BlackLivesMatter: A Look into Police Brutality in the US
Updated: Jun 5
May 25, 2020 - Footages of the arrest-turned-murder in Minneapolis, Minnesota under police custody stormed throughout all media platforms and gained attention from around the world. George Floyd, 46, Black American was arrested after trying to use a fake $20 bill, to buy cigarettes at the convenience store. The video of the arrest was disturbing, but the corrupt white police officer Derek Chauvin as well as the other surrounded officers clearly have no appreciation to human life. Floyd was found begging for his life as the corrupt and racist officer Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd's neck that eventually became the cause of his (Floyd) unfortunate passing. Police brutality in the US has once again provoked the public.
Seeing a black man being killed within custody by white police has caused a series of protests and unrest in many parts of the US. Many people across the US have expressed their disgust, mistrust, and their sense of responsibility in doing something and making their voices heard towards racism within the police system and racism as a whole.
Although Chauvin, 44, with 18 previous complaints, was already charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, communities all over the world have never stopped showing support against racism with #BlackLivesMatter campaigns and various donation drives sure, the United States has a long record of police brutality ever since the Great Depression and the world wars. As George Floyd's case adds to the list, the days we live today can still be haunting. If it can happen to Floyd, it can happen to anyone else.
In the US, police brutality is the excess use of force against civilians by US police officers that often becomes harmful physically, mentally, and emotionally. Police brutality can be in the form of mistreatments like harassment, verbal abuse, intimidation, false arrest. And can go as far as to assault torture, and murder, like the case of George Floyd and many more who have suffered injustice before him.
STRICK AND AGGRAGGRESSIVE OF FORCE
The United States has been militarizing police forces, which means aggressive military tactics and combat skills can be exercised by a law enforcer anytime. This also includes the use of military equipment such as heavy-duty armors, tear gases, grenades, grenade launchers, and rifles. President Obama previously decreased militarization efforts in law enforcement, but President Trump strengthened them up once again back in 2017. Like how Chauvin choked Floyd to death while arresting, the practice of strict use of force has been the culture of our policemen for many years.
NO TRANSPARENCY OR ACCOUNTABILITY
Some states have provisions for law enforcers that deprive the public access to disciplinary and personnel records of officers engaged in a crime. This is another way to keep corrupt officers right in their places. No wonder Chauvin throughout his 19 years in service has accumulated 18 complaints that went unnoticed.
As Americans officers try and save the day, they certainly enjoy perks when faced with the consequences of their actions. They enjoy qualified immunity and indemnification laws of every state and locality there are in. Even if they surely have violated their rights, it's nearly impossible to put them into trouble. With no accountability and no efforts shown in restricting robust law enforcement methods, this social injustice has made America in rage.
BRUTALITY TO THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY
African Americans regardless of culture, religion, ethnicity, age, and gender, had their fair share of police brutality. From immigrants experiencing extralegal tactics from police investigations, complicit attacks, hostility, to regular harassments of homosexuals and transgender people. But according to Mapping Police Violence, police-related deaths in 2019 alone summed up to 1099 people, where 24% of the deaths were Black people. Black people only comprise 13% of the population, but they are 3 times more likely to be killed by police compared to white people. Surprisingly, 99% of police officers involved in these acts from 2013-2019 have not been charged with a single crime.
Racism is theorized to be one major cause of police brutality towards African Americans and other groups. Other academic theories include: Threat Hypothesis: Police use force as a direct response to a threat perceived by economic groups or racial groups that are viewed as threats to existing social order.
In conclusion , a wise man once said "our cultural systems perpetuate regrettable patterns of economic, social, and political injustice in which racism, sexism, homophobia, militarism, and other forms of unfairness abound and in which representative government is relatively rare and torture and other forms of oppression are distressingly common."