Police Brutality Essay, Research Paper
The latest outrage of police brutality occurred on August 9 at the 70th Precinct station house in Brooklyn. At least two uniformed police officers tortured a Haitian immigrant named Abner Louima by driving the wooden handle of a toilet plunger into his rectum and puncturing his small intestine. They then placed the filthy plunger in his mouth. During the attack the cops called Mr. Louima “a nigger” and threatened to kill him if he reported the incident.
Most people are aware of the recent increase in police brutality and murder either from personal experience or from those cases that make the news. These cases are reported by the media as individual incidents and are explained as the actions of “a few bad cops.” But this generalization fails to notice the nation-wide increase in police brutality and the fact that very few cops are actually prosecuted for their crimes. This increase in police violence is a part of a toughened criminal justice system which includes the war on drugs, the building of new prisons, and the move toward quicker executions
We live in a society that is being torn apart by world economics which is causing the United States to dismantle welfare and create a campaign that blames poverty on the poor. They declare a war on immigrants claiming that immigrants steal “our” jobs. People of color become automatic suspects to be feared by all “good” Americans. The police are stereotyped as enforcers of this agenda. It is understandable that the pressures on a police officer are very great, but that still does not justify the improper actions and opinions of some officers towards minorities.
Police brutality has always been a problem but in the past few years there has been a dramatic rise in police murders and brutalization of citizens. Police brutality is not limited to large cities, it is a national problem. But police brutality is not the result of the actions of a few rogue cops as is commonly portrayed. If police brutality were the result of a few bad cops who were seen as disloyal to their police ethic, the offenders would be prosecuted or at least removed from the police force. So far, of the dozens of documented police murders in New York City since 1977, only one officer has been convicted of homicide. District Attorneys seem to look the other way and seldom prosecute police even if the police department finds them guilty of assault.
Most victims of police brutality are poor and people of color. These are the same people who are most affected by the downsizing of the welfare state. The belief that these people who commit crimes are animals and incapable of rehabilitation, and the fact that the district attorneys will not prosecute the police for this basically promotes all of this police brutality.