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/
Dec. 8, 2022
Youth Violence: The Motives and Solutions
Their smiles burst as they ran into the playground. Innocence is showing at its finest. Then a gunshot is heard in the air a split second later. They duck down, trembling in fear, wondering if this is their last day. The world is not perfect for kids. When they do not have a home or a role model to rely on, the children have no choice, instead to adapt to the dreadful environment. Youth Violence has been a problem everywhere and brings disappointment and fear to families. School shootings, bullying, abuse, and gangs are examples of how this has not changed. Some people believe solving violence is doomed, but slowly we can protect these kids from the consequences of violence by finding the root of the problem and telling solutions.
The first cause of youth violence is the community in which kids live. Communities influence youth on their values and the decisions they make in life. Halliday and Graham state, “Adolescents who were exposed to higher levels of community violence also engaged in higher levels of violent activity, associated with more deviant peers, and adhered more strongly to an aggressive cognitive style” (396). A quote like this supports my thesis since it explains that children who live in violent areas can get involved in the wrong friendship groups and be more aggressive. Therefore, living in a poor neighborhood is one of the many causes of youth violence.
Similarly, to the environment, home is as important as well, and parental guidance needs to be used right. Therefore, having a bad role model to look up to can direct violent behavior. “One certain pathway is through modeling: When children are exposed to violence in the home, they come to see violence as relatively more acceptable, and they are more likely to resort to violence to solve problems. This is often referred to as the “cycle of violence,” and there is good evidence that the acceptability of violence in interpersonal relationships is often carried from one generation to the next” (Steinberg 5). Exposure to violence can guide the children to associate violent behavior to be taken advantage of and create a generational cycle for the family.
The second cause of youth violence is the influence and dangers of social media. Social media platforms are to be taken with caution; it can be dangerous for free access to children to the internet. “With this in mind, the fact that many young people’s accounts contained material that reflects negative views of the police is troubling. Photos and videos of police officers accompanied by expletives and derogatory text were common features of content on platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Periscope” (Irwin et al 18). In this case, social media, unlike the news spread negative content about police officers, and with the influence and gained sense of community people followed others to create riots and it turned into a mess. It is good to educate younger kids about the world, but the abundance of hatred and violence in the world can be too much for a child and it can change their perspective of the world and feel like the world is against them.
The third cause of youth violence is bullying, specifically in schools. This controversial topic needs to be discussed, as many school shootings occurred, and many lives were lost. It is important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture and find what led to this. “Bullies may bully people who are doing better than them at something, be it grades or athletic accomplishments or promotions at work. The bullies look to undermine the other person’s skills with acts of aggression only to level the playing field. Bullies often lack psychological well-being, so there’s a lot of comparison being done in their heads, and that leads to frustration and envy” (The 6 main causes of bullying and what to do about it). As you can see, bullying can be a form of projection of their internal battles. Without love and understanding from parents at home, they project their frustration onto others.
There is a solution to the effect of a negative environment and home life of youth violence. Considering to looking deeper into a different approach might be a better solution, “Accordingly, the interventions that are most likely to be effective may be those that go beyond the trauma-focused approach and address any comorbid problems as well as the broader contextual contributors to community violence exposure. With interventions occurring at individual, family, peer, school, and neighborhood levels, a treatment like multisystemic therapy may be helpful in this regard (Halliday-Boykins & Henggeler, in press)” (Halliday et al 399). As mentioned earlier, multisystemic therapy, an intensive treatment process that focuses on diagnosed behavioral disorders and environmental systems that affect a person’s involvement, can help create better solutions for the environment and homes. Therefore, eventually, help the children from violent exposure and abuse going on at home.
There is a solution to the second cause of youth violence, social media. To get rid of the influence and consequences of social media, it is necessary for parents to learn the media and how to navigate the internet. “In addition to training for professionals, the Home Office should develop online resources for parents and carers which explain the basics of the main social media platforms and highlight the importance of oversight of young people’s and children’s activity on social media” (Irwin 32). By giving resources for parents to learn the basic knowledge of the media, they can have control over the exposure their child sees in the media and parents can inform their child about it.
There is a solution to the third cause of youth violence, bullying. Bullying is a problem inside many external and internal problems. One of the many solutions to bullying is helping bullies develop positive coping mechanisms for their anger, “This approach also provides information about violence, seeks to change the way youth think and feel about violence, and provides opportunities to practice and reinforce skills. The content and format of skill development programs vary depending on the model being utilized. These school-based approaches often include guidance to teachers and other school personnel on ways to build youth’s skills, monitor, and manage behavior, and build a positive school climate to reduce aggression and violence, such as bullying, and support academic success” (David-Ferdon, C., Vivolo-Kantor, A. M., Dahlberg, L. L., Marshall, K. J., Rainford, N. & Hall, J. E. (2016). A Comprehensive Technical Package for the Prevention of Youth Violence and Associated Risk Behaviors. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 21). To reduce bullying and help children succeed, universal school-based programs can guide them with compassion and non-judgment.
As a result, youth violence exists all over the world, and the issue needs to be addressed thoroughly. I believe the evidence I used supports my thesis and the idea that youth violence has developed due to other factors. To reduce youth violence, it is important to decide the root causes and use these different approaches and start acting. How would you like to reduce youth violence? Which solution would be most effective?