Police Harrassment Essay, Research Paper
Thesis: Police harassment can happen to anyone at anytime, not only to minorities.
I. What is police harassment?
B. Police Shootings
II. Who gets harassed?
1. Reasons for harassment
1. Reasons for harassment
III. Dealing with harassment
A. If you are questioned
B. Search and seizure
C. If you are arrested
The first step in fighting police harassment is setting realistic hopes. No single remedy can cure the problem, you must find multiple. Yet, one person or a small group can make a difference. Simply bringing up a problem can have a great effect that leads to change. Police harassment can happen to anyone at anytime, not just minorities (Fighting Police Abuse 4).
The assortment of police abuse problems are very wide. Excessive use of a deadly weapon is one of the problems. Another is excessive use of physical force. Some cops make discriminating arrests. Some also harass homeless people, youth, racial minorities and gays. Making racists, sexist, and homophobic slurs is another . An additional abuse is failing to respond on time to low-income areas . Also discrimination in hiring minorities, females, or gays is a police abuse. The code of silence is often broke. Another problem is overreacting to gang problems, like making mass stops checking for identification from young men based on their race or dress. Also, abusive officers are rarely disciplined, which is another problem with police (Fighting Police Abuse 5).
In 1982, the federal government funded a Police Services Study, in which 12,022 randomly selected citizens were interviewed in three metropolitan areas. The study found that 13.6 percent of those surveyed had a cause to complain about police service in the previous year (this included verbal abuse and discourtesy, as well as physical force). Yet, only 30 percent of the people filed formal complaints. In other words, most instances of police abuse go unreported (Fighting Police Abuse 6) .
Many officers today believe that their profession is so dangerous, that they need greater freedom to use deadly force because of the increase in heavily armed drug gangs. But progress has been made in the misuse of deadly force. Although the rate is still high, national data tells that the number of people shot has decreased 35 to 40 percent since the 1970 s.There has also been a reduction in the number of minorities shot and killed since the 1970 s, from about six people of color to one white person , down to three people of color to one white. Finally, the defense of life concept was made. It stated that only deadly force could be used when the life of an officer or some other person was in danger (Fighting Police Abuse 13 and 19).
Anybody can be harassed by police officers. In Sammamish, police are accused of stopping and harassing teens. One teenager named Cory Ruedi claims to have been pulled over fifteen to twenty times in the past six months. He admitted to receiving tickets for peeling out and speeding, but other times he says he is pulled over for no reason. Another teen named Carmen Sciulli, does not even have a car but says he has been stopped for walking on the wrong side of the road. Now, he panics when he sees cops. Police chief Richard Baranzini says that age profiling is wrong. He also says that the number one complaint in his office is traffic (Hahn 1 and 2).
Minorities feel that race-based police stops are a part of life. Racial Profiling has received national coverage from the media. The governor of New Jersey has said that some of his troopers have stopped drivers based on their race. Similar lawsuits accuse officers in Oklahoma and Maryland of doing the same (Klein 1 and 2).
David Bositis of the Joint Center for Political and Economic studies , has examined racial attitudes among whites and blacks. 43 percent of blacks said that police brutality and harassment towards blacks was a serious problem where they lived. Yet, just 10 percent of white whites saw police brutality towards blacks a problem.
Fighting Police Abuse. Internet. www.aclu.org/library/fighting_police_abuse.html. November 2000.
Bositis, David. Race, Ethnicity, and Civic Cohesion. Internet. www.puaf.umd.edu/civicrenewal/panel3.htm. November 2000.
Hahn, Elisa. Sammamish Teens Complain of Police Harassment. Internet. www.king5.com/localnews/storydetail.html.September 2000.
Klein, Richard. Police Traffic Stops Raise Thorny Racism Questions. Internet. www.dallasnews.com/metro/0725met10profiling.htm. July 1999.
Guide to Dealing with Police Harassment. Internet. www.usit.com/tnglmoon/police_harassment.htm. November 2000.