Why Do Police Use Excessive Force
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California officer charged with excessive force, victim speaks exclusively to ABC7's I-Team
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Though African-Americans, Hispanics, and Whites all have a likelihood of getting pulled over by the police, African-Americans are commonly known to be the pursuit of police because of this particular stereotype. Consequently, a large majority of African-Americans are stopped and searched by police. Thereby, statistically exhibiting that African-Americans are more likely to get stopped and searched by law enforcement. For example, while driving across the Oklahoma….
This is saying that young black males are having their privacy invaded on the road more than the average…. I also holstered more quickly when confronted with unarmed whites than with unarmed blacks. In addition, blacks are four times as more likely than white people to be arrested in Greensboro. Most importantly, blacks only represent 41 percent of the population of Greensboro, yet there is a great disproportion of blacks to whites on arrests and…. This is irrefutable evidence of the immense racism and bias in the police department. The system becomes unjust when two people of…. Allegations of police violence against minorities is a common occurrence in the culture of the united states today. For example Eric Garner.
This man was choked to death for stopping a fight, and illegally selling cigarettes. But is this truly a crisis? Or is mass media picking and choosing what stories to publish. Essays Essays FlashCards. Browse Essays. Sign in. Essay Sample Check Writing Quality. Show More. Read More. Words: - Pages: 5. Race And Criminal Justice Essay There are different ways that prosecution is different based on the race of different individuals, one is the disparity between black and white people arrested, and prosecuted for drug offenses. Police Brutality Statistics Racial profiling is prolific through almost every police force in the nation.
Justice System: Segregations And Ex-Offenders Today people are so quickly to judge a person based off their skin color. Words: - Pages: 7. The African-American Community: A Case Study Though African-Americans, Hispanics, and Whites all have a likelihood of getting pulled over by the police, African-Americans are commonly known to be the pursuit of police because of this particular stereotype. However, each of them can be considered from a psychological standpoint or psychological lens. This helps us to understand how to fix the problem from a psychological view. What are the individual-level factors that contribute to police brutality?
These can be understood as those that originate from the offending officer. Some examples of individual-level factors are given below. Mental Health Issues. The mental health of the offending officer may play a role. A study found that officers who self-reported engaging in abusive police practices tended to have higher levels of PTSD symptoms. It is possible that officers with post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD from job-related stressors and trauma may have an increased startle response , a tendency toward suspicion, and problems with aggression.
These traits can make it more likely that they will overreact and use deadly force when not necessary. However, it is also possible that engaging in excessive force results in a sense of profound guilt and moral injury that in turn lead to PTSD symptoms. Some researchers theorize that traits of "psychopathy", also called antisocial personality disorder APD , may be more prevalent in police officers than the general population. Traits such as "fearless dominance" or "cold-heartedness" can be adaptive in dangerous or emotionally charged situations, but they can also make an individual more likely to engage in excessive use of force or to feel that they do not need to follow the rules. That said, research on this theory is limited. It is unlikely that APD, which is very rare, could explain most police brutality cases.
Personal problems experienced by police officers may increase the likelihood of them engaging in excessive force, such as relationship problems or other stressful life events. Organizational-Level Factors. What are the organizational-level factors that contribute to police brutality? These can include policies of the police department or the general working environment. If the police department sets limits for the use of force that allows police officers to use their own discretion in other words, limits that are too vague or lenient , then the likelihood that officers will use excessive force is going to increase. In addition, if the general working environment of the police department is such that excessive use of force is not punished or reprimanded, then that sends the message to the police force that it's an acceptable part of their job description.
The Washington Post's police shootings database shows that police shoot and kill roughly 1, people a year in the United States. However, only officers since have been charged with murder or manslaughter, and only 42 officers have been convicted. In other words, the use of force becomes legitimized because everyone does it and nobody says anything about it. This, despite the fact that if a civilian were to inflict the same level of force on another individual in the same situation, it would be considered to be a violation of the law.
Due to qualified immunity, it can be difficult to prosecute officers for misconduct. In order to understand the problem of police brutality, it is helpful to consider some of the more prominent examples in recent times. Below are some of the more well-known cases and issues surrounding them. Breonna Taylor was a year-old Black woman who died after being shot in her apartment on March 13, in Louisville, Kentucky.
Her death was the result of a search warrant that was being executed by white police officers from the Louisville Metro Police Department. The raid began shortly after midnight. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, thought the officers entering the apartment were intruders and fired a warning shot at them, which hit one officer in the leg. In return, the officers fired 32 shots, leaving Breonna Taylor dead and Walker physically unharmed. The incident led to subsequent protests throughout the United States.
During the arrest, former police officer, now convicted murderer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd's neck while Floyd was handcuffed and lying on his face. Bystanders who tried to intervene were prevented from doing so by other officers. Prior to his death, George Floyd pleaded for relief, saying that he could not breathe and that he was going to die. The entire incident became public when video footage shot by onlookers was released to the public. Autopsies revealed Floyd died as a result of the actions of the officers, and worldwide protests were sparked by the incident.
While these incidents occurred in , police brutality has been a problem for decades. Below is a list of incidents from , at the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement that brought police brutality to the forefront of public discourse. On April 30, Dontre Hamilton was killed after being shot 14 times by a police officer in a Milwaukee park. Local Starbucks employees had called the police for a wellness check after seeing Hamilton sleeping on a park bench. The officer who responded to the call, Christopher Manney, began what would later be described by the Police Chief Edward Flynn as an "inappropriate pat-down.
Hamilton woke up and began to struggle. Manney's defense team would later use Hamilton's prior diagnosis of schizophrenia to suggest that he was dangerous, but Flynn would later justify his firing of Manney by saying the officer ignored departmental policy and instigated the fight. Eric Garner was killed on July 17, in New York after he was put in an illegal chokehold by a white police officer. Garner said "I can't breathe" 11 times while he was held down.
The officer involved, Daniel Pantaleo, was not charged with a crime. His death sparked protests and "I can't breathe" as a slogan for protest. He had been holding a pellet gun, which the store had advertised as being on sale, and there was no confrontation. The officers involved were not charged. These are only some examples of how excessive use of force can lead to death. Racism refers to bias held against a person or group of people because of their race or ethnicity. Why does racism turn into excessive use of force or violence among police officers? There are several factors to consider. Research has demonstrated that the risk of being killed as a result of the use of excessive force by police in the United States varies by racial and ethnic group membership. The overall lifetime odds were shown to be 1 in 2, for men and 1 in 33, for women.
Overall, the highest risk was shown for Black men, who faced a 1 in 1, chance of being killed by a police officer over the course of their lifetime. Why are Black men and other minorities at a higher risk for dying due to an excessive use of force by police than their White counterparts? Racial profiling may help to explain this phenomenon. Racial profiling refers to assuming guilt based on race or ethnicity, a problem that mostly affects those individuals who have a higher lifetime risk of dying as a result of police brutality.
For example, police officers may use stereotypes when trying to determine the suspects in a crime, or they may perceive persons of certain races such as Black men as more aggressive or threatening when faced with a confrontation. How can we work to reduce police brutality? There are a number of different steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of this phenomenon from an organizational and psychological standpoint. In , President Barack Obama signed an order to appoint a task force on 21st century policing. The task force developed a list of recommendations such as improving training and education, reducing bias among police officers and departments, introducing and improving crisis intervention training , and promoting cultural sensitivity as well as compassion.
Implicit bias training takes the approach that police officers operate with subconscious biases that they may not even be aware of. When these biases are activated, they may handle a situation differently than they would if, for example, a person was White instead of Black or driving a BMW instead of a old beat-up pickup truck. The premise of this training is to help police officers understand that everyone grows up with subconscious biases, even if someone doesn't feel like they have any prejudice. The goal is to make police officers aware of their biases so that they can manage them in the moment.
This is more effective than calling out police officers as racist, as most officers would not consider themselves to fall into that category. Rather, this approach takes the stance that all officers need training. The idea behind implicit bias training is that those who are better able to manage their biases will be safer, more effective, and fairer in their role as police officers. However, there have been very few studies on the effectiveness of implicit bias training for police. Only one study has looked at impacts on real-world behavior.
While implicit bias training seemed to improve officer knowledge of implicit bias concepts and motivation to act without prejudice, the study found that training had little to no effect on racial and ethnic disparities in police enforcement. In other words, implicit bias training alone was not enough to change behavior. One way to reduce the risk of police brutality is to hire individuals who have a lower risk of becoming violent on the job. Personality psychology can be helpful in making these decisions, as there are assessments that can be used to predict how individuals will respond to stressful situations as well as predict their behavior when on the job. The use of personality assessments can also be a way to level the playing field for minorities, as it can be an unbiased way to determine who is the best fit for the job.
If a police officer engages in the use of excessive force, or even deadly force, and there is no punishment, this sends the message to the rest of the department that the behavior is tolerated or even acceptable. Instead, adequate supervision to identify police officers acting in inappropriate ways before that behavior gets out of control, as well as disciplinary measures to send the message that the behavior is unacceptable, are necessary to identify and reprimand police officers who are the most likely to use excessive or deadly force. The use of such measures will also deter other officers from acting in the same manner, and it can also set the tone for the overall behavioral expectations of police officers in a department.
In other words, police departments should begin to lead by example, and that starts with enforcing the law for police officers in the same way that it would be for civilians. When police officers are better able to manage their emotions under stress, understand which emotions they are experiencing, and communicate well despite being in high-stress situations, they will be better able to de-escalate complex scenarios rather than to react by using excessive force. In other words, there is a tipping point at which excessive force begins to be used, and this tipping point can be dialed backward when police officers receive adequate support for their mental health needs. Additionally, given the fact that PTSD can be a risk factor for the use of excessive or deadly force, providing swift and adequate support to officers who have experienced trauma on the job seems to be a necessary prerequisite to preventing the use of excessive force.
This begins by providing adequate funding to support the mental health of police officers, and it also means reducing stigma and encouraging police officers to come forward when they are struggling with their mental health. As a society in general, mental health is still surrounded by stigma , so it is doubly important that police officers are made to feel that it is acceptable for them to talk about their mental health struggles. Rather than feeling isolated with their trauma, stress, or unmanageable emotions, police officers should be made to feel that they know exactly who to speak to for support and that those supports will be in place and easily accessible when they are most needed.
This also means the police departments should be trained to recognize the symptoms of PTSD so that they can intervene and offer support when an officer may not recognize their own symptoms of post-traumatic stress. In order to reduce the use of excessive and deadly force, it is important to improve the relationships between the police department and the community, particularly the Black community, as this sector is generally the one most affected by police brutality and subsequent anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress.
This could take the form of programs and initiatives that place police officers out in the community in a helping or educational role instead of a policing role. It could also mean having the police department work with the community or participate in marches and rallies to show their support and understanding. This was seen taking place when some police departments chose to attend Black Lives Matter protests and marches and kneel in support instead of taking a combative stance. When both the police officers and the racial minorities can begin to see each other as individuals rather than as groups to fear or cast stereotypes upon, then real change will begin to occur in those implicit biases that fuel racial tension among police officers and also a general distrust of the police force among racial minorities.
In addition to the above measures, it is also necessary to continue to conduct research to understand the psychology behind police brutality. Which personality factors are most likely to correlate with excessive use of force? Which mental disorders show the highest correlation with deadly use of force? What forms of training help most to reduce implicit bias and improve the situation?