Police Brutality and its Effects on the Community
Police brutality has been in the headlines recently across various media stations in the United States owing to the massive cases of police using brute force on often unharmed civilians. A well-known example of police brutality on an individual is that of Rodney King, which happened in 1991. Police officers severely beat him resulting in riots across Los Angeles that led to the deaths of 53 people (Chaney and Robertson 491). Therefore, we can see even though police brutality may affect an individual, its effects are felt across the society. In addressing the issue of excessive use of force by the police, several questions come to mind in the quest to identify the effects on the society. Complainants always find it difficult to report cases of brutality since officers are reluctant to side against their own and the judiciary seems complacent.
In fact, a study conducted by the Seattle Times found that around 70% of police crimes go unreported resulting in inaction (Cook 73. Addressing the question of what drives police officers to discriminate against members of a particular community or ethnicity, the answer can be said to be racial stereotypes (Kirk and Andrew 1219). Blacks are often typified as being aggressive and violent which is then perpetuated by the media in television and music shows, with the same applying for the Hispanics. Rap and hip-hop music portrays African Americans as pimps, drug dealers, and gangsters beside portrayals of violence which drives the behavior and attitudes towards them. Failure to seek treatment has the potential to affect the community negatively from individual outbursts and retaliation towards the police (Cooper et al.
Police are mandated by law to serve and protect the community. However, by them engaging in brutal acts while on the course of their duty it leads to a chaotic society where there is often a failure to protect the society. According to Burger (17), the society loses the trust of the police because of their abuse of power and criminal behavior. Moreover, most of the police officers involved in brutal acts go unpunished for their deeds. This is because people often have a breaking point and cannot take so much from people who are supposed to protect them (Cook 71). Negative experiences by members of the public at the hands of police also aid to propel the negative perception of law enforcement officers (Perkins and Bourgeois 165).
In the past, the public view of the police was, but recent events have soiled the image resulting in a sharp decline of the perception of the public towards the police especially among the minority populations. This negative perception influences how the youth participate in the society. For instance, the parents and the neighborhood are often responsible for the upbringing of the young in black communities, and the effort exerted by the community should not be overlooked (Perkins and Bourgeois 166). However, there has been a shift in the structure in recent years with the society becoming more prominent in the upbringing of children because they look to the media, friends, society and other mediums, which act as models for proper and wanted behavior.
Disruption of family structures occurs especially in African American families where fatherless families are the norm. Moreover, there is a different view of police fairness and effectiveness between Black and White families (Chaney and Robertson 485). Consequently, children from these families grow up with a different perception of police officers. Police brutality has affected how most youths are being brought up when a parent or both end up in prison (Chaney and Robertson 481). The first would be to institute institutional reforms both in the police service and the judiciary to ensure that when cases arise, they do not go unpunished. Improvements are useful since they bring order and peace beside standardizing the system for all citizens. Positive encounters with the police help to build trust in the policing system.
Another measure to curb police brutality would be to review the screening practices when hiring police officers. Most states and cities hire law enforcement officers based on their physical conditions and their ability to adhere to authority and follow commands. “To Protect and Serve: Restoring Public Confidence in the SAPS. ” SA Crime Quarterly, 36 (2011): 13-22 Chaney, C. , and Robertson, R. V. “Racism and Police Brutality in America. , Moore, L. , Gruskin, S. , & Krieger, N. “Characterizing police violence: Implications for public health. ” American Journal of Public Health. Aggressive Policing and the Mental Health of Young Urban Men. American Journal of Public Health, 104. Jones, Jeffrey M. "In US, confidence in police lowest in 22 years. " Gallup, June 19 (2015). " Mobilization: An International Quarterly 13. Perkins, J. E. , and Bourgeois, M.
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