Police Brutality and The Media

Police brutality can be defined as the deliberate use of excessive force, usually physical, carried out during law enforcement activities in the population. This also includes verbal attacks and...
Police Brutality
Photo credit to G20 Voice via flickr

Police brutality can be defined as the deliberate use of excessive force, usually physical, carried out during law enforcement activities in the population. This also includes verbal attacks and psychological intimidation by a police officer. Police brutality is one of the several forms of police misconduct and exists in many countries. Police brutality has been on the rise in the last few years. In 2009, the F.B.I.’s account of justifiable homicides by police officers ranged from 397-426 annually before reaching 461 in 2013. Most recent reports, though, show that there are about 1,100 deaths a year, or three a day, whites and blacks. So many unarmed black men have died in police confrontations, including the most memorable Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and Freddie Gray. Their deaths have caused many rallies and protests, which too lead to deaths of unarmed citizens. President Obama states that “it comes up, it seems like, once a week now, or once every couple of weeks.” President Obama is calling these encounters “a slow-rolling crisis. This is not new and we should not pretend it is.”

In this article, the suspect is a black male and according to the footage shot by the local news, the suspect appeared to be unarmed. Yet, the unidentified police officer hit the suspect in the right arm with his baton and then proceeded to kick the suspect in the arm. Also, once the suspect was in handcuffs, the unidentified officer wrapped his arm around the suspect’s neck and shoved the suspect in the back of the patrol car with his foot. Such unnecessary force by the unidentified officer would be considered police brutality. This incident also raises ethical issues within the law. Citizens all over the world are supposed to be able to trust authority and look to them for help. Since police brutality incidents are occurring so often now, that enlisted trust is slowly dying out.

The head of the local police union, Mike Williams, defends the unidentified officer’s behavior towards the suspect. “I don’t think they took it to a point, to me, to where it was excessive because I don’t think anybody had to go to the hospital, anyone was injured,” says Williams. “You know, I think they deployed the [baton] right because you are allowed to strike people in fatty parts of the body. But I don’t know if citizens are ready to see that, you know, because they’re like, ‘Oh, wow, they beat him.” However, this claim is questionable. The suspect was unarmed and had fallen to the ground and thrown his hands up in surrender, yet the unidentified officer pulled out his baton and hit the suspect in the right arm, and kicked him in the arm even though there had been no struggle with the suspect. If the suspect had a weapon and attempted to use that weapon, then I believe the unidentified officer had the right to pull out his baton and hit the suspect until the struggle was over. State Rep. G.A. Hardaway does not agree with Mike Williams in this case. Hardaway believed that there was an obvious display of excessive force that could have put both the officers and other community members at risk.

The scary part about this is that this is one of dozens of stories that have not been aired on national news channels or stations. State Rep. G.A. Hardaway says, “Any child that sees that is going to be imprinted with it for lifetime. Any adult is going to be imprinted with it. They’re going to teach their children that this is what police do.” But, if the press does not do its job of exposing such apparent cases of police brutality, then the problem is not likely to be addressed.

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