Advertising Police Brutality Towards African-Americans
I know this is a tetchy subject for many people, on both sides of the fence. Families and friends of police officers and law enforcement personnel, and the individuals they work with will argue that they are justified in their actions, and need to be given leeway to prevent various crimes. It is an old argument and one that is starting to bore me, because of the frequency it is used.
On the other side, African-Americans can point to hundreds of studies and multiple studies that show that they are disproportionately targeted by law enforcement for various crimes, which is why there is a huge disparity of ethnic populations in certain criminal spheres. E.g., there are more blacks in prison for violent crimes and drug possession than there are whites, and there are more whites in prison for white collar crimes than there are for drug related crimes. One could argue that this is borne of circumstance, but I believe it is irrelevant.
What is relevant is reforming the criminal justice system and the way that law enforcement personnel operate on a day-to-day basis. The latest, and more than likely provable, injustice is the murder of Walter Scott by North Charleston, NC police officer Michael Slager. Officer Slager has a previous history of using excessive force and is being charged with murder for the incident, in which he shot Walter Scott 8 times in the back while he was running away. Disregarding anything else, that is excessive. That is close to half a clip of most handguns and is disgusting, especially when you have other methods of subduing a suspect.
The video is fairly graphic, and the news itself is fascinating. There are already dozens of articles out there advertising police brutality, and this situation is inflaming an already burning pyre for police reform. We are contributing, because fundamentally, whatever your personal prejudices are, there is no reason to murder a man, and advertising police brutality and excessive force in this case is necessary. The past year has seen a number of high profile cases of police abusing their power and killing innocents, or if not innocents, suspects when they could have used other means to subdue them. And one-for-one, until now, these officers have gotten off with hardly a reprimand.
Throw in the fact that the DOD and DHS are now providing police forces across the country with military grade weapons and equipment, like we saw in Ferguson, and is it any wonder that our country’s police are out of control? We are giving them the tools and license to kill without fear, our own people. So, sure, we can pick on the police and advertise their failings, but this goes well beyond the local levels of law enforcement. Our federal government and state legislatures should mandate that military weapons and equipment should not be granted for the average police officer and stop supplying them with such gear. Additionally, fulling implementing programs like police wearing body cameras is becoming more important by the day, and cities should budget the cost to implement them immediately.
These are just some of the reforms that this country needs, and while advertising each case of police brutality helps bring awareness to these injustices and the criminality of our police forces and justice system, it is not enough. I would call on everybody to contact your legislators and urge them to work on these reforms.
What do you think of these cases of police brutality?