Use of Deadly Force
Use of Deadly Force
Use of Deadly Force
The American police force has been accused of using excessive force against suspected criminals in the society. Observation and analysis of statistics from the criminal justice system indicate the unequal application of stop searches against people from certain races. The problem of using excessive force has been prevalent when the police are dealing with colored people. According to the evidence provided by Walker, Spohn & Delone, colored people, mostly of African-American origin have been the main target during police searches (2012). There have been numerous reports detailing the increased use of excessive force, such as careless shootings, arrests, beatings and verbal abuse, by the police against Hispanic Americans and African Americans (Walker, Spohn & Delone, 2012). The revelations resulted in reform measures aimed at eliminating the use of deadly force by the police officers against any given suspect. Therefore, this essay will examine some of the significant progress made in controlling the use of deadly force against criminal suspects. Also, there will be the analysis of various evidence claiming the reduction of racial profiling in the American States.
Following the use of deadly force by the police when dealing colored criminal suspects, various efforts have been suggested and others implemented, to reduce police brutality when investigating and arresting suspects (Walker, Spohn & Delone, 2012). One of the suggested reforms approach aimed at reducing discrimination, and the use of excessive force was to embrace diversity in the police force. Proposers of the diversity approach argued that there was the need to increase the number of minorities joining the police force. The general observation was that discrimination is illegal and should not be allowed to thrive in the police force, especially during police recruitment process. However, various cases of white police officers shooting Africa American police officers assigned to detective tasks have challenged the need to embrace diversity in police deployment. For instance, a white police officer shot and injured an Africa American police officer, who was wearing plain clothes, after mistaking him of being a criminal. The incident revealed the ineffectiveness of diversity to eliminate police brutality, due to the strong racial profiling and use of deadly force by white police officers against colored individuals (Walker, Spohn & Delone, 2012). The main argument was that police officers from the minority groups were likely to behave differently as compared to the white police officers. Also, there was a belief that minority police officers would be less likely to apply discriminatory tactics when arresting suspects in the streets.
Also, there was a call for police departments to reflect the racial compositions of the communities they were serving. For instance, African American police officers should be assigned to areas with exclusive Africa American inhabitants (Walker, Spohn & Delone, 2012). The evidence is based on assumptions that the police officers will be more sensitive to the needs of the community, act in a polite manner, show respect to the residents, and will be less likely to act in a discriminatory manner. The suggestion does not offer any solution to the rampant discrimination and the use of force against colored suspects by the police. Available evidence points out that police officers, whether of whites, African American or Spanish American, behave in the same way (Hagan, Peterson & Krivo, 2006). There is little evidence to show that colored police officers do not use the same type of excessive force, like their white counterparts. That is, all police officers behave in the same way when handling criminal suspects. All the police officers, regardless of their gender and racial background, arrest and use deadly force against suspects in the same way.
Various instances have been cited to demonstrate the progress achieved in the effort to improve the type relationship existing between the police force and the colored community (Walker, Spohn & Delone, 2012). For instance, the use of community policing had been praised for increasing the participation of the community in combating crime. The move aimed at providing an avenue where members of the public participate in identification and reporting of criminal activities happening in the society, so as to eliminate the claims associating police officers with excessive use of physical abuse, deadly force as well as racial discrimination when investigating and arresting suspects. The move received challenges arising from budget constraints, as there were fewer resources to facilitate police patrols. Also, the loss of police officers exposed police stations to challenges in responding to the 911 calls.
Following the adoption and implementation of community policing, little has changed regarding the contacts of police officers when dealing with criminal suspects. In spite of many American police officers having taken the necessary steps to establish good relationships with colored Americans, cases of the police using deadly force in a discriminatory manner (Gül, Hekim & Terkeşli, 2013). Minority Americans stand a higher risk of being arrested, victimized by the use of excessive force, shot and killed. Also, cases of police misconduct directed against ethnic minorities are still present in the American society. On another hand, police departments have done little to control the rampant misconducts by their officers, as no police officer gets punished for mistreating ethnic minorities (Gül, Hekim & Terkeşli, 2013). Employment discrimination is still evident during the recruitment process, thereby increasing negative feelings among the colored population of the police force.
There has also been the argument that some progress has been made in reducing racial profiling. One of such steps aimed at eliminating racial profiling is the act introduced in the senate to end racial profiling in America (Weitzer & Tuch, 2002). A similar act was introduced in the House of Representatives. The Act addressed the insidious practices by law enforcement agencies against minority Americans, especially people of color. The Act provided a clear description of racial profiling as practiced by the justice system, in discriminating against a given ethnic group. The Act established the prohibition against racial profiling at the federal level by recommending data collection to establish the extent of the problem in the community. Also, the act provided for adequate funding to promote retraining of the police officers on various ways of avoiding racial profiling. The act promised to stop racial profiling by the force by holding accountable any police officer who practices the vice.
The evidence appears convincing towards the elimination of racial profiling among the police force. Training is important to ensure that police officers are equipped with the appropriate knowledge concerning the repercussions associated with racial profiling. Also, increasing funding will empower the police force to carry out adequate patrol as well as respond to 911 calls in an efficient way. However, the issue of holding police officers accountable following a racial profiling encounter might not be effectively implemented due to the racial composition of the police. If the recruitment process is not conducted fairly against all races, then the dominant race might be favored following a racial profiling encounter. Although the Acts against racial profiling presents good intention of eliminating racial profiling, the identified areas will only be realized if there is equality in the recruitment and promotion of police officers.
Hagan, J., Peterson, R. D., & Krivo, L. J. (Eds.). (2006). The many colors of crime: Inequalities of race, ethnicity, and crime in America. NYU Press.
Gül, Z., Hekim, H., & Terkeşli, R. (2013). Controlling police (excessive) force: The American case. International Journal of Human Sciences, 10(2), 285-303.
Walker,S.,Spohn,C.,&Delone,M. (2012).The color of justice:Race,ethnicity,and crime in America. Belmont,CA:Wadsworth/CengageLearning. ISBN:9781111346928
Weitzer, R., & Tuch, S. A. (2002). Perceptions Of Racial Profiling: Race, Class, And Personal Experience*. Criminology, 40(2), 435-456.
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