The Blue Wall of Silence

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The Blue Wall
Essay #4

The Blue Wall is a code of silence among police officers. It symbolizes police officers failure to report incidents of police misconduct that they observe and the unwillingness of officers to testify against each other. Many police departments are like a fraternity or brotherhood where police officers are committed to protecting each other, right or wrong. This wall of silence is re-enforced in New York by a 48-hour rule that exempts a police officer from issuing any statement about an incident in which they were involved for two full working days. Officers who do break the wall of silence are often no longer backed up on jobs by their partners -- thereby putting their lives in further danger. The line between police brutality and the proper force used in any situation is not always clearly drawn. Police officers are in constant danger and need to control people in order to handle certain situations. Police officers need to calculate the amount of force needed as their situations develop. There are two kinds of police brutality. One occurs when emotions run high for example, during demonstrations or riots. The other kind is carried out systematically and regularly in the line of duty and is often times fueled by stress, frustration, racial intolerance or for intimidation. The second type of misconduct is deliberate and calculating and is potentially more disturbing to society because it causes more distrust and animosity between the community and law enforcement. The most disturbing aspect of the brutality against Abner Louima was the details that were disclosed in regard to the torture he experienced at the hand of " New York's Finest". Abner Louima a Haitian immigrant was arrested outside a dance club in Brooklyn, and was brutally assaulted when he arrived at the police station. Louima says that the officers stopped the car three times to beat him. During the attack the cops called Mr. Louima "a nigger" and threatened to kill him if...
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