Police Brutality – Affirmation

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Over the last few years, turmoil was erupted in the United States over the deaths of various unarmed African Americans who died at the hands of police. Ferguson, Tulsa, Baltimore and multiple other cities across the country has sparked a national debate over how much racial bias skews law enforcement behavior, even subconsciously. Although not all police encounters turn violent, it is sure to say that race has increasingly become a deciding factor in how officers will treat members of the community.

Routine traffic stops more frequently led to searches, arrests and the opening of a trapdoor into the criminal justice system that can have a lifelong impact, especially for those who lack economic or social resources in order to protect or defend themselves from racial discrimination and prejudice.

Empirical evidence confirms the existence of racial profiling on America’s roadways. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that for the year 2005, the most recent data available, “police actions taken during a traffic stop were not uniform across racial and ethnic categories.” “Black drivers (4.5%) were twice as likely as White drivers (2.1%) to be arrested during a traffic stop. By analyzing data from 4.5 million traffic stops in 100 North Carolina cities, Stanford researchers have found that police in that state are more likely to search black and Hispanic motorists, using a lower threshold of suspicion, than when they stop white or Asian drivers.

According to findings by a Guardian study that recorded a final tally of 1,134 deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers this year, young black men were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by police officers in 2015.

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Police brutality against blacks started being in the media more following the shooting of Michael Brown, by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 9, 2014. This resulted in nationwide protests against the tendency of law enforcement to be overly aggressive when dealing with black men. This is how the Black Lives Matter movement gained traction. Through this movement, it has been shown that police are arresting and killing black men at a much higher rate than any other racial groups.

Overall in 2015, black people were killed at twice the rate of white, Hispanic and native Americans. About 25% of the African Americans killed were unarmed, compared with 17% of white people. This disparity has narrowed since the database was first published on 1 June, at which point black people killed were found to be twice as likely to not have a weapon.

Law enforcement was only charged with 18 crimes of 2015’s deadly incidents – 10 shootings, four deadly vehicle crashes and four deaths in custody.

Minority groups are much more likely to be arrested, shot and killed by police than other racial groups. Racial profiling is a large problem in law enforcement because there are biases and stereotypes towards black males. Police officers are often quicker to shoot an unarmed black man than an unarmed white man due to embedded cultural stereotypes. It is clear that African Americans are victimized by police in the United States more than any other ethnic group of citizens.

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Police Brutality – A Refutation

Due to the recent police killings and creation of Black Lives Matter, many people in this country believe Blue Lives Matter legislation should be introduced. Louisiana was the first state to pass the legislation, but many others have proposed similar bills. Both houses of Congress have introduced “Thin Blue Line” legislation.

According to Time, “Blue Lives Matter legislation has garnered interest this year among lawmakers who believe police are under siege around the country. It’s in part a response to the growing prominence of the Black Lives Matter movement.” The growing support is due to an increase in the number of officers fatally shot on duty. According to the National Officers Law Memorial Fund, last year 42 officers were killed on duty, and 52 officers have been killed on duty this year so far. By introducing this legislation lawmakers are implying that the BLM movement encourages violence against the police. To infer or state that the Black Lives Matter movement encourages violence, hatefulness or retaliation is simply erroneous. The police need to be protected, but to single officers out is inequitable, as citizens need to be protected as well. So far in 2016, 220 blacks were killed in police shootings. The legislation diminishes the importance of the need for change that the BLM movement promotes and creates an even bigger gap between police and blacks in America.

Another misconception about the BLM movement, specifically regarding police brutality, is that police brutality is not the fault of police officers. According to a 2015 video from Fox News, Bill O’Reilly has accredited the brutality to being the fault of “disrespectful youth”. O’Reilly claimed that “the besetting problem of our era, we are insistently told by police and their apologists, is not widespread abuse and other misconduct by law enforcement officers, but increasing ‘disrespect for authority’ that is being abetted by ‘liberals’ and those even more dreadful people called ‘libertarians.’” Although there is some truth to the idea that youths are increasingly disrespectful to authority, this acclamation is just a sad excuse for evidence.

In actuality, police brutality has significantly increased over the past few years, and is more likely to occur for African Americans. According to a study done by a professor at the University of California, Davis, there is “evidence of a significant bias in the killing of unarmed black Americans relative to unarmed white Americans, in that the probability of being black, unarmed, and shot by police is about 3.49 times the probability of being white, unarmed, and shot by police on average.”

The Black Lives Matter movement is essential towards easing the tensions between the police and black communities. Black Lives Matter strives to reveal the truths about racial tensions in America and provide solutions to the problems.

Sources:

http://time.com/4413732/iowa-police-shooting-blue-lives-matter/

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2015/jun/01/the-counted-map-us-police-killings

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0141854

Police Brutality – Facts

After the Baltimore Riots in 2015 Identities.Mic published an article with facts about police brutality. Some of the information may shock readers, but information also does a great job of contextualizing the sentiments some Black Americans hold in regards to police.

Check out the article:

25 Shocking Facts About the Epidemic of Police Brutality in America

Police Brutality – Uncommon Sense

On the MTV2 show Uncommon Sense the host, Charlamagne Tha God, used his segment called “Righteous Ratchet Wisdom” to speak up on the incident of police brutality on a young woman at Spring Valley High in Columbia, South Carolina. A video was captured of a young girl getting dragged by a police officer because she did not leave the classroom when asked to do so. This sparked massive outrage which fueled Charlamagne’s speech on the show. He goes from address the issue with the blue wall of silence, to the child abuse that was inflicted, and finally the lack of respect.

Check out the link to the full video:

Righteous Ratchet Wisdom

Police Brutality – Rodney King

Before there was Eric Garner, before there was Philando Castile, there was Rodney King. On March 3rd 1991 Rodney King was stopped by LAPD after a high speed car chased and was beaten severely by members of the Los Angeles Police Department. Someone close by took a video recording of the altercation from their balcony and sent it to a local news station, and it did not take long for the story to go national. The King incident gave validity to the claim African Americans had been making about police brutality and the video tape sparked a national conversation. Unfortunately, the police offers were not convicted, thereby causing the 1992 LA riots.

The link to the video of Rodney King being beaten by the police is:

The Beating of Rodney King