The mandates of the criminal justice system are justice, fairness and equality. These mandates are however not applied across all races and cultures. This goes to say that the criminal justice system needs to be reformed. Racial injustice is on the forefront of issues in the United States of America, police officers are also the ones that are largely involved in these injustices against citizens. Racial injustice is defined as a disparity in opportunity and treatment that occurs because of someone’s race.
African Americans and Hispanics have been represented excessively in the criminal justice system. Minorities continue to suffer many disparities at each step of the criminal justice system (Hanser & Gomila, 2015). Often time officers commit crimes against African American and their reasons varies from fear of lives, thought they were reaching for their weapon, as well as other ridiculous reasons.
One known case of this discrepancy is the Minnesota case of officer Yanez and the black African American Philando Castile, officer Yanez told the court while on trial for second degree manslaughter that he had no choice and was in fear for his life.
Officer Yanez was found not guilty; instead Philando’s family received a settlement of three million dollars from the city.
Philando’s incident is not the only incident where police officers are not charged instead their families get paid settlement money. Micheal Brown’s family who was an unarmed teenager killed by police in Ferguson Missouri. According to the police officer Darren Wilson Micheal had attacked and charged at him even after shots were fired.
Eye witnesses said that instead brown had his hands up attempting to surrender to Officer Wilson, when he fired a total of twelve shots but only six was sustained by Brown’s body; Brown was a robbery suspect his family received a settlement worth $1.5 million dollars. Another incident that caused a lot of uproars across the country was the shooting of twelve-year-old Tamir Rice, Tamir was in a public park when a 911 responder called the police saying that there was someone in the park with a gun and they believed to be fake. Officer Timothy Loehamann and Frank Garmback were the two officers that showed up, within two seconds of arriving at the scene Loehamann then fired two shots at Tamir he died later that day at the hospital. Officer Loehamann was found not guilty and instead the city paid Tamir’s family $6 million in settlement money. Four years later then officer accused of killing Tamir is hired by a police department in eastern Ohio.
Incidents like these happen regularly and the offenders are rarely convicted. This goes to show that the criminal justice system is in need of a reform. Statistics states that black men are three times more likely to be killed by police use of force than white men, even though whites hold the highest amount of deaths than Blacks and Hispanics. These numbers happen because whites are of a large population. “A 2002 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that legal intervention death rates for black men, on average, were 4.7 times higher than those of white men from 1979 to 1988, and 3.2 times higher from 1988 to 1997. A 2015 data analysis conducted by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that between 1960 and 2010, black men were always more than 2.5 times as likely to die due to legal intervention than white men. In general, the rate in which police use force on blacks is 3.6 times as high as among whites, according to a separate think tank study released by the Center for Policing Equity in July” (Jacqueline Howard, CNN, 2016).
The system will not be reformed in just one attempt but will need a continuous journey. This reform starts with the group that is deeply involved, the police force. The training of police officers should require a much longer time, hold them more accountable, require more data collection, the use of a neutral or foreign person in police misconducts or trials, rebuilding relationship between police and community.