M. Carter Pennsylvania

Police Brutality Letter

Dear Next President, My name is Melvin Carter a high school student from Philadelphia. I believe there is a serious problem with police brutality in America. There are far too many instances of suspects or civilians who aren’t even suspects being beaten or murdered by police officers. Many people I know have had minor to major experiences with police brutality including a cousin of mine. Even some police officers have spoken out against brutality against minorities or people in general. If officers had better training many instances of brutality could be avoided. Too often police do not get penalized for the murder of an innocent person. In the past 3 years police have killed well over 3 thousand people, however only 1% of those officers have ever been indicted for their actions. This allows officers to think they are above the law and they do not fear the repercussions. 84% of officers have witnessed excessive force being used by another officer. If police were required to undergo more substantial training then police brutality would not be as big of an issue as it currently is. Officers in training should be required to do more than 6 months of training. They should also be given more than just combat training. A few lessons of psychology could help officers defuse dangerous situations by learning how suspects think. Being able to calm a suspect down would mean that physical violence or firearms would be only used a last resort and not as a quick response to the officer’s own fear. These changes would certainly limit killing by police officers and they would be well trained both mentally and physically. I recently spoke with a cousin of mine named Marcus who lives in San Antonio about police brutality. Marcus agreed that police should be better trained mentally and he also told me about a recent experience he had with police brutality. He said “It changed my perception of police”. He was walking a friend home after a tiring afternoon of football practice when a police vehicle pulled over closely to them. Both officers were white males and one was “overweight”. The overwieght officer ask the two where they were headed. When Marcus responded by saying they were walking home the officer said “I don’t think so”. The cops got out of the car and pushed them against the wall. One of the cops started squeezing Marcus’ friend by the neck almost choking him. When the boy started to squirm and make noise the officer told him to “shut the f*ck up!” After a rough pat down the officers got back in the car and left. The overwieght officer said “have a nice day” in a very sarcastic tone. It’s not just the civilians that are claiming that police brutality has become a more prominent recently. Warrensville Heights, Ohio officer Nakia Jones expressed her outrage with the amount of blacks being killed by police officers. As a message to other officers across the country she said “You stood up there and took an oath. If this is not where you want to work, then you need to take your behind somewhere else.” Officer Jones isn’t the only cop to stand up against police brutality, a Baltimore officer Named Joe Crystal reported an incident of excessive force used by another officer. Officer Crystal was shunned and threatened by the fellow officers of his department. He was no longer respected by his peers and ultimately decided to quit due to the harassment he endured. These are just two of the millions of officers that know there is a problem with brutality in this country, unfortunately they are often overshadowed by the “bad” or “crooked” cops. In conclusion, police violence and brutality is a problem that most officers are not properly penalized for. Many other officers also acknowledge this as a problem. Even someone I know personally has dealt with police brutality. A way to avoid this would be to better train officers both mentally and physically before they hit the streets. I urge you to take note of this issue and try to change it for the better.

Sincerely, Melvin Carter