Jahlen Williams

Police brutality remains one of the most serious and divisive human rights violations in the United States today. It has become a controversial topic in our country, publicized by various citizens who have been victims these heinous acts. Many of these crimes occur due to racial profiling, in fact according to Huffington post 87% of all police brutality cases involve African Americans. A policeman’s job is to ensure the safety of all citizens, including the ones they arrest. However, between 2003 and 2009 at least 4,813 people have died in the process of being arrested by local police, and African Americans constitute 57.

1 % of these deaths. (Bureau of Justice Statistics) Police officers who use excessive force on innocent citizens abandon their oath to “Serve – our sovereign country and state – as a police officer without favor or affection – malice or ill-will” and turn their back on all the ideals that they are supposed to uphold as an officer of the law. (Jim Hietmeyer Cop Block) Even though police brutality is just recently gaining societal notoriety it is not a new concept. The term police brutality was first coined by the Chicago Tribune in 1872, after a reported the beating of a civilian under arrest at the Harrison Street Police Station in Chicago.

(Porta 3) However, the incident that pushed police brutality into the public eye was the savage beating of Rodney King and his two companions by four police officers in 1991. A civilian videotaped the incident leading to extensive national media coverage and criminal charges Williams 2 against the officers involved. However, hours later the four police officers were acquitted at a state trial. This gross miscarriage of justice, sparked outrage within the Los Angeles community leading to the Los Angeles riots of 1992.

These riots resulted in 53 deaths, 2,383 injuries, more than 7,000 fires, and nearly 1 billion dollars in financial losses. (Porta 67) All these terrible incidents could have been avoided had the officers simply followed proper police protocol. However out of their sick desire to commit harm, they brutalized 3 innocent men, revealing for the world to see the grave injustice of the police force. Even after such a large scale tragedy, police officers use of excessive force still persists. This is mainly due to the fact that citizens can’t ensure that the responsible parties are held accountable. Which makes it possible for officers to brutalize and violate innocents and escape without punishment.

Police and public officials greet each new report of brutality with denials, while the administrative and criminal systems that should deter these abuses by holding officers accountable instead virtually guarantee them impunity. Investigations find that police brutality is persistent in all cities, and the systems that are set up to deal with these abuses have all had similar failings in each city. Another reason police brutality is still so prevalent is that complainants often face enormous difficulty in seeking administrative punishment or criminal prosecution of officers who have these acts.

In fact according to a national survey was taken by the Seattle Times and states that 70% of all police crimes against the public go uninvestigated. (Essay on Racism and Police Brutality in United States) This show these inequities are not only within the police force but within the police bureaucracy as well. Police brutality is a great civil rights violation, which is prevalent in our society today. Officers who use excessive force abandon their sworn duty to protect the citizens of this great nation.