I’m Thierno Barry, a senior at Brooklyn International High School, and I live in Brooklyn, NY where I immigrated from Guinea, West Africa. As a black male living in the United States, I’m concern about issues regarding people of color and law enforcement, mostly the African American community. As we know, racial profiling has been a tactic used for several years which discriminates against minorities. In addition, the recent shootings of African Americans by police officers, and police officers being shot, has raised the tension in the country and started to divide the community. Therefore, next President, I urge you to take action before things get aggravated.
As a peer trainer, I try not to judge people or make assumptions about a whole group for their race, culture, or religion. But racial profiling is the opposite, it discriminates the minority group. For instance, “Under stop-and-frisk, police stops increased dramatically from 2003 to 2011. In 2013, a federal judge ruled that the program violated the rights of minorities such as African-Americans and Hispanics. These people made up roughly 90 percent of those stopped” (Jones, n.d.). This illustrates how the “program violated the rights of minorities” and they make “90 percent of those stopped” which are huge numbers and will make them feel as targets all the time when in the street or anywhere. Also, this is taking their right of doing certain thing they are permitted to, because they will always be considered targets. Even though in 2003 president Bush banned federal agents from looking at people by race, ethnicity, when investigating, and former Attorney General Holder added gender, origin, religion, and sexual orientation as a barrier when investigating. (Jones, n.d.). These profiling still keep occurring and as former Attorney General Holder says, “the practice destroys trust in the police. That trust is an important issue right now. The public is angry over cases in which officers did not face charges after they killed black men who were not carrying weapons.” (Jones, n.d.).
The fact that there is a division in community, and “trust is an important issue right now”, makes this more of a big issue. Since the “public is angry over cases”, things could go out of hand, and it could cause future conflicts with the insufficiency of trust. Furthermore, as of a recent incident of a police officer mistreating a black teenager in a pool in Texas, there have being video released and “In the video, Casebolt can be seen drawing his gun on the unarmed teenagers. He is also seen throwing a 14-year-old girl to the ground. The girl was wearing nothing but a swimsuit. She was not armed.” (Pearce, n.d.) The fact that an officer can be “drawing his gun on the unarmed teenagers” and “throwing a 14-year-old girl to the ground”, instead of protecting them, could make anyone exclude themselves from the law enforcement. And this increases the issues, and insufficient trust in a community. In addition, this issue, “For some, it brought back memories of the nation's pre-1964 segregation laws. Under segregation, blacks were kept from using certain whites-only public spaces. In many states blacks were denied the right to swim in pools with white Americans.” (Pearce, n.d.) And those historical issues of “segregation” are things that should be fought and forgetting, to form a harmonious society, instead of replicating them.
Due to the recent shooting of African Americans, there has also being shootings of police officers, and this leads some officers like Montrell Jackson to feel, “exhausted and unsafe at his job.” (Wan, n.d.) Also, as officer Jackson wrote, "In uniform I get nasty, hateful looks and out of uniform some consider me a threat. I'm tired physically and emotionally."(Wan, n.d.) And if an officer feel, “unsafe at his job”, and is “considered a threat”, that’s an issue because their duty is to protect the community and if those people they are supposed to protect are threatening them, it will be an unpleasant job to do. Moreover, during critical situation, they might react in a fearful way that another issue occurs. Like Mark Lomax said, “when officers are being targeted, it is hard for them to respond without using force.” (Wan, n.d.) However, that’s not an excuse for any officer to keep shooting and hurting the community.
To have a strong and united society, both the community and the law enforcement needs to communicate and understand each other. The solution to a firm relation between the law enforcement and the community, could occur with your help as the leader of the nation. Some possible solutions are first, to have same rules or law about using force in all states, because the US doesn’t have “a national standard for when the police in all those departments can or should use force.” (Armstrong, n.d.) Also, there has been demands for use of police body camera, so that people know more information and things that are going on. In addition, officers should get more involved with the community, they could get out of their cars, and station and talk to the community, listen and share ideas. And when dealing with small issues, Police should not overreact. Instead of using force, they could just give tickets, because many issues starts with the small things. Furthermore, the diversity of officers helps citizens feel comfortable. Lastly, officers should get more training, and be taught on how to reduce intense situation by talking about the issues and keeping things calm. President, with your support on solutions to these issues the life of many will be better.
Armstrong, K. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://newsela.com/articles/how-to-fix-american-policing/id/20243/
Jones, T. (n.d.). Issue Overview: Racial profiling. Retrieved from https://newsela.com/articles/overview-racial-profiling/id/21197/
Pearce, M. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://newsela.com/articles/texaspool-incident/id/10632/
Wan, W. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://newsela.com/articles/baton-rouge-police-shooting-danger/id/19716/