Kristen B. West Virginia

Police Brutality

How should America deal with police brutality?

Dear Next President,

I understand you are very busy, but if you would please take a moment, I would like to address a matter that effects everyone in America. This controversial topic has always been a problem, and that topic is police brutality. Many try and look away from the fact that in 2016 alone, between 790 and 844 people were murdered by the ones who claim to protect us, and the year is not yet over. Many of those victims were the mentally ill, unarmed, and people of color. A project called The Guardian have been tracking police brutality. On their website, www.thegaurdian.com, they have statistics that are astounding. In California, 116 were killed in 2016. In Texas, there were 66. These are not just numbers. These are lives; mothers, daughters, sons, and fathers. This is a bigger problem than we realize. In the past, police have been known to beat innocent people like protesters, and the sad part is we haven’t evolved from those frightening years. We have blacks and women voting, LGBT rights, and yet, we’re still dealing with police brutality.

Of those 844 people whose lives were stolen, 346 of them were of African descent or other colored races. 40% of those victims were unarmed. It’s not always about guilt; 1 of every 3 were actually suspected of a real crime. The saddest part is that 97% of those police officers were not convicted. We believe we’ve come so far since the days of slavery and oppression, and we have to a degree, but it is still an ongoing problem. Today we try and avoid the topic of racism due to the fact that it was such a dark time in our history, but you can’t dispute fact. According to The Guardian, black males are twice as likely to be shot as white males. Where is the justice in that? The color of our skin has absolutely nothing to do with guilt or character. This is more than a governmental problem, but a moral issue as well. A change has to be made to reform our legislation. We should feel safe and protected, and instead we feel the very opposite.

One way to fix this problem would be to convict the officers that have abused their power. They often appear to be above the law, and some of them use that to their advantage. Because of the power bestowed onto them, they somehow believe they can do as they please and will answer to no one. To the unarmed and even armed citizens of this country this is very unsettling. If we crack down on the percentage that abuse their rights, we can hope that it would deter future officers from making the same mistakes. We also obviously need some change in how our officers are chosen as well. Not all police are criminals or malicious, but the tyrants that are must be removed. Extra precautions should be set into play to insure that we are choosing the correct people to protect us and our rights. They are making our policing systems seem corrupt and in turn our government as well. All we want as citizens of America is to have a voice and to be protected. I hope this has brought a serious matter to your attention, and you will be willing to address this problem. I appreciate the time you have taken to read and consider this letter.

Sincerely,

A concerned citizen

Wheeling Park High School

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