Saint Leo University
Word count: 1691
Police brutality is the excessive, unreasonable use of force against citizens, suspects, and offenders. A study showed that most citizens complained against police officers because of the use of profanity and abusive language towards them, the use of commands to move on or get home, stopping and questioning people on the street or searching them and their cars without probable cause, the use of threats to use force if not obeyed, prodding with a nightstick or approaching with a pistol, and actual use of physical force or violence itself for no reason at all. Police brutality causes a lack of communication between minority groups and the police department and a lack of trust because of previous run-ins with brutality. In some cases police brutality runs over into an officer's personal life as well. There have been several cases where an officer is arrested due to domestic violence and leads to an investigation of their work life. Most of the time there are cover ups, when domestic disputes occur so that the department does not get negative coverage if the incident was to get out, (2002, November). Ethics are considered a structure for most departments in the United States.
There are several bad apples that get greedy and are cocky at times and think that they cannot be touched if they do wrong. Police departments around the U.S. have several issues with corruption, misconduct, and brutality. Most of the time these issues are covered up so that, these officers do not give the departments bad names and people do not trust them and they, are having more crime on their hands instead of defeating the crime. In recent years, police actions, particularly police abuse has come into view of a wide, public and critical eye. While citizens worry about protecting themselves from criminals, it has now been shown that they must also keep a watchful eye on those who are supposed to protect and serve.
This paper will discuss the types of police abuse prevalent today, including the use of firearms and recovery of private information. I will also discuss what and how citizens' rights are taken advantage of by the police. Some measures necessary to protect ourselves from police taking advantage of their positions as law enforcement officers with greater permissive rights than private citizens. All citizens must take affirmative actions from physical brutality, rights violations, and information abuse. Members of the police force are government officials who enforce the law and maintain order. They are engaged in dangerous and stressful occupation that can involve violent situations that must be controlled. In many of these confrontations with the public it may become necessary for the police to administer force in order to take control of the situation.
As unfortunate as it may seem however, police officers are injuring and even killing people through the use of excessive force and brutal treatment. In regard to police abuse, there will be many officers who feel that their job of fighting escalating street crime, gangs, narcotics violations, and other violent crimes is difficult already, to such an extent that worrying about excessive policy for abuse behavior will only further decrease their ability to fight crime effectively, efficiently, and safely. This abuse must be monitored so that police do not forget who they are serving; not themselves, but the public. This means that even the criminals, who are a part of the public, have certain rights, accurately identified as civil rights. One of the main police abuse problems is physical brutality. I think that there should be some kind of written policy that would restrict physical force to the narrowest possible range of specific situations. For example, there should be limitations on the use of hand to hand combat, batons, mace, stun guns and firearms.
References: Executive Research Forum, 1995.
Chevigny, Paul. Police Power. Toronto: Random House, 1994.
Cohen, Henry. Brutal Justice. New York: John Jay Press, 1980.
Kornblum, Alan N. The Moral Hazards. New York: D.C. Heath, 1976.
Silverman, Eli B. NYPD Battles Crime. Boston: Northeastern Univ. Press, 1999.
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