Mikayla P. Oklahoma

Police Brutality has Gotten out of Hand

Police Brutality has risen in the past decade; whats going on?

Dear Next President,

In the last decade, police brutality against the minorities has tripled! 2015 was the year of the most high-profile incidents of police brutality against minorities, and 9/10 of the events did not even conclude in the officer being charged with a crime, while the officers were using excuses such as that the victim was either "mentally ill or impaired". Police brutality has gotten out of hand, and we must stop it! We are all united together as one (A.K.A the United States of America). That means no matter in which ethnic group you come from, no matter which party you side with, no matter which person favors batman over superman, we all must stick together!

Five months into 2015, the Washington Post conducted research about how many deadly police-involved shootings had occurred in the year. There were 385 documented fatalities caused by an officer shooting, meaning there was an average of  two people a day dying nationwide by an officer pulling the trigger on their gun, and killing them. Some officers (like Officer Shelby, mentioned in the next paragraph) don’t think to first grab their Taser; their first instinct of what to grab is their gun. The ratio of African Americans getting killed rather that other minorities is 3/1, meaning that African Americans are being killed 3 times more than other minorities. This makes you wonder, are cops abusing their power?

A few days prior to me writing this letter, an African American man was killed by an officer in the city I currently reside in - Tulsa, Oklahoma. Terence Crutcher was unarmed, and had his hands in the air when fatally shot by a Tulsa Police Department officer, Betty Shelby. Prior to Crutcher being shot he was walking towards the officer with his hands in his pockets, trying to talk to her, and Shelby asked the man to take his hands out of his pockets. He did so willingly, and he even raised his hands in the air to show he had nothing on him; Shelby thought that was very weird. A few minutes later Crutcher walked to his car with his hands still in the air and was very visible. By this time, 2 more officers showed up and pulled out their Tasers, while officer Shelby decided to pull out her gun... He was leaning with his stomach to the car and his hands still in the air at this time. In the video released by the Tulsa Police Department, all of a sudden Crutcher falls to the ground, with the an officer calling on the radio "I think he may have just been tasered," and a female officer shouts "Shots fired!". Shelby said she fired because "he was reaching into his car", but the attorney pointed out that the windows to Crutcher's car were all rolled up and there was even blood coming off the window going onto the car door. A helicopter officer while on the radio and on tape, referred to him looking like a "bad dude"... This shows how they are proceeding things with their outlooks. This young man lived in my city, my state, our country! And what is being done?  The officer is on administrative paid leave and there is a young man being buried 6 ft under the ground. When is something going to change? How many innocent people have to die because an officer doesn't know "how to properly" engage further in a situation? Officer Shelby never drew her Taser; she immediately went for her gun.

Police brutality has been going on in America for a long time, and it is still happening to this day! But this year, Bill Chappel conducted research of how many officers had been killed by gunfire. In his research, he informed us that 4% more police officers died in 2015 than 2014. At the end of 2015, there were 49 police officers were shot and kill by gunfire. The number of police officers killed by gunfire fell 14% from 2008. More officers died in traffic-related events than from gunfire. We aren’t out here to kill the cops. We’re all trying to stick together, as one. So think again, are cops abusing their power? Something needs to change, and it needs to happen soon! Mr. President, somehow we need to raise enough money and get it to where cops have proper training and even wear body cameras to record their actions to prove their innocence as well. It would not only be beneficial to the officers, but the citizens as well. There needs to be certain training for the trainees before they can become an officer with more in depth wellness checks, along with free counseling and any medicines prescribed to the officer with his doctors approval. Let's make a change; it will greatly affect everyone.

East Central High School - Tulsa

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