Police Brutality & Race Op-Ed

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Source: Wong Maye-E/AP

Jeffery Lau, BCCHS Sociology Student

The practice of police brutality has been presented throughout the streets of this once proclaimed great nation. The measures taken by the police not only affect the victims from the tragedies, but shape the image of the country as a whole. This has been a situation that society has been fighting for decades after decades because it is specifically targeting the African American community. Throughout the history of the United States, there was not one period in time where the society sees equality among all its people including African Americans. From slavery to the development of equal rights for African Americans, there is still no proof of equality demonstrated in the diverse society. Therefore, change must be made to stick to the name of our nation because, at the end of the day, everyone is a human being and the same. Specifically, police brutality should be the main priority for making change because it violates many laws and human rights which is unacceptable for society’s safety and justice. 

Law enforcement on policing has to be reformed because the role of police officers is to protect the civilians in all causes in the public and ensure safety. Their jobs are not to harm and potentially take one’s life away. In reality, cases after cases occur between black people and police officers resulting in the death of an African American. For instance, a NYTimes article states “The sustained protests across the country in the weeks since Mr. Floyd’s death have prompted a nationwide reckoning with racism that extends far beyond questions of policing. And in Georgia, Mr. Brooks’ killing was the latest in a series of recent controversies that have reminded residents of the worst injustices of the past” (1). This demonstrates the same mistakes and events that history repeats and the importance of adjustment to policing enforcement. Without reform to the policing system, more and more lives would be taken away in the hands of police officers in addition to the unjustified system of allowing chokeholds, etc. Overall, “many law enforcement agencies embrace a mission to ‘protect and serve’ but the debate over police brutality and funding has raised questions about just who these departments keep safe” (2). The only solution to justify both sides is to advance the policing system by ensuring the ban of chokeholds or any life-threatening tactics. Furthermore, police brutality is a violation of human rights because every human being is protected with natural and legal rights but instead they are not receiving what they are guaranteed. The innocent victims are getting their lives taken away from them in ways that are preventable. Even though some people may see it as a necessary immediate change, some people think that everything happens for a reason. 

On the other hand, people may view police brutality as a minor issue and is not a problem the world needs to focus on as of right now. People may say this because the lead up of the incident is the reason for the outcome of the situation. For example, in the most recent police brutality cases, George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks interacted with police officers because of the use of counterfeit money and drunk driving. Despite the wrong actions taken by the two African Americans, there are many other solutions in correcting their actions other than taking both of their lives away from their loved ones and the world around them. Additionally, people can’t say it was the right thing to do in the most recent incidents because it is a disturbing event compared to other worse tragedies. Back in 2018, there was a school shooting in Parkland, Florida where a white 19-year-old teenager killed 17 students and injured some too. As a result, the gunman named Nicolas Cruz was taken to custody without any life-threatening threats (3). In comparison, a white American killed more than a dozen students and is a bigger crime than two African Americans using counterfeit money and drunk driving. But instead, the African Americans get their lives taken away while the white American continues living even though he took many innocent lives away. Thus, police brutality exposes the hard truth behind the country on racism compared to all the unfortunate events that took place in the nation. 

Throughout the history of our country, the practice of police brutality has been repeated many times especially in the short amount of time in the past weeks and it exposes all the hidden truths behind this country. It concentrates on racism displayed in our society and reveals the most needed action to further go on through the generations. The African American community and the world haven’t seen any sign of justice or equality, and this is the time change must be made to meet the standard of our country. 

Source Citation:

  1. Fausset, Richard, and Rick Rojas. “Atlanta Mayor Tightens Rules on When Police Can Use Force.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 15 June 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/06/15/us/rayshard-brooks-keisha-bottoms-atlanta.html
  2. Jervis, Rick. “Who Are Police Protecting and Serving? Law Enforcement Has History of Violence against Many Minority Groups.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 13 June 2020, www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/06/13/mistrust-police-minority-communities-hesitant-call-police-george-floyd/5347878002/
  3. Chuck, Elizabeth, et al. “17 Killed in Mass Shooting at High School in Parkland, Florida.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 14 Dec. 2018, www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/police-respond-shooting-parkland-florida-high-school-n848101.