Davonna Clay

Heran Zhang

ENGL 101-08

2 May, 2019

Abuse from Authority whose job is to protect

As an African American, having kids in America sounds frightening at this time in age. While all of these cases of African Americans being killed by officers without posing as a threat, is very scary to think about. Having to prepare minority kids for possible interactions with law enforcements could be quite unsettling because such things like being nervous could seem too suspicious and lead to police officers to be aggressive.

Since times like the Rodney King incident in 91’, police brutality has been noticed by all of America, a huge problem but, not an fixed one. On March 3, Rodney King, an African American male, was beaten publicly by four officers while eleven other officers sat and watched. Police Brutality is a widespread problem in the United States because discrimination is acceptable, racial profiling is welcomed, and police officers are not being punished, or trained efficiently.

One thing the government does to essentially help police brutality occur is creating laws to justify stopping of certain racial groups.

An example of this happening in Arizona, Dennis Parker says, ”…Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office relied on ethnicity in enforcing immigration laws in a way that was clearly unconstitutional”. Ethnicity reliant to find immigrants or to do criminal investigations on citizens could cause the police to be more persistent also aggressive when questioning suspects. Another Example of this is happening in multiple states across America Parker expresses, “Six states have adopted immigration enforcement laws that invite the profiling… resulting in the unfair targeting of Latinos, Arab, South Asian and Muslim People in the name of immigration control and national security”.

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Immigration laws are what leads unfair stops on minorities, officers should not be able to harass people and these types of laws should not allow them to.

These types of laws force police officers to racial profiling citizens of America. Being racially profiled is the act of having certain accusations of people because of their ethnicity; this happens quite often in most cases of police stops. A case of this happened to a Lawyer named Bryan Stevenson as he writes in his book titled “Just Mercy”, while sitting in his car outside of the residence he lived in, SWAT officers decide to search him illegally because they were receiving calls at the department of several burglaries in the neighborhood. Stevenson expresses how afraid he was in the moment because the chances of him losing his life was very likely. It is absolutely unconditional for law enforcement to do searches without reasonable cause, simply because Stevenson is an African American male in a nice area of Midtown, Atlanta. Racial profiling citizens is not a efficient way to look for criminals and studies show it’s not, “… a federal judge concluded that African-Americans and Latinos in New York City were far more likely than whites to be stopped by police when there was no reasonable suspicion of criminal activity and were less likely than whites to be found in possession of illegal items”(Parker). Racial profiling minorities fails to help lead to criminals in most situations.

Not only is there police brutality going on, another huge problem with this is officers are not being held accountable usually for discriminatory abuse of citizens. Richard Worsnop writes for CQ researcher and shares a survey from The Washington Post, which exclaims that in 1990 the District of Columbia’s Civilian Complaint Review Board did not investigate most reports of police brutality until two or more years after they were filed and the judge and jury sides with the officers majority of the time. Worsnop also explains the silence that is happening within the force, meaning other cops are deciding to not say anything when seeing misconduct of coworkers. “The reluctance of police officers to inform on their colleagues not only allows misconduct to go undetected, but also may encourage its spread”(Worsnop). Them choosing not to speak on the misconduct that happening is almost equally as bad as doing the act of misconduct and could show other cops they could do unlawful acts as well. Regardless if the bystanding officer thought another officer was being excessive or doing what needed to be done, it should be reported in. The encouragement of making more arrest in the law enforcement field is also something that is praised and rewarded. That being said police are being paid more for using hostile force on citizens, Worsnop expresses. He also explains that officers can say excessive force was “needed” on suspects even if it wasn’t, without bystanders defending the suspect, most of the time whatever the officer says is believed in court.

Often officers are not being trained for various situations, so once placed in a real life position when needed to react calmly, sometimes officers are nervous and or too aggressive on suspects. As Stevensons describes his encounter with the officers he explains how nervous and shaky they seem to be. “I look at the office who was pointing the gun at my head less than fifteen feet away. I thought I saw his hand shaking”( Stevenson 40). Officers not being able to react properly or appropriately could lead to them being brutal on citizens. Worsnop also provides an idea that a former police chief says about when officers are going through training, “…training formally says one thing and the actual operation of department says another.” , This shows that there is a lot of confusion within the department itself. Another reason why this is happening is because the people who are in charge to train new officers are not expressing that the use of excessive force will not be allowed, if this was prioritized in law enforcement a great deal of people would have been saved from abuse or being killed.

On The other side of views on police brutality, some believe there are no direct sources of racial profiling happening. Officers are only doing their jobs and are in areas that are in need of protection. Areas such as gang-populated areas, citizens will be stopped and questioned if they seem to be involved with such criminal activity, says Heather Mac Donald to CQ Researcher. Some polls also point that there is no “black-and-white” issue going on or is not a race issue. A poll was done by the times questions people on if they think police brutality is happening in their neighborhood and for both races, “no” was the higher response given. However, if an officer begins to question people just because they “seem suspicious” in certain neighborhoods- this is racially profiling citizens. As an American, protected by the Constitution to be absolutely wherever citizens please to be, without being harassed because officers have “reasonable suspicions”. We want officers to do their job but, to target certain racial groups because of what statistics show and because of immigration laws that are created, it absurd. The thing about polls is for the poll to really be valid it needs to have a representational sampling method behind it. Because the sampling group that was used for the poll was not given, the poll is really not valid because in certain areas of cities they would believe/not believe that police brutality is happening more often/less based on their particular neighborhood.

In conclusion, police brutality is a widespread problem throughout America. Simply because the creation of laws that allow discrimination such as immigration laws, racial profiling to be justifiable, officers are not being held accountable or trained correctly. The importance of getting police brutality to be completely abolished is very urgent in America because citizens no longer are able to trust law enforcers to do their jobs correctly. I suggest the government, as one needs to realize this as an extreme problem first. The next step that needs to be taken is officers committing such racial crimes need to be held liable for their actions, such as sentencing to jail time.

Work Cited

Parker, Dennis, and Mac Donald, Heather. “ is racial profiling by the police a serious problem in the United States?” CQ Researcher, Nov. 2013,

Worsnop, L.Richard. “Police Brutality.” CQ Researcher, 6 Sep.1991,

.Stevenson, Bryan. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. Spiegel & Grau, 2015.

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