Main Sociological Problems: Dealing with Police Brutality

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Police brutality occurs when police officers use excessive physical such as shooting, beating, and fatally choking the individual. It also includes the use of force as well as verbal assault on an individual. Citizens and the police have different definitions of police brutality. From the citizen’s point of view of police brutality, the citizen believes that their freedom of liberty is restricted. The police have a different definition of police brutality because it includes situations when the officers may use emotions as a way to defend themselves. It may also be a situation when the police officers cause pain to the individual and use force. Racial minorities suffer the most from police misconduct and brutality because people of color file police complaints claiming human rights violations. A poll showed a reflection of community attitudes towards police brutality and found that 50% of Black respondents reported police brutality in their community, which was more than double the amount reported by white respondents.

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According to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, there have been reports of police brutality in different parts of the country. People of color, women, and the poor are groups of people who face the brunt of abuse. Police brutality is a result of goals in lowering crime rates and that leads to some police officers using their authority to overstep the individual’s rights. As a result, this leads to communities fearing the police rather than seeing them as the protection. With the recent case of police brutality, blacks in Ferguson feel targeted because of a shooting of a young black man by a white police officer. With this case, many people are starting to believe that there has been police misconduct involved in handling of this case as well as the leadership of the police department. The Michael Brown case is a tragedy because a police officer who represents the law had repeatedly hurt Mr. Brown using brutality and excessive force in killing him even though he was unarmed.

The current policies influence police training by making sure that police officers should not be justified if they shot someone who is unarmed. They should not view a certain group in society as the enemy because they should be serving in the interests of the public in making sure that there is order and stability in making sure that the enforcement of the law is fair. Police training requires new police officers to have strong interpersonal skills, as well as having knowledge of counseling and crisis intervention and being able to bring down the situation. However, during police trainings there is not al lot of emphasis on these topics. Even though the police get training in these topics, there is a difference in how a police officer behaves when they go to the streets.

New York City is one of many large cities where police misconduct is prevalent. Officers are more likely to receive a promotion rather than dismissal from their jobs if they have a complaint against them. The police officer may even get a medal for the number of complaints that they receive despite the number of police misconduct reports that they may have on their file. The New York City police department does not take police misconduct seriously and this results in NYC being prevalent to the number of lawsuits that occurs. Police misconduct is more prevalent in certain cities. For example, Los Angeles had a case of Rodney King. This case of misconduct had a dramatic impact on the public perception of LAPD. African Americans approvals of the LAPD dropped by half of the percentage points. The Hispanic approval also dropped dramatically, because it was almost the amount of the African American approval of the LAPD. For example, New York City police is aggressive and because of that, it causes mistrust in the community as well as resentment among certain minority groups. The New York City police is so aggressive that it led to Amnesty International releasing a report stating that the New York City Police Department committed human rights abuses. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in Article 5, the New York City Police Department violated the provision stating, “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.”

There has been rarely a case when an officer denies wrongdoing. However, the Sean Bell case was different. One of the cops who shot Bell pleaded guilty in the NYPD trial. Officer Isanora pleaded guilty of the wrongdoing and was able to avoid criminal conviction in this case. During the department hearing, the lawyers for Isanora and Officer Carey made a determination that they committed a wrongdoing when they shot Bell 50 times. The consequence that Isanora faces is that he will be fired from the police department and the other officer Carey will face a 30 day suspension for being a part of this shooting. Al Sharpton spoke out that Isanora’s actions were outside the police guidelines. Al Sharpton also felt that it was unfair that Officer Michael Oliver and Detective Cooper negotiated to retire and have been able to receive full pension despite the crime they committed. Al Sharpton believes that they should not receive any negotiation because they were part of a murder. Police brutality negatively affects the economy because of unnecessary lawsuits. The police departments usually ignore the abuses that police officers commit. The city pays for the settlements rather than the police department or the officer. When there is a civil lawsuit, the city will always pay the victim; however, the officers who committed the crimes usually go unpunished because it does not affect their performance evaluations. New York City and Los Angeles have large financial costs because of the high number of police brutality that occurs in these two metropolitan cities.

There is currently one type of policy to stop police brutality and that is the zero-tolerance policy. The zero-tolerance policy is about providing attention to the quality of life in a city. With the innovations in police practices, the zero-tolerance policy had the most effect in crime reduction even though it opened the window to aggressive policing. A community policing strategy is another way of stopping police brutality because it allows there to be a partnership between the police and the community, which allows there to be a reduction in tensions. For example, when people took a survey, they had a positive attitude towards the police because of the community policing.

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