The True Nature of Police Brutality and Ways to Handle It
What if every police officer in the United States were more like Sheriff Andy Taylor and his deputy Barney Fife from the Andy Griffith show? In case you are not familiar with this reference, then just imagine a fictional place (Mayberry) where the sheriff didn’t feel the need to even carry a firearm and only used it in dire circumstances.
Although this was an American sitcom meant for entertainment purposes, the fact is that there were actual communities across the nation that had police officers with similar morals to that of Sheriff Andy Taylor. These traditional police officers upheld the law enforcement oath of honor by capturing criminals and allowing them to be judged by a jury of their peers. The use of excessive, or deadly force, was only used as a last resort.
Fast Forward a Century
So, is the use of excessive force by police officers still only used as a last resort as it was back in the day? Well, it’s certainly debatable. The mainstream media dedicates a plethora of coverage on the topic which could lead you to believe that it is already an epidemic.
From videos arising in Florida, and around the nation, that depict police officers kicking suspects in the head, to reports of cops shooting unarmed suspect multiple times, there doesn’t seem to be any shortage of evidence of police brutality here in the 21st century. One infamous Florida police brutality case includes the account of an unarmed 19-year-old being shot by a police officer (see Timothy Stansbury Jr. and Officer Richard S. Neri Jr).
Protect and Serve – When Does the Use of Force Equate Brutality?
Granted, there are many circumstances that warrant the use of force by police officers in order for them to carry out their duty to protect and serve the public. But, when does this use of force equate brutality since it is so subjective? Obviously, resisting arrest is one of the biggest causes of the use of force by police which frequently leads to claims of police brutality.
Juvenile Afro-American males are more prone to become victims of police brutality
Since even the current FBI Director has alluded to the fact that the statistics related to the use of excessive force by police is unreliable, it remains difficult to assess just how prevalent police brutality may be. However, according to a study conducted by ProPublica, juvenile Afro-American males are more likely to be shot and killed by police than younger white males, which should work to reinforce the concept of racial profiling.
Are There Any Solutions?
Researchers, lawyers and politicians have suggested a few measures to combat police brutality. Some of which include:
- Maintaining accurate records regarding the use of excessive force by police officers.
- The incorporation of body cameras by many law enforcement agencies across Florida will also work to help hold officers accountable for their actions.
- Inflicting more severe punishments on violent policemen so as to create a deterrent effect.
- Some have even suggested forcing police officer to go through periodical psychological evaluation to trace those with a higher tendency to violence.