In the America history, police brutality on the lines of race has been a hotly contested topic in the academic, political, religious and social spheres. Of interest has been the relationship between African-American and police. The latter has employed violent means on the former which has worked to fan the emotions of the police brutality issue. From images of peaceful protesters being attacked with huge canines, teargas, and high-pressure water hoses to the shooting of innocent black people by the police has graced the headlines in the social and mainstream media. Police brutality targeted to American of African descent is of considerable weight given that America is a free country comprised of people of different races (Nix, Campbell, Byers & Alpert, 2015).
American law enforcers in many instances have chosen to openly rubber stamp the discrimination status quo through overt force rather than protect and serve all the citizens. In America, black people stand a higher chance of being shot and killed by the law enforcers more than members of the other races. In 2012, black people accounted for 32% of people killed by the police despite the fact that the black population in America stood at 13% of the entire population (Ross, 2015). The blatant use of force by police officers reflect the prevalent ethnic imbalances across the whole of USA criminal and justice system.
African-American are more likely to be detained on the allegation of either selling or using drugs even though those claims might be false. In the prisons, black people make insanely high populations. Poverty, unemployment, racial segregation, and neglect by the security forces to deal with pockets of crime in the black communities explain these disparities. Consequently, there is bound to be more police presence in the black neighborhoods, increased traffic stops and high chances of shootings in these areas (Smith & Holmes, 2014). These rampant police killing have been widely shared in the social media which has led to numerous campaign being started to counter the same. "Black lives matter" is one of those drives to address this menace.
The Conflict theory by Karl Marx posits that when the dominant group in a country perceives a threat from the minority, it initiates conflicts and power struggles that borders ethnic and racial profiling. The African-American population in America is rising steadily from the last half of 20th century going into the 21st century (Ross, 2015). The upsurge of the black population has also seen the black people rise into the various governmental institutions and occupy in positions of power. The growing influence of people of African descent has not been received well by the majority who are the whites (Ray, Marsh & Powelson, 2017).
The recent killings of black people by white police officers are inspired by the need of one race to be superior to the others. Going by the dictates of the theory, it is evident the limited resources instigate the conflicts (Smith, & Holmes, 2014). To have the majority stake in the American resources, the whites have to dominate on the other minority races by all means. According to Conflict theory, those who have access to wealth and power will employ any methods to hold onto it even if it means oppressing the lesser and powerless groups (Ross, 2015).
There is substantial racial disparity on how the criminal justice especially police apply force in the United States of America. Researchers conducted shows that Africans and Hispanics receive more police brutality compared to the Americans. Data analyzed from the FBI Supplementary Homicide Report in 2012 by Voxs Dara Lind showed that the African-american accounted for 31% police victims. Another research conducted in 2015 by the Guardian reveals that 37.4% of US population is made up by the minorities of which 46.6% of armed and armed victims fall into brutal hands of the police.62.7% of the victims are unarmed (Ross, 2015).
The increased police disparities in reflects the widespread racial inequality in the American criminal justice. Cases of Black getting arrested for drugs are high although they rarely use and sell them. It is proven by research conducted in 2013 by National Survey on Drug Use and Health whereby 9.5% were Whites and 10.5% Black. The increased rate of crime and violence in the Black communities is as a result of poverty, neglect by police during serious crime issue, unemployment and racial segregation. Despite the fact that many Blacks fall, victims of police brutality in America, the minority tends to have a negative perception towards the police. Even in areas where justice prevail. They tend to accuse the police of bias, lack of respect and unwillingness to coordinate and listen to them (Nix et al. 2015). According to Human Right activist Martin Luther King,.Jr (August 28, 1963), "We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of unspeakable horrors of police brutality."
Several cases have been reported to the criminal justice, and others aired on the social media pertaining police brutality on minority groups in America. In April 2017, a black man Nania Cain (24) was thrown on the ground and punched severally by a policeman. Later he was allegedly charged with resisting arrest. He was released the following. In August 2017, another video taken in the Cleveland Suburb, Ohio showed Richard Hubbard25 been beaten and tortured by a traffics police. The most cases of Black brutality that rose a lot of question and demonstration was the shooting of Michael Brown. The victim was shot twelve times after being mistaken for robbery suspect. Another black Eric Garner was arrested and choked to death police after being accused of selling single cigarette from packs without a stamp. All the above cases reveal how the minority groups are brutality beaten, tortured and killed by the police officers (Smith & Holmes, 2014). The injustice and torture are contributed by believing that most Blacks are criminals and drug addicts.
The problem of police brutality across the minority race in America is real and need to be solved not only by the criminal justice but the whole American community. When addressing the issue of police violence, there is need to put into account factors like the traumatic and long-term effect of victims, the poverty level, unemployment and social status. The best solution to minimize the killings is by scrutinizing the training of the police. Sometimes the training may be biased based on culture and race which ends up been practiced in the field. Also, the use of body-worn cameras reduces the police brutality and torture. Police are less likely to use force on civilians when they have monitored body cameras (Ray et al. 2017). Lastly, the US government should come up with strategies to address racism by speaking openly and applying the constitution to reduce the increased racial discrimination aim many departments primarily in the Department of Criminal Justice.
BryantDavis, T., Adams, T., Alejandre, A., & Gray, A. A. (2017). The trauma lens of police violence against racial and ethnic minorities. Journal of Social Issues, 73(4), 852-871.
Nix, J., Campbell, B. A., Byers, E. H., & Alpert, G. P. (2017). A bird's eye view of civilians killed by police in 2015. Criminology & Public Policy.
Ray, R., Marsh, K., & Powelson, C. (2017, December). Can Cameras Stop the Killings? Racial Differences in Perceptions of the Effectiveness of BodyWorn Cameras in Police Encounters. In Sociological Forum (Vol. 32, No. S1, pp. 1032-1050).
Ross, C. T. (2015). A multi-level Bayesian analysis of racial bias in police shootings at the county-level in the United States, 20112014. PLoS One, 10(11), e0141854.
Smith, B. W., & Holmes, M. D. (2014). Police use of excessive force in minority communities: A test of the minority threat, place, and community accountability hypotheses. Social Problems, 61(1), 83-104.
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