Police and Society
January 31, 2013
Police Misconduct and Corruption
In the early 1990’s police brutality had become common; police officers abused their powers and became brutal when dealing with offenders and even non-offenders. One infamous example of such brutality occurred in 1992 in Los Angeles when a black man named Rodney King was violently beat by five officers for being “black.” The five officers repeatedly struck King as a few other officers stood by not paying any attention to the situation near by. Two of the five officers were later acquitted which angered the black and Latino community around the world as did the videotape of the incident. This incident did however put more attention and awareness on the issue of police brutality. A few weeks after the King incident, a drug scandal in New York erupted into another police brutality incident. This prompted an investigation on police corruption by the Mollen Commission. The investigation found many occurrences of police abuses, including brutality, corruption, and perjury. A century before the Mollen Commission, in 1894 the Lexow Commission in New York discovered the same occurrences of police brutality. This shows that police corruption has been going on for many years and is continuing to happen now. Although the public less accepts police brutality now, it is believed that most police corruption is done “underground” or through legal loopholes. I have chosen to research Police Brutality because I find it outrageous that the people who swore to protect us cheat the law and use excessive force without reason. I am majoring in Sociology and Criminal Justice, so I am curious to learn about why officers feel the need to become brutal. Is it a lust of power? I’m interested in learning about the sociology of police brutality.