Police Brutality

The world is slowly traveling back in time, a time when race is influencing how the world is run. To run the world there are laws and regulations to insure that safety of the people. Even with these laws, crimes are still happening all over the world. But it’s said that the police are always there to protect the people, and yet the people are still in trouble. One example is of a young woman pulled over for a not turning her signal, she was presumed dead in the next three days while she was in police custody. Slowly but surely, law enforcement is abusing their power and disregarding laws, thus taking matters into their own hand based on race. This is called police brutality. The power they have should be used to improve the lives of people, not to destroy the world one person at a time.

Many officer seem to be overstepping their boundaries on laws which is police brutality.  One example of police abusing their power happened recently in Stockton, California. A video is taking of a young african american teen jaywalking, for this he was hit multiple times and tackled by multiple officers. As stated in an article at FindLaw.com jaywalking pentalties depend on whether it was an infraction or a misdemanor. An infraction is a petty offense and isn’t “considered a criminal offense and thus not punishable by incarceration (Findlaw.com).”  A misdemeanor is “punishable by a fine.” Neither of these penalties call for physical violence, so why was this action taken? Maybe it was because this young man was African American and he was “resisting arrest” (stated in the video) from a Caucasian officer for a crime that everyone commits.

Police brutality is an alarming issue in the United States.A reporter named Aaron Morrison from the international Business Times took the issue of the police attitude to the people. Through social media Mr. Morrison asked if Americans were to grade the police, like teachers grade students, what would this grade be. The articles states “that nearly half of Americans give their police department a “D” grade or a failing grade.” People are seeing that law enforcement is decreasing in their efforts to protect the people. This decrease can cause distrust in the laws and the people enforcing said laws. One of the tweets mentioned in the article says the reason police are averaging a “D” grade is because “More Americans are killed by cops.”  If the police aren’t protecting the people then it is more likely they are causing damage to the people.

One death from police abusing their power is in the case of Sandra Bland. She was 28 years old when she pulled over by a Texas officer for failing to turn on her turning signal. This offense normally calls for a fine. But in Bland’s case the trooper said she was “argumentative and uncooperative” this lead to her being arrested for “assaulting a public servant.”(CNN) in the video the officer asked her what is wrong and Bland comments that she is irritated, but that frodoesn’t stop him from giving her a ticket. Afterward he continues to comment on her attitude, then proceeds to ask her to get out of the car. Bland then explains that he has no right to make her get out the car. Which is true, according to Martin Kron a traffic court judge says "It's perfectly legal for you to say in the vehicle.”  So there is no reason for the trooper to get aggressive and continually demand Bland to get out of the car or for him to arrest her. Later in the video it is also shown that Bland is shoved to the ground she then screams “you slammed my head into the ground.” This doesn’t always happen when someone is pulled over for a simple misuse of their signal.

After Bland’s arrest she was place into a cell for three days. Later on she was found dead in her cell. The police claimed that it was a suicide but all family members that knew Bland said that the thought of her committing suicide is “unfathomable”(CNN). Frosted Illustrated also made the point that she was left in her cell for three more hours after she was found dead. Why would someone be left in their cell three hours after they were found dead unless the police had something to do with it.

It is most likely that this situation escalated so quickly because of the color of her skin and because she wasn’t doing what she was told. In the world Black People are mostly seen as suspects, even when they aren’t doing anything. An article written by a law professor from huffingtonpost.com states that “The police stop blacks and Latinos at rates that are much higher than whites. In New York City...when whites were stopped, only 8% were frisked. When blacks are stopped 85% were frisked according to information provided by the NYPD.” Only 8% of White People were frisked in a place mainly populated by Black people. This shows that the police system is more trusting in the white population since their is such a big difference in the percentages.

When asked police may say that they are making the world a better place and trying to keep things safe. But on a close look they are the ones tearing down the world. For example Sandra and this young teen in California who were only supposed to receive a warning but when they had the right to resist they physically abused by the people supposedly there to keep them safe.

Work Cited:

  1. Morrison, Aaron. "Police Brutality Statistics: Law Enforcement Departments Receive Failing Grades In Twitter-Based Report Card."International Business Times. N.p., 27 Aug. 2015. Web. 21 Sept. 2015. http://www.ibtimes.com/police-brutality-statistics-law-enforcement-departments-receive-failing-grades-2071697

  2. "Jaywalking - FindLaw." Findlaw. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2015. http://traffic.findlaw.com/traffic-tickets/jaywalking.html

  3. "Cops Beat Black Teen For "Resisting" His Jaywalking Ticket." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZeMfNw_GMI

  1. Sterbenz, Christina. "If The Cops Pull You Over, These Are Your Rights."Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 22 Nov. 2013. Web. 28 Sept. 2015. http://www.businessinsider.com/what-rights-do-you-have-when-pulled-over-2013-11

  1. "FULL DASH-CAM VIDEO OF SANDRA BLAND ARREST RELEASED!!"YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuPvDMN73hQ

  1. "DA: Sandra Bland's Death to Be Investigated as Murder - CNN.com." CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2015. http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/20/us/texas-sandra-bland-jail-death/

  1. "Sandra Bland: Suicide or Homicide? New Evidence Raises Questions."Frost Illustrated. N.p., 16 Sept. 2015. Web. 28 Sept. 2015. http://www.frostillustrated.com/2015/sandra-bland-suicide-or-homicide-new-evidence-raises-questions/

  2. "Police Brutality." Dictionary of American History. 2003. "Police Brutality."Encyclopedia.com. HighBeam Research, 01 Jan. 2003. Web. 18 Sept. 2015. http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3401803303.html

  3. Quigley, Bill. "Fourteen Examples of Racism in Criminal Justice System."The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 08 Nov. 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-quigley/fourteen-examples-of-raci_b_658947.html

Comments (1)

Yasmeen Collins (Student 2017)
Yasmeen Collins

This 2Fer didn't expand my thinking because I'm very familiar with police brutality and the effect it has on African Americans. However, I felt very informed and agreed with all of the points mentioned in this paper. Great evidence was provided!