Criminal justice Essay Sample

Most police officers indulge in harassing complainants, threatening them, and at times even going so far as to arrest them. In the case of King, a few witnesses were tracked down but they refused to speak out and testify fearing reprisals. Those who did speak out against the LAPD and the top notch officials received threats and harassment. Several cases can be quoted where witnesses were deliberately held back from testifying and those who were taking that risk were being dealt harshly and were almost entirely ostracized.

For instance the LAPD use of force expert Mark Conta testified for the prosecution and later had to face the hard hitting comments of the prosecuted. Koon was stated to have called him a whore. It’s hard to record something like intimidation but even more so is the case of bribery. One can never know whether the people who did not testify at the Kings trial were indeed bribed and given other unethical benefits such as promotions and money.

The entire case provides us with a scenario where it becomes evident that it revolved around covering up the act of violence itself , making the target look bad , misinterpreting the events and abusing authoritative power through intimidation. At times journalists and other media persons are bribed to give false accounts of a situation or to contain graphic images that can be held against law enforcement agencies. (Martin, 2005) Having analyzed the Rodney King case in its entirety it becomes clear that police units are not free from crime and are certainly not above the law that never seems to apply on them so to speak.

Profiling on their part is not just based on factors such as race but also characteristics perceiving to income levels , the sort of neighborhood that one belongs too , the various cultures and of course ethnicities. Some personal traits can also cloud their judgments as to who is a potential criminal. For instance people with tattoos or other body piercing are looked upon suspiciously and are more likely to be stopped and searched as opposed to a person who is simple. So it is safe to conclude that getup also counts for a lot.

Such prejudices and stereotyping on part of the law enforcement agencies is not only harmful to society as a whole but also drops the credibility of these institutions that maintain the so called order. People always say that there are bad apples everywhere and this is precisely the reason that law enforcement agencies give when one of their own men willingly indulge in unethical activities. Just this mere statement that not everybody is perfect implies that law enforcement agencies can get away with corruption and illegal activities, because in the end they are humans and humans tend to make mistakes.

In many cases it was noted that local police deals with great severity and even resort to brutality at times for the slightest breach of conduct. In one particular case an Austin police officer threatened to break into the house of a cyclist who crossed the red light if he did not consent to paying the heavy fine that he had imposed on him. This is just one case, their countless others which can be cited to prove my point. (Blue jay, n. d. ) Facing ethical dilemmas is not everyone’s cup of tea as not every individual can be suited to solve such issues.

Therefore it only makes sense that ethics should be taught in every domain of society and should be part of a proper program that is geared towards equipping law enforcement agencies and the legal system in its entirety so as to reduce the chances of unethical behavior. Some argue that police work can lead down the lane of ethical compromises. Although officers are complete owners of their integrity and professionalism the rest of their conduct is dependent on pre set rules which they must obey.

Officers who become over efficient and relate to closely to these codes of conduct are in danger of losing control of other things in life. They start to develop us vs. them attitudes and can not tolerate even slight disagreements. Their word becomes law and their actions justified. This results in their own alienation and degradation. Their unethical attitudes are a product of the fact that they think they are entitled to treat offenders even small offenders in a harsh manner.

Eventually it becomes a habit which is hard to eradicate as it is the mindset that needs to be changed as well as the form of training. Only if the criminal justice system is revolutionized can a difference be made. Law enforcement agencies, courts, and other officials at the state level need to ensure the strict handling of offenders from within their system and if necessary incarcerate them for brutal treatment as a means of correction. Conclusively the attitude of law enforcement agencies towards law itself is more or less a distortion of how the system should really work.

The root causes need to be analyzed and solved if progress towards the eradication of misconduct and unethical activities is to be made.


Michael L. Boles, n. d. , Institutionalizing Ethics for the Next Century http://www. fdle. state. fl. us/fcjei/SLP%20papers/Boles. PDF Accessed September 17, 2008 Brian Byers, 2002, ethics and criminal justice http://www. cjcenter. org/cjcenter/publications/cji/archives/cji. php? id=1 Accessed September 17, 2008