The Consequences of Police Brutality
The degree of force the police can apply has always been the point for debates. The police was settled to prevent the violations of law and fairly punish those who are really guilty. Unfortunately, actions of police representatives do not always cover the original goals of this institution. The number of cases when citizens have to be rescued from the police itself is growing at present days. The problem of excessive force used by police is one of the most urgent and demanding extra attention from the officials and society. Unjustified usage of force and brutal treatment is one of the features current policemen are associated with and in order to get rid of such characteristic, they have to decrease the applying of it while interacting with suspects.
There are a number of cases, which are disputable as to the legitimacy of police actions. The situation provided in the article Police shatter car window, extract passenger after alleged seatbelt violation represents how the policemen of Hammond Police Department crossed the line of the allowed behavior, though the department itself supports actions of policemen and claims they were reasonable (Site Staff, 2014). The issue is that Ms. Mahone with her two children and a boyfriend were hurrying to the hospital to their dying relative and the police stopped their car because of the driver not wearing the seatbelt. After providing the driving license and insurance to the police officers, Ms. Mahone asked them to hurry up but the policemen did not intend to do that. They asked Jamal Jones, an adult passenger, to provide his identification instead. The man refused to do that at once. Due to the rules, the policemen have the right to ask for the ID if there is such a necessity. In the given accident the necessity is very doubtful. When the man started to search for his ID in his bag, the policemen considered it as a danger and pulled their guns. Furthermore, Jamal did not want to get out of the car on the policemen’s demand as he was scared by aggressiveness of police officers. The policeman showed the huge degree of brutality when he has broken the window with the metal tool inside the car and showered the passengers with the broken glass. After that the officer yanked Jamal Jones out the car. Considering all the facts represented in this case, the conclusion is that the policemen did not have enough background and reasons for the usage of such force, especially when there were kids in the back of the car.
The previous case did not bring as much damage to the victim’s health as the case with Robert Leone that happened in 2010 and which is still not settled. Mr. Leone was arrested on his way after having not stopped for exchange of information. Pennsylvania State Police forwarded troopers to investigate this alleged hit-and-run. There was no chase as the driver did not even increase the speed. He could not just comprehend that the police was chasing him, as he did not break the law. After being finally stopped, the driver faced the brutal treatment. He was beaten and taken to the back of the police car. As it was stated by the author of the article, “The incident stemmed from his driving while on an unusually high dosage of legally-prescribed bipolar medication and a subsequent fender bender” (Hohol 2014).
According to the law, Mr. Leone had to be informed of his constitutional rights before being questioned but this did not happen. The reason for beating was the fabricated spitting incident, though even the fact of spitting is not considered as the reason for beating an arrested person. The injuries inflicted on the arrested person demanded to take him to the hospital and the policemen did so. In the hospital the victim asked for help and when the policemen heard this they beat him again. There were two more beatings of Robert Leone during eleven hours. Only after this he was delivered to the jail in semi-conscious condition and with serious physical injuries, which required immediate aid. The representatives of the jail appeared to support the policemen and did not provide the photos of Mr. Leone when it was required further during the investigation. In this case the horrible attitude of the police is not just the excessive use of force; this is the inhuman behavior not corresponding to the democratic way of life. All the rights of the victim were violated. In the following development of the given case, the supposed defenders of Robert Leone’s rights did not have too much success. The words of the author of this article pass the idea of this situation very accurately: “I believe there has been so much misconduct by so many players in this case that the Feds simply do not want to open what appears to be a huge can of worms” (Hohol 2014). Under the notion of ‘worms’ the author meant seven police officers, the District Attorney, the Pennsylvania State Police Office of Integrity and Professional Standards, the trial judge, the Superior Court, the prison, and Mr. Leone’s Public Defender. All of them appeared to cover up and justify misconduct. The named institutions or their representatives were supposed to protect ordinary citizens if any kind of violence happens. Unfortunately, they break human rights themselves, so what institutions can defend people from them? This is the final point of all the situations providing the examples of police brutality.
Illegal attacks, fines, usage of force, and even imprisonment are not the final point of excessive usage of power by police officers. The article The New York man choked, killed when suspected of selling cigarettes on sidewalk represents the violation committed by NYPD officers, in the result of which a forty-three-year old Eric Garner died while being arrested (Site Staff 2014). The accident took place in Staten Island, NY. Police states that they suspected the man of selling cigarettes without government permission. Eric Garner was arrested for selling cigarettes before, so NYPD officers suspected him in doing so again. They attacked him brutally without noticing the witnesses who tried to tell that the man attempted to break up the fight in the street. Considering the actions of officers the article provides the exact description,
Five officers abruptly rushed him and commenced their assault. One cop proceeded to wrap his arm around Garner’s neck in a choke hold, causing the large man physical distress and obstructed breathing. Garner’s head was slammed against the sidewalk (Site Staff 2014).
Position of the arrested did not allow the man to breathe normally and within a short period of time he stopped breathing. The medical examiner made a conclusion that his chronic asthma, obesity, and hypertensive cardiovascular disease were the contributing factors in Garner’s death. The jury claimed that there was no reason to punish the officers, so no one took the responsibility for Eric Garner’s death. Undoubtedly, Eric died not because he fell down while just walking. The force applied by officers killed the man and no one was punished. This is another accident when actions of police officers were not warrantable and covered up by other representatives of law.
The issues of prejudice are not though solitary in their nature while abusing people. The question of racism appears constantly as one of the leading in violating laws and treating people without considering their rights. The unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was shot dead by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. African-Americans appear to be one of the minorities, which suffer a lot because of discrimination and in justice system particularly. The level of force used by law enforcement officials against representatives of racial or ethnic minorities is much higher than the usual use of excessive force. Police represented the situation like Brown struggled with Wilson and was shot then. The witnesses said that Brown held up his hands and it means that he made no confrontation to be shot two times. The police officer was not charged with killing and escaped punishment. Thus, the problem of excessive force comes out even greater when it considers the representatives of minorities.
All the situations represented provide examples of officers’ brutality and consequences that appear as a result of it. The main goal of police should be to defend people and assure that no violence will happen to them. Despite this aim, people often face the situations, where they get abuses from those who should protect them. The cases above enlightened the consequences of brutal cops’ behavior and it is obvious that nothing good happened as a result of it. Two cases of four represent deaths of the arrested. The other side and reason of applying the force is to cover them up by other official institutions. The police departments stand by their policemen even when the abuses are evident. They try to find how to change the facts or make the witnesses be silent about what they have seen. People have to open their eyes on what is happening around and only then they can see that not all of the defenders are really on their places.
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