Police brutality in the United States is defined as extreme and often unlawful use of force against civilians ranging from assault and battery (e.g., beatings) to torture and murder (Police Brutality 2016). While the expression is most often applied to causing physical injury, it is not limited to just that. It is also the psychological harm through the application of intimidation tactics, such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and paranoia. In the past, officers who had been involved in police brutality have generally acted with the approval of the legal system.
Qualifications being; differences in race, religion, politics, or socioeconomic status sometimes exist between police and citizens. Today, individuals who engage in police brutality may do so with the approval of their superiors or they may be rogue officers. In either circumstances, they may carry out such actions under appearance of justice and, more often than not, succeed in developing a cover-up for their unlawful activity. Some officers may view the population as a commonly deserving group for such punishment (Police brutality in the United States 2017). In his report, Arnold (2015) stated, “All lives do matter in a utopian society, but in today’s society that doesn’t hold weight when it comes to the epidemic of violence against people of color, especially African-Americans.
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We have laws to restrain criminals from committing horrific crimes against citizens and we must have specific laws and national policy reform that holds law-enforcement responsible in the same way”. Hundreds of citizens are killed by police annually throughout the United States, yet the exact amount is unknown because the lives lost are not always all accounted for. Due to the restricted information available, African American men are unfortunately the most impacted by officers who use lethal force as a method of detainment. African American women are also at risk of losing their lives to police violence or sexual assault. Police officers are expected to be accountable for upholding the law, as well as respecting and protecting the lives of any and all members of the society.
While most agree, their jobs are laborious and often dangerous, there are safer and reasonable measures that could be taken to protect the community. The shooting of not only Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, but countless others across the United States has shed light on racially discriminatory treatment by law enforcement (Deadly Force 2015).