Police Brutality Reform
Imagine being knelt on the neck by a pair of legs on the side of a road for nine minutes. Is it brutal or not? Discrimination has been around us in the United States all the time. One of the most concerning issues is inequality for black people, and the most recent cases are related to police brutality and unequal treatment of black people. There are many cases of police brutality against black people, such as the beating of Rodney King, the deadly shooting of Michael Brown, and the most recent kneeling on George Floyd. Additionally, black people are “3.23 times more likely than white Americans to be killed by police”. (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health) These incidents often occur, making black people feel insecure, angering many people, causing protesting on the streets, and bringing up hate toward the police. Therefore, to solve and improve the issue that has been struggling all of us in history and will be a big issue in the future, police training should be reformed, removing the warrior mindset, and reducing mass incarnation in police to prevent racial discrimination.
First, reforming the police’s training program is essential because “In 2015, 224 unarmed Americans lost their lives at the hands of the police, of which 57 percent were African American or Latino”. (Guitierrez ) The death of George Floyd also shows how callous the brutality of officers toward black people is. Although George Floyd was already on the ground, police officer Chauvin put his knees on Floyd’s neck, causing Floyd to be unable to breathe for almost nine minutes, and suffer to death. George Floyd told the officer “I can’t breathe” over 20 times (Singh), begging for his life, and leaving his death sentences, “Tell my kids I love them. I’m dead.” and “Mama, I love you. I can’t do anything”. (Singh) It is a very tragic event for George and his family. This statistic and situation show how unprofessional the officers are and their unequal treatment of African Americans and Latinos. Therefore, police training should be reformed to prevent such tragedies in the future.
One of the changes is increasing training time for taser guns. Police only train “8 hours of training for Tasers, which is only 25 percent of the necessary training required”. (Gutierrez) This information is vital because police focus most of their time on firearms, not tasers, which will not kill one person. According to the Police Execution Research Foundation (PERF), “Use of TASER Civil Expeditionary Workforce(CEWs) was associated with a 76% reduction in the chances of an officer being injured compared to agencies that do not use CEWs, and the odds of a suspect being injured were reduced by more than 40% in TASER CEW agencies compared to non-CEW agencies”. (PERF) It is beneficial for both the officer and suspect to use taser guns because officers will have less risk when arresting a suspect, and the suspect will be less likely to be injured. It is a win-win solution. Therefore, police officers must be using taser guns.
Another change that police should consider is increasing mediation training time. Most of the time, police use force on the suspects because they are not good at resolving problems. According to Guitierrez, a rising senior in social studies from Harvard stated, “Police departments only offer an average of eight hours in mediation skills.”(Guitierrez) By training more in de-escalation skills, police will be more professional at calming the suspect, reducing the frequency of using force. In sum, police should increase their training time for taser and problem-solving skills.
Essentially, to reduce less racial discrimination and police use of force, police officers should consider themselves neighbors to the citizens, not warriors. According to David Gutierrez, a senior in Harvard, “warrior mentality obscures an important part of policing: the interaction between police officers and the community. People care more about how they are treated by the police than about falling crime rates The image of a warrior mindset gives police nobility, making them feel justified in their actions.” (Gutierrez 7) The warrior mindset causes police officers to forget that they serve the citizens, provide security, protect them from violent attacks, and treat people equally and kindly. Hence, the warrior mindset should be removed. By enhancing the neighbor’s perspective, the community will feel the care and love of the officer, leaving a reliable hero-like figure.
In addition to changing the police, courts must be reformed as well. According to the sentencing project, “African Americans incarcerated in local jails at a rate 3.5 times that of non-Hispanic whites in 2016”. (Walsh 12)The rate of black Americans is 3.5 times higher because officers target poor minority communities where most African Americans live. The officers only focuses on black community, causing an assumption that African Americans are the ones causing problems. More than that, “Seventy percent of pretrial releases require money bond, an especially high hurdle for low-income defendants.” (Walsh) This causes unfairness because many black Americans and Hispano are poor and unable to pay the fee. They are stacking up many black Americans in prison, and police are using force on black prisoners. The solution for this issue is “stop prosecuting a range of misdemeanor crimes such as resisting arrest, loitering, trespassing, and drug possession.”(Walsh) Doing this will be fairer for the black Americans suffering from poverty, reducing cases concerning minority black communities, and fewer black Americans will be imprisoned.
In conclusion, every life matters. There should be no hate and bias toward people of other races. Humans are humans. All of us want to be respected, loved, and equally treated. Therefore, racism should be eradicated. Start supporting black lives matter movements, and reform the police training, the court policies, and the police’s warrior mindset to protect our fellow African American friends. By doing so, there will be fewer deaths caused by police use of force, and our police will be more reliable. Moreover, one day, our communities will be safe, and may the day come. Start supporting the BLM movement!
Gutierrez, David. “Why police training must be reformed.” The Institute of Politics at Harvard University. , from iop.harvard.edu/get-involved/harvard-political-review/why-police-training-must-be-reformed
Interactive. “Report to the United Nations on racial disparities in the U.S. criminal justice system.” The Sentencing Project. 2 Nov. 2022, www.sentencingproject.org/reports/report-to-the-united-nations-on-racial-disparities-in-the-u-s-criminal-justice-system/
Singh,et al. “George Floyd Told Officers ‘I Can’t Breathe’ More than 20 Times, Transcripts Show.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 9 July 2020, www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/08/george-floyd-police-killing-transcript-i-cant-breathe
Walsh, Colleen. “Solving racial disparities in policing.” Harvard Gazette, 24 Feb. 2021, news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2021/02/solving-racial-disparities-in-policing/