As they seem to be ongoing issues, I would like to discuss both police brutality/misconduct and racism in the U.S. I would also like to discuss the extensive and unfortunate relation between the two. Over the past few years, it seems the U.S. has had an increase in video recorded acts of misconduct and racism amongst its police forces. With these recordings circulating through all forms of social media, many people have brought up the question, “why hasn't this stopped?” Ultimately, I believe that we should take control of the situation and take punishment of police brutality and police misconduct in general far more seriously. We can achieve this by not just teaching our community better about equality. But more importantly teaching our officers in training or holding classes in the departments about equality and alternative methods to handling situations.
But the reality is that some people would rather abandon the problem and disregard change. They would rather the police continue their sometimes unnecessary ways to handle situations. This simply cannot continue. Some politicians believe that how the public view the police should not affect how they do their job. They believe that instead of recording and criticizing police we should focus more on the privacy of police; letting them continue the same methods.
How big of a problem is police brutality? Our nation's police force, although great, could be better. The way some police officers handle situations is in most ways sub par. A lot of officers jump to conclusions and immediately resort to their “old fashioned” ways. According to the Washington Post, In 2015 there were a total of 991 total deaths from police shootings. Granted some of these can be justified but a great deal of them cannot. Of those 991 shootings there were 154 shootings upon victims without a weapon or even just with a toy weapon ("2015 Washington Post Database of Police Shootings"). This shows that our police don't always make the right decision and need to be taught when and when not to resort to extreme methods.
In recent years there has been a spike in video recordings of police. In this age of technology this should come as no surprise. These videos allow for public scrutiny of police through social media. According to an article that focuses on the political side of police brutality by The New York Times, public scrutiny of police is a good thing. It allows everyone to see how police truly handle complicated situations ( "Political Lies About Police Brutality"). It also makes police more aware of their surroundings and may influence them to act less irrational. I believe that we should teach our police forces right from wrong, whats racism and whats equality, is violence always necessary? Educate them to be more rational and teach them a variety of ways to control or diffuse situations. to teach them this we could put them into scenarios and assess how they reacted. did they only respond with violence no matter what? teach them differently; teach them alternative more peaceful tactics.
Why is there still a direct connection between police brutality and racism? In the same article by The New York Times Editorial Board they claimed that the black lives matter movement, “focuses on the irrefutable fact that black citizens are far more likely than whites to die at the hands of the police.” ("2015 Washington Post Database of Police Shootings"). According to the Washington post this is true. Of the 991 people that died at the hands of the police almost 260 0f them were African American. This and the amount of damage that police have inflicted onto black communities shows that racism is indeed still a relevant problem in our country.
Racism and police brutality should be a conflict of the past but they aren't. We need to make steps in the direction to ensure that one day these problems will fall behind us. We need to educate both our officers and the people around them to stop these problems from ever happening again. Introduce classes both into training and into our current departments. Any step to rid our forces of racism and extreme or violent measures is a step in the right direction.
Sincerely, Tate I.