Contemporary Cultural Diversity Issues in Criminal Justice

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Cultural diversity can be defined as the cultural differences that exist between people such as, language, traditions, and the religious beliefs along with the way society carries itself. It is inevitable in the United States to notice the wide variety of cultures that with the years have come to share this land with Americans. With the increase of diversity in the country, comes a wide variety of issues facing all sectors. In the criminal justice sector we see issues such as racial profiling, discrimination amongst others. In this paper the issues of excessive force against minorities and discrimination will be discuss with examples from recent years that have made the news.

On the morning of December 19, 2007, Police Officer Timothy Campbell was seen patrolling the streets of Denver, Co. He noticed a suspicious 1997 Saturn drive by and when the officer made a U-turn, the car quickly sped away. Eventually the car pulled into a drive and a male in his thirties exited the vehicle and ran. The individual look to be Hispanic and was wearing a light baggy jacket. The Officer began a foot chase through back yards and over fences until eventually the suspect slipped on some ice and fell to the ground. The suspect got back on his feet and continued running. According to the article published by the Denver Westword News, the suspect fell twice more before the officer was able to get close enough to him. As the suspect got up from the ground they were facing each other. At this point, Officer Campbell drew his weapon. The suspect reached into his pocket and placed his hand behind his back. Slowly, the suspect proceeded to move his hand forward and Officer Campbell spotted an object which appeared to be metallic. That’s when Officer Campbell fired two rounds. The Officer paused and then fired four more rounds, before the suspect fell to the ground. When emergency personal arrived, and began to administer first aid to the suspect, they realized that he had a white BIC lighter with a silver rim which had fallen next to his left hand. The suspect identify as Jason T. Gomez 33 years of age was pronounced dead at Denver Health. He had been wounded in the shoulder, stomach and mortally wounded in his leg. The minority community in Denver was outraged at the fact that an unarmed male was shot and killed by police. After an investigation into this incident The DA’s office did not charge Officer Campbell. There was only one actual witness to the killing and his credibility was questioned. Apparently this is one of many other incidents against minorities in the city of Denver. As a result and investigation into the Denver Police Department was initiated. The Investigation was geared towards trying to identify if Officers were racially biased and “trigger happy” when it came to minorities (Maher, 2008). In my opinion the death of Jason Gomez like any other death is tragic and it saddens a community. Whether Officer Campbell acted accordingly is something one may never comprehend. Although the information presented does give the officer the benefit of the doubt, it is not clear why Officer Campbell felt he needed to shoot Mr. Gomez an additional four times. We will never know what truly happened on the night of December 19, 2007.

The second example presented is the issue of discrimination against female officers within law enforcement. In a story reported by News Center 5’s reported Janet Wu, The Boston police department provided superior officers with locker rooms separate from those provided patrol officers, and the separate lockers were considered a tangible benefit of superior officers' rank. When a female lieutenant for the department was assigned to a station in Dorchester that didn't have separate locker rooms for superior women officers, the department allowed her instead to use a locked closet space within the female patrol officers' locker room. She was not satisfied with this arrangement,...
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