be set free.

The main criminal of the crime confessed twelve years after the boys were sent to jail and his reason being he accepted Christ. Eventually, the five men were cleared of all charges having almost served their full sentences. The main criminal was never prosecuted for the crime the five were accused of as the stature of limitation had passed. On their release, the five men filed a civil suit against New York and $41 million in the settlement. Despite been compensated, no money could bring the time they wasted back, they stole their teenage years from them, stole their youth from them and made them live secluded from the public due to them being an ex-convict for a crime they never committed. This plainly shows that being black or of colour is a stigma which makes the police or law enforcement see them as a threat and must be trampled upon. The world today is evolving and we are moving forward with it, despite that lot of cases are being reported on police brutality which is a strong factor that needs more attention. This made the activist in Critical Race Theory stand their ground to always check the laws are in accordance to the standard of the society.

Police brutality is a human right issue because unlawful use of force by the police officers can result in people being deprived of their right to life, this may also amount to torture or other ill treatment. This unlawful force can also violate the right to be free from discrimination, right to security and liberty as well as the right to equal protection under the law. The approach to understanding the behaviour of police officials arises from the premises they found themselves, the training they are given during their orientation as well as how they portray themselves to be. The behavioural differences of the police official can be stated as a cause of police brutality, this include their race, gender and educational background. Black officers, college educated officers and female officers are expected to have an outlook that differs from that of a white officer and these differences in attitude are assumed to show clearly in their behaviours. In most cases investigated, attitudes and behaviours are related to an extent that ranges from small to moderate. Police officers also have an authoritarian attitude which makes them feel superior to others and this is also a cause of police brutality. Inadequate law, racial or other forms of discrimination, insecurity or conflict and established immunity are all a combined factor that promote police brutality.


  • Bell, D. (1992). Faces at the bottom of the well: the permanence of racism. New York City: Basic Books.
  • Schuman, H., & Johnson, M. P. (1976). Attitudes and behaviour. Annual Review of sociology, 2, 161-207.
  • Walker, A. (2011). Racial profiling separate and unequal keeping the minorities in line-the role of law enforcement in America. St. Thomas Law Review, 23, 576-619.

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Police Brutality as a Human Right Issue in The United States Essay
score This essay is graded. Score 14/20
Essay Score 14/20
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You have made relevant points with evidence to back some of them up. All three essential parts of an essay are included (introduction, main body, conclusion). Spelling and punctuation are accurate. Well done! A few things to bear in mind for future development: I cannot see a thesis. The introduction ... should begin with the broad/wide topic, then mention the parts of the topic that you will be focusing on and end with a thesis statement. The main body points/arguments normally follow the structure of topic sentence, evidence (cited), explanation, and concluding sentence. There are usually 3-5 points/arguments made in the average essay. The conclusion should paraphrase the thesis, summarize the main points/arguments and end with a broad/wide statement about the topic in general. Contractions are not normally used in academic writing. Could perhaps the phrase ‘people of color’ be considered politically incorrect today? It may be better to state the ethnicity to which you are referring e.g., black/African American. N.B. This did not detract from your grade.

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