Tarnished Badges The History Of Corruption

Tarnished Badges ? The History Of Corruption Essay, Research Paper

Tarnished Badges ? The History of Corruption

in the Police Department The skin of the man

lying on the ground was dark by nature, his original pigmentation made darker

still by the impact of repeated blows from four nightsticks. Four nightsticks

held by four sets of hands with pigmentation of a lighter degree. A crowd of

about a dozen or so stood by casually, their nightsticks idle as they watched

the scene unfold, a scene that would end with a final score of nightsticks 56,

victim 0 (Dempsey, 1994). This

particular scene was not an occurrence from America?s turbulent 1960s, however

much it might resemble an event from that era. Nor was it a vigilante incident

from the frontier days of America?s wild and untamed west. The scene described

above is circa late twentieth century America, Los Angeles, and California in

March of 1991, to be exact (Dempsey, 1994). This scene, a scene that a

passer-by happened to capture while out experimenting with his new video

camera, was to be replayed countless times across the screens of America?s

television sets during the coming weeks. This scene, which depicted the assault

of California resident Rodney King by four Los Angeles police officers, told a

shocked America that all was not well within its law enforcement system. This

scene, followed by a trial in which all four officers were acquitted, attested

to the fact that, despite a number of reforms and improvement measures,

corruption still exists in America?s police departments (Dempsey, 1994). The

history of the organized police force is a chequered one, and it is a concept

that dates back to the days of the early Romans emperors. One of these

emperors, Augustus, established one of the earliest law enforcement

organizations known to the world about the time Jesus Christ was born (Dempsey,

1994). The sole purpose of this organization, known as the Praetorian Guard,

was the protection of the emperor and palace. Augustus followed this

organization with the formation of the Praefectus Urbi, an urban force designed

to protect the city of Rome (Dempsey, 1994). A third organization established

by Augustus, a group known as the Vigiles of Rome, were originally formed to

fight fires in the city of Rome, but eventually took on the responsibility of

patrolling the city?s streets in an effort to protect Roman citizens from

crime. It is from this organization that the word and the concept of vigilante

originated (Dempsey, 1994).


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