Lucas P. New York

Let The Punishment Fit The Crime

The laws that apply to every citizen should also apply to police officers equally. Police officers should get punished when they use unjustified brutal force towards an unarmed man.

Dear Future President:

Have you ever heard of the quote: “Let the punishment fit the crime”? That’s what should be happening with the police officers in the United States. Police brutality is a topic that everyone should be worried about. Many innocent people have been killed because of unnecessary force by police officers and they don’t get punished. As a consequence of not being punished, other police officers are not afraid to do something wrong and they will use their position as a defense. Did you know that...

Police killed at least 102 unarmed black people in 2015, nearly twice each week.

Nearly 1 in 3 black people killed by police in 2015 were identified as unarmed, though the actual number is likely higher due to underreporting.

37% of unarmed people killed by police were black in 2015 despite black people being only 13% of the U.S. population.

Unarmed black people were killed at 5x the rate of unarmed whites in 2015.

Only 10 of the 102 cases in 2015 where an unarmed black person was killed by police resulted in officer(s) being charged with a crime.  Mapping Police Violence 

Police officers are not scared of shooting innocent people because there’s no punishment for their actions. They should get punished as harsh as a regular person. If you’re a doctor, a police officer or a homeless person, and commit a crime, you should pay the penalty. Crime is a crime, regardless of who you are. To solve this problem, police officers should get punished harder. If this ever happens, then more police officers will see the consequences and think twice about how they handle a situation with an unarmed person.

On September 20th, 2016, police officer Betty Shelby shot an unarmed man in Oklahoma for no apparent reason. One news source reported,“Betty Shelby ... Fatally shot 40-year-old Terence Crutcher on Friday while responding to a report of a stalled vehicle. Police say Crutcher did not have a weapon on him or in his SUV ... Crutcher was holding his hands up and that he was not moving in an aggressive manner.” Oklahoma man shot by Police officer. Betty Shelby, the Tulsa Police Department officer who shot and killed Terence Crutcher, is being charged with first-degree manslaughter in the case, Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler says. Although Officer Shelby is going to face life in prison, we could've avoided this situation. She might go to jail, but Crutcher’s family will never see him again. We have to find solutions to the problem before it happens, not after the crime is committed. Crimes like this keep happening because of some police officers professionalism and worry free actions.

Another well- known case involved the May 23, 2016, death of Freddie Gray while under police custody. The officer Edward Nero was found not guilty even though he was responsible for his death, Freddie Gray was arrested for apparently carrying an illegal switchblade. The police officer didn’t buckle in Freddie Gray into the seat which is what he was supposed to do.  This caused Gray’s death because of a spinal cord injury. According to Nero’s defense, they shouldn’t charge him because no other police officer had been prosecuted like that before, therefore Edward Nero shouldn’t get prosecuted or charged. That is the reason why there are so many unarmed people killed by police officers - because the police think they can be free for doing these things without punishment. To solve this problem, the government should stop protecting the police officers because of their positions and not protect them from following the law like everyone else.

Many people may argue that there are good police officers that are not bad persons, that not all the police officers are bad. They’re right, not all the police officers are bad and many of them do the right thing and know how to do their job. But this doesn’t mean that the ones that commit a crime shouldn’t get punished if they use unnecessary force. I am asking for a change of some laws in the U.S. This has been happening too frequently in the United States, and we should solve it as soon as possible before it gets more out of hand. Citizens are getting tired of this and some protests, like the ones in Baltimore and Texas, have gotten violent. If this keeps happening they will start a civil war. There’s nothing we can do about police officer’s minds but we can change the way our justice system works and the way the law affects everyone.

Sincerely, Lucas Pacheco