Discrimination in Policing

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Raul Torres Introduction into Policing Term Paper

Discrimination in policing is persistent behavior against minorities and women. Unfortunately, the US has as extended history of job discrimination that involves the prejudicial treatment of people in the workforce on the basis of their race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, or religion. It involves the restriction of members of one group from opportunities or privileges that are available to another group, only in the past few decades minorities and women have been able to share the concept of equal employment opportunity. Discrimination in police departments has been around for many years and the prejudice is identical, if not the same in other professions. The primary reasons of discrimination are ignorance, insecurity, hatred, and intolerance for progression. These main examples of discrimination are an unfavorable concept that plagues police departments and it hinders equal opportunity. Fortunately, the federal government acknowledges the fact that discrimination is prevalent and there have been civil statutes, court rulings, and affirmative action to help ameliorate the situation. In spite of that, discrimination in policing still exists and there are continuous efforts for equality.

African Americans received harsh treatment throughout the history of the US with the discriminating practice of slavery. After the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1865, this outlawed slavery and involuntary servitude, followed by the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, this guarantees equal protection of the law to all citizens of the US. The excerpt of the Fourteenth Amendment states: “Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Even though these civil laws were ratified, discrimination did not dwindle within the police department. In reminisce to the two initial African American police officers of New Orleans Police Department in 1867, named Dusseau Picot and Emile Farrar established progress the US police force; still there were a slow accumulation of blacks becoming police officers. Throughout the early to mid-1900s, the acceptance of blacks as police officers was very minimal, and the blacks that were police officers experienced unfair treatment by their white colleagues and white citizens. The southern police departments were highly prejudiced towards black police officers by not allowing them to wear uniforms, banning the authority to arrest whites, and isolating them to work in black neighborhoods. Even though most of the black population was in the South, blacks were rejected from the hiring process in other southern states. Similarly, in northern police departments black police officers faced discrimination in unit assignments, promotions, and social interaction among colleagues. The repeated cycle of the exclusion of black officers from certain units, assigning them to black neighborhoods, and suffering double marginality led to further resentment against white officers.

Similarly, women faced difficulty to earn their right to become police officers. Many of their male counterparts presume women to be weak and not physically capable of performing the same duties as the male officers do. In the past, women police officers were restricted to clerical duties, issuing parking citations, juvenile work, and guarding female prisoners. However, more discontent reverted progress which led to continuous racial riots in the 1960s through the early 1970s-- initiated by police...
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