IntroductionPolice often illegal use of force against civilians

IntroductionPolice brutality in the United States has persisted for long regardless of many efforts by the national and respective state governments to curb the menace. As Shedd (2010) asserts “police brutality is unwarranted or excessive and often illegal use of force against civilians by police officers” (p.34). Police brutality is against the code of conduct of police officers and thus, it amounts to abuse of authority pertaining to their responsibilities and official duties of ensuring observance of law and order by civilians. It ranges from assaults and battery to mayhem, inflicting pain, and murder. Other forms are harassment in form of false arrest, verbal abuse, ethnic profiling, and intimidation. Police brutality has profound negative consequences on the criminal justice system and the relationship with the community. However, there are several measures that can be implemented to solve this menace, but if ignored, the situation will get worse.Historical Perspective of Police Brutality in the United States Police brutality in the United States has a long history that dates back to the time of abolition of slavery. Black Americans have since been subjected to police brutality through racial profiling. However, all races, genders, ethnicities, classes, and ages in America have been subjected to it. Chaney & Robertson (2013) states: “In the late 19th and early 20thcenturies, for example, poor working-class whites expressed frustration over discriminatory policing in northern cities” (p.481). Around the same time, Jewish and other European immigrants complained of brutality POLICE BRUTALITY IN UNITED STATES3perpetrated by the police against their community. In 1920s, urban police divisions used lethal tactics towards Italian immigrants during eradication of organized crimes. As Reynolds-Stenson (2017) asserts “in 1943, officers of the Los Angeles Police Department were complicit in attacks on Mexican Americans by U.S. servicemen during the so-called Zoot Suit Riots” (p.2). In 1969, many cases of harassment of homosexuals, gays, and lesbians by police resulted to StoneWall Riots. Also, In 1960s the peaceful marches and sit-ins organized by Black American civil rights activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. were brutally stopped by the police leading to unwarranted death of rioters (Shedd, 2010). Additionally, Muslim Americans have been subjected to harassment and ethnic profiling by the police after the 2001, September 11 event. Today, these incidents continue to occur and the most affected are the Black Americans. Racial profiling among the police has led to brutal shooting of innocent Black Americans without a valid reason for execution. However, Americans have become enlightened and whenever such shootings occur, they protest against them regardless of the race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and religion of the victim.Effects of Police Brutality on Criminal Justice SystemPolice brutality affects both the criminal justice system and the relationship of police with the community. In terms of effects on criminal justice system, police brutality compromises accountability of police officers. It is the legal duty of a police officer to be accountable when carrying out their legal mandate. However, accountability is highly POLICE BRUTALITY IN UNITED STATES4compromised when they engage in brutality. False arrests, falsified evidence, wiped evidence, and lost records pertaining to a case dominate the criminal justice system. As such, accountability is highly compromised. Second, many cases against police officers are dismissed by special juries for lack of evidence because the involved police officer already interfered with it and may be threatened witnesses making them fear to appear for testimony. Third, police brutality occasionally leads to retaliatory indiscriminate shooting of police men by angered citizens. Cases of police officers being killed have been repeated occasionally in the United States. After being questioned, some of the perpetrators assert that they did it because they are angered by the heightened police brutality that leads to death of innocent citizens. Killing of police officers affects the criminal justice system in that human resource is lost and the department is obliged to spend more finances on training and employing new officers. Fourth, police brutality prevents seamless operation of criminal justice system. This is so because it leads to prolonged courts cases for lack of evidence that might have been discarded by the involved officers or their acquaintances in the police force. Also, it becomes hard for prosecutors to obtain the necessary evidence to prosecute such cases successfully especially because eye-witnesses become afraid of testifying even under witness protection.Effects of Police Brutality on Relationship with the CommunityIn terms of effects on relationship with the community, the level of distrust among members of the public towards criminal justice system POLICE BRUTALITY IN UNITED STATES5increases. As such, they often do not report some cases to the police because their trust on them is low. They see them from an inhumane perspective. This makes it hard for policing in the community because of inadequate cooperation from the citizens. Second, the community members feel unsafe at all times even in the presence of the police officers. This is true because perception plays huge role in convincing members of the community that they are safe. As McArdle (2001) asserts “perceptions keep people safe, but the fear is shifting from those break the law to fear of police.” Even though not all members of the community are occasionally subjected to brutality, the fear permeates across all members regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, race, and religion. Children are the most affected. As such, this fear is transmitted from one generation to the other. Current Solutions to Police BrutalityThe first solution in place to curb police brutality is implementation of a policy requiring the use of nonlethal weapons in most cases. Such nonlethal weapons include pepper sprays, tasers, and beanbag rounds. The use of lethal weapons such as firearms and knives should be the last option and circumstances must be right. Regardless of this requirement, some police officers use their lethal weapons even in the absence of imminent threat of personal life. They then cover their unlawful acts and make people believe that victims are to blame. The second solution in place is a policy requiring police officers to wear body cameras while on duty. As Reynolds-Stenson (2017) asserts “the Department of Justice supplied $20 million for body cameras to used POLICE BRUTALITY IN UNITED STATES6in the police departments countrywide” (p.6). This policy requires that they wear the camera when responding to a call or while on patrols. These cameras record the occurrences when on duty and in case an issue arises, the evidence recorded by the camera used in the court of law. The outcome was that the use of cameras reduced the use of unwarranted force among police officers since they felt that they would be held accountable of their actions. However, not all states embraced this policy because of the associated costs of storing recorded data and maintenance of body cameras.Proposed Solutions to Police BrutalityThe first proposal is employment of special prosecutors to specifically prosecute police brutality cases. Many cases of police brutality are dismissed for lack of enough evidence. This happens because of compromised evidence and intimidation of witnesses by the rogue police officers (Hawdon, 2008). However, employing special prosecutors would enhance confidence among the community and thus facilitate willingness of witnesses to testify against rogue officers. When several cases prosecuted by special prosecutors become successful, other potential rogue officers will be obliged to conform to ethical code of conduct. This will lead to reduced cases of police brutality. The Second proposal is establishment of public review boards mandated with the responsibility of occasionally assessing the effectiveness of police officers and getting feedbacks on cases of police brutality. This would lead to excellent delivery of services by the police and improved relationship with the public. To make them effective, there POLICE BRUTALITY IN UNITED STATES7should be police officers’ representative in every board. Also, adequate funding must be allocated to increase their efficiency. When the relationship of police officers and the public improves, police brutality will significantly reduce. The third proposal is making it a law for all police officers to wear body cameras while on duty. As such, the national government in coordination with respective state government should make available the necessary resources to buy enough cameras, improve record storage, and maintenance of cameras in good condition.Consequences of Ignoring the Problem of Police BrutalityIf police brutality is ignored further, the distrust between the community and the police will increase. Also, retaliatory indiscriminate shooting of police officers by the citizens will increase. Politicians might take advantage of this situation and thus incite the public against the criminal justice system. As such, citizens will delegitimize it and take law into their hands. This will eventually lead to anarchy since the citizens will construe government incapable of safeguarding them. The state of lawlessness, where individuals engage in what they deem right, will eventually develop. ConclusionIn conclusion, police brutality is a deep-rooted social problem in the United States. It affects all people regardless of their race, gender, age, and ethnicity (Shedd, 2010). However, some communities, such as Black Americans, are affected more than others. This has led to deadly consequences such as arbitrary retaliatory shooting of police officers. Although some measures such as use of body cameras have been POLICE BRUTALITY IN UNITED STATES8implemented to curb the menace, other policies must be developed to reinforce the existing ones. For instance, creation of public review boards would help improve relationship between the police and the citizens thus lead to reduced cases of polic


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