Dear Mr. or Mrs. President,
Did you know that 820 people have been killed in the United States in 2016 by policemen? Most of these victims have been unarmed and not dangerous. We worry about wars and abortion and presidential elections more than we worry about people who have been wrongly killed by our own men. You need to stop the police from killing these innocent people.
Excessive force is the most common form of police misconduct. Excessive force reports made up more than 23 percent of all police misconduct reports in 2010, according to the Cato Institute's National Police Misconduct Reporting Project. Of those excessive force reports, an estimated 57 percent involved cases of physical use of force, which include chokeholds, baton strikes and other physical attacks. 15 percent involved firearm-related complaints. If you could eliminate excessive force from our police force today than violent police shootings wouldn’t be such an occasional sighting.
For every 1,000 people killed by the police only 1 officer is convicted of a crime. The Washington Post and Bowling Green University published a vividly thorough informative study about police officers who have killed people in the United States since 2005. The study found that among the thousands who have killed at the hands of cops since that year, only 54 officers have been charged. The study reported that most officers were cleared or acquitted in the resolved cases.
Black Americans are more than twice likely to be unarmed when killed during police encounters than whites. An analysis published in May found 32 percent of black people killed by police this year were unarmed, compared to 15 percent of white people and 25 percent of Hispanic and Latino people. So, we know that if a cop might have accidentally killed someone because he/she was protecting himself/herself or was being shot at, then it must be ok. Except, the police have been shooting and killing unarmed citizens. If officers are able to shoot and kill unarmed americans, then is it ok that we do nothing to stop them?
Some people might say that policemen are not using excessive force and that all of these killings have been because those victims were armed and hostile. I agree that some of those people may have been armed but did he have to kill them? Couldn’t we have least tried to reason with them before immediately killing them? That person with the gun might not be in a very good place. Maybe something bad is happening to them and they just need someone to talk to them about it. Shouldn’t we try to talk to them before exerting a deadly amount of force?
People in the United States are being shot and killed on the streets and they aren’t even armed. We cannot let these citizens be killed unfairly. You must stop the police from using excessive force. You can help by funding state governments so that they can give more money to police departments to reward police officers who are not shooting unarmed citizens. No, you must fund state governments so that these killings can be stopped.
Sincerely, Dylan Mathew (Cedar Valley Middle School 8th Grade)