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Police Brutality: Why is This Issue Relevant

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Law enforcement is where individuals ,such as police officers or agencies, are trying to enforce the laws while trying to maintain order. “In fact, social life, wherever it becomes lasting, inevitably tends to assume a definite form and become organized. Law is nothing more than this very organization in its most stable and precise form. Life in general within a society cannot enlarge in scope without legal activity simultaneously increasing in proportion”. Durkheim believed we should look at society as a thing or as a whole. He explains through this quote that the law is something that keeps our society stable and that’s what helps maintain organization. He thinks that we as citizens in this society need laws to stay structured.

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In our lecture we discussed the law and the division of labor plus the two types of laws which are repressive and restitutive. “The first consist essentially in some injury, or at least some disadvantage imposed upon the perpetrator of a crime. Their purpose is to do harm to him through his fortune, his honour, his life, his liberty, or to deprive him of some object whose possession he enjoys”. This quote refers to repressive laws which are more towards individuals who are going to have seriously bad punishments and these laws are aimed to get rid of offences and offenders. This type of law is to punish offenders for the harm they caused society. “As for the other kind of sanctions, they do not necessarily imply any suffering on the part of the perpetrator, but merely consist in restoring the previous state of affairs, re-establishing relationships that have been disturbed from their normal form. This is done either by forcibly redressing the action impugned, restoring it to the type from which it has deviated, or by annulling it, that is depriving it of all social value”. Restitutive law is more to cope with the offenders and try to reinstate them to society and to not punish them as much. There are more laws that are implemented when using this law but it’s for the best sake of society. This law also tends to correspond to the organic state of society.

“Thus, it is an historical law that mechanical solidarity, which first stands alone, or nearly so, progressively loses ground, and that organic solidarity gradually becomes preponderant. But when the mode of solidarity becomes changed, the structure of societies cannot but change.” Durkheim thought that we as individuals stand alone first then join together, but as we keep moving forward some structures seem to change and we can’t do anything other than fix the structure with law enforcement. Having law enforcement is somewhat what keeps society and the police officers intact and from our society not falling apart, yet some tend to abuse this power. Police brutality is something very huge in society right now. There are hundreds of innocent lives being lost because police officers are abusing their position and are being brutal to individuals. I think during these times especially since maybe around 2018 till now 2020 we have really opened our eyes on how much police brutality is actually affecting everyone and everything around us and how its causing such bad impacts not just the people who are losing someone they care about but society as a whole.

Tamir Rice was one of many victims of police brutality who unfortunately didn’t make it.. Tamir Rice was a 12 year old boy who was playing with a toy gun and was shot by officer Timothy loehmann. The officer legit just pulled up and saw this child with a toy gun and didn’t hesitate to just shoot him and take this poor child’s life. There have been many cases like Tamir Rice where unfortunately many innocent deaths have been taken.

In conclusion, Durkheim strongly believes in functionalism which is where society unifies and the individuals of the society share and we also see how society struggles when certain obstacles seem to get in the way, this being us the citizens having peace with law enforcement but having the obstacle of having police brutality which highly impacts our society where we have a tendency to use repercussion and have riots or protests for trying to reach social justice. 

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