Police Brutality- Justifiable?

By: Gwendylan Rinaudo

Is police brutality justifiable?

No, police brutality is not justifiable because it only results in the killings of innocent people. It has come to the point where you can not trust a police officers word. When they say the victim had a knife, we assume that they did not have a knife. If we justify police brutality, it will only result in it happening more often. That means more innocent people being killed and more families mourning the loss of a loved one.
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What exactly is police brutality?

The definition of police brutality is, "The use of any force exceeding that reasonably necessary to accomplish a lawful police purpose." Any force exceeding... This means excessive force. If you use excessive force to retain someone when they aren't attacking you, that's police brutality. Some cases that we use as examples are Michael Brown, an unarmed 18 year old boy shot and killed by Ferguson, Missouri police officer, Darren Wilson. Another example is Eric Garner, an unarmed black man killed from a choke-hold given by New York City police officer, Daniel Pantaleo. The third and last case used as an example is the shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17 year old boy fatally shot by George Zimmerman. Do you notice a pattern in these killings? Each person was unarmed and still killed. That is police brutality.

Who is affected by police brutality?

In one of Angie Cannon and James Morrow's pieces, they state that, "PICKING ON MINORITIES. Aggressive new policing tactics have reduced crime. But many minorities say they're more worried about the cops than the crooks." This indicates that minorities are the main victims of police brutality.

In Steven Greenhut's article, he addresses that, "In the summer of 2006 a frail, troubled 18-year-old girl named Ashley MacDonald ran through a nearly empty Huntington Beach, California, city park in the early morning holding a small knife. An onlooker called the police and soon two large male officers showed up. They shot the girl to death with 18 bullets, claiming she had lunged toward them and put their lives in danger. It was just another day for law enforcement in suburban Orange County, where despite low crime rates-police have become increasingly aggressive and militaristic." This leads to the conclusion that The people being victimized are usually people who are no serious threat to police. The police justify and save themselves by blowing things out of proportion.

Where does police brutality happen?

In one of Gordon Witkin's pieces, he states that, "Even if police departments are more professional than ever, as many police experts believe, the brazenness and viciousness of today's bad cops troubles even the staunchest defenders of the men and women in blue. In New York, the Mollen Commission investigating police corruption noted last year that the systemic, "look the other way" bribery schemes that plagued the New York Police Department a generation ago had largely disappeared--only to be replaced by a "new and often more invidious" form of malfeasance: police acting as tightknit criminal gangs." This means that police brutality happens wherever police are, whether that means on the streets or in a jail.

What are the effects of police brutality?

In Ray Sanchez's piece, he talks about how, "January saw 51 killings, making it the deadliest month on record in at least 16 years. February ended with a death toll of 45 killings, and March recorded another 46 homicides, according to police. That's 142 killings during the first three months of the year -- compared with 82 during the same period in 2015, police said. In all of 2015, there were 480." Innocent or not, people are being murdered without reason, and this is leading to many unjustified deaths and many people grieving.

Angie Cannon and James Morrow also stated that, "But clearly there is more to be done. "We don't trust the police," says Earl "Butch" Graves Jr., president of BLACK ENTERPRISE magazine, who recalls being frisked several years ago at New York's Grand Central Station by cops looking for a black suspect. "I'm tired of being hassled for no reason."--with Toni Locy and Mike Tharp." Police brutality affects the trust between people and authorities, leaving people on edge and authorities with a bad name.

Why does police brutality happen?

In another of Gordon Witkin's pieces, he claims that, "Police recruits have traditionally undergone training regimens that emphasized aggressiveness above all." If police are trained to be brutal, they're going to use their knowledge, and be brutal.

When is police brutality justifiable?

In Barbara Dority's article, she states that, "Police officers are responsible for upholding the law and protecting the rights of all members of society. Their job is often difficult and sometimes dangerous. Experience from around the world shows that constant vigilance is required to ensure the highest standards of conduct--standards necessary to maintain public confidence and meet national and international requirements....Police forces throughout the U.S. must be made more accountable for their actions by the establishment of effective monitoring mechanisms. National, state, and local police authorities should ensure that police brutality and excessive force are not tolerated." Police brutality is never justifiable.
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What if police brutality is justifiable...

Some people make the argument that police are just doing their job. They have reason to think that someone is armed or of immediate danger to the police or themselves. Yes, sometimes they do have reason to think that but when an unarmed man raises his hands without a weapon in his belt or in hand, the police do not have reason the shoot him. When an armed man cries and says "I can't breathe!" The police do not have reason to continue choking him out. When an unarmed, black boy is holding a toy gun that obviously looks like a toy, the police do not have the right to claim they thought it was real.

You can make the argument that the police are just doing their job, but when their job is fueled by racism and hatred, it is not the right job.