W.O. Louisiana

Police Brutality

Police officers can often misuse their own power to bring fear to the black community and other minorities.

Dear Future President,

Congratulations on your win as the president of the United States, and I hope you will fulfill all your promises that you have made throughout your presidential campaign. I am writing to you today about a topic that has been a worry to me in the months. The issue would be about the police brutality that has been happening to the minorities, especially the black community.

Cases of police brutality are not really new in America with infamous cases like Rodney King, a black man who was pulled out of his car by LAPD officers and brutally beaten by batons and forcefully kicked because he was speeding, and Sean Bell, who was shot 50 times by NYPD after resisting arrest. But in past recent years, it has become excessive. With recent cases from Alton Sterling, and Eric Garner to Sandra Bland, Philando Castile,and Tamir Rice.

Officers sometime use the wrong judgement when they suspect something, and they are allowed to use that free thinking. Cities like in New York City use a policy called “stop and frisk” which allows police to stop people if they look suspicious to the eye. Basically, police would be likely to judge someone based on how they look, but mainly their race. According to Everyday Feminism: 5 Facts That Will Absolutely Infuriate You About Police and Racist Violence article, “Breaking down the numbers for New York City’s Stop-and-Frisk policy, it’s clear how often race determines who gets stopped. In 2013, nearly nine out of ten of those stopped under the policy were Black or Latinx – and about 90% were innocent.” Basically they’re saying that law enforcement are using very poor judgement towards people especially minorities. In Vanity Fair: What the Data Really Say About Police and Racial Bias article, the university of California did a study and stated, “...evidence of a significant bias in the killing of unarmed black Americans relative to unarmed white Americans, in that the probability of being black, unarmed, and shot by police is about 3.49 times the probability of being white, unarmed, and shot by police on average.” This just helps prove that some police officers don’t use the right judgement.

The justice system itself is messed up. According to Constitutional Rights Foundation: The Color of Justice article, it claims, “ Critics who claim that racism taints the system have cited its treatment of African-American and Hispanic males. For example, a Bureau of Justice Statistics analysis showed that if current incarceration rates remain unchanged, 32 percent of black males and 17 percent of male Latinos born in 2001 can expect to spend time in prison during their lifetime. This compares to only 6 percent of white males who will go to prison. African-Americans make up 12 percent of the U.S. population, but today compose 40 percent of all prison inmates and 42 percent of those sentenced to death.” Basically it is saying the black and other minorities are given harsher punishments than a white person for the exact same crime. To me, it is very disheartening to know that we rely on a system that is supposed to protect us, but yet targets and takes advantage of people based on the color of their skin. To elaborate, an article called What Causes Police Brutality states, “ … a psycho-killer such as James Eagan Holmes can be apprehended in one piece after conducting a massacre in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater that left 12 dead and 70 wounded, while a black father of four, Rumain Brisbon, can be shot for holding a vial of pills mistaken for a weapon, another can be shot for handling a pellet gun at Walmart (John Crawford, aged 22), and a 12-year-old black child can have his future erased for playing with a BB gun, shot by an officer who may not have been aware the boy was holding a toy gun…”

To tie this all together, this issue is a very big concern to me as a young African-American. The fact that some police officers are given a job that is meant to protect and serve the citizens of America, but instead use it as an advantage to do this type of things to people. Now I know that not ALL police officers are like this. There are some good officers and there are some bad officers, and those bad ones should get penalized as a consequence for their actions just like everyone else in this country that we live in. I would just love to live in a world where I can feel comfortable that my father or my brothers can walk down the street at night without worrying about being racially profiled by everyone.

Sincerely, W.O.