A Literature Review Exploring Themes in Cases of Police Brutality

The objective of this paper is to investigate police brutality borrowing from past and present incidences. For decades there have been tensions between the police department and the minority citizens. Police are reported to use excessive force. Such behavior is a complete violation of the departmental regulations and the law in general. Police seem to be taking advantage of their power and taking advantage of helpless citizens.

For instance, in most cases, the police are dressed in civilian clothing, which makes it hard for the public to identify them. Instead, they like to stay undercover and hidden and, in most cases, individuals find themselves in trouble for things that are not a problem. Police brutality has been in existence for a long time, and most of these cases involve racism and discrimination.

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In today’s society, people who commit crimes as well as innocent bystanders have faced the wrath of police brutality. The police are abusing power in their fight against crime and they face blame for whatever course of action they take whenever they are working in an attempt to prevent a severe threat from occurring.

The public has developed fear in the police department, considering that they use excessive force, which in most cases tend to be biased. This has become a controversial topic between the police and the citizens as well. The police have become the attention of the general public whereby even though citizens have to worry of having to protect themselves against the criminals, they are forced to keep a watchful eye on the people given the responsibility of protecting and serving them.

According to Bandes (2019), African American citizens are the main target for the police force. Statistics show that a third of them get killed yet very few cases pertaining to police brutality get charged. Only nine out of possibly a hundred and two cases receive the attention of the media. Citizens solely depend on the police officers to serve and protect them when there is a problem and not to cause trouble (Bandes, 2019). Any police officer who mistakenly shoots an unarmed citizen should be charged and imprisoned. Additionally, actions such as harassment, brutality, murder, and racial discrimination among officers should be attended with the attention they deserve. Brutality among police officers is an issue that most citizens do not condone.

A case of a woman who faced the wrath of police brutality surfaced on November 15th, 2011. A police officer struck her in the face at Liberty Park. As a result, citizens protested, and this forced the NYPD to calm the crowd. A retired police officer condemned the action explaining that he never encouraged such brutality more especially to defenseless citizens (Bandes, 2019). There are numerous cases of police brutality which show how irresponsible officers manage to get away with the harm they do to the public just because they are peacekeepers.

On 31st December 2015, another case of a 23-year-old Keith was reported (Lawrence, 2017). Police shot him while he was standing on his neighbor’s driveway. Keith was an African American citizen. The case was never attended to, and the officer who killed him has not been arrested to date. That is a clear portrayal of injustice to citizens whereby police officers are pardoned for the wrongdoing because they claim that the issue occurred in the line of duty. Lawrence (2017), argues that police brutality is a problem which greatly influenced the 1967 Detroit rebellion, and it continues to be a problem up to date.

Moreover, people are being shot every day by the officers whom people believe to be working day and night to keep them safe. There have been cases of policemen using unnecessary strategies to detain people who are not a threat to others (Bandes, 2019). Reports show that men tend to be more affected compared to women. Although, women also suffer police brutality and abuse, the extent is not the same compared to men (Holmes, 2012). Furthermore, there is a case of a pregnant woman who was beaten for failing to comply with the police demands. After the officers were apprehended, they claimed that they had an arrest warrant though they never showed it to her. There was no action taken against the officers.

Holmes (2012) covers the case of an armed woman who was shot at the back of her head as she and her friends were unarmed, yet a police officer kept shooting in their direction with the intent to kill them. At the time of the incident, they were all going home. The article highlights the form of brutality women face both in the streets and at home. It has been found that 45 percent of families with a police officer have a high probability of experiencing domestic violence. There was one case of a woman who was chased and murdered by her husband, who was a police officer. Additionally, women are more likely to be victims of sexual abuse, whereby they are promised freedom if they agree to sexual acts.

Furthermore, police take advantage of vulnerable women through sexual assault. In most cases, officers go unpunished when they commit such acts (Worden, 2015). There is a proof whereby an officer would tell women that “they could work something out” to allow her to go back without necessarily having to go through the legal process. Also, when police officers arrest drunk women, they take advantage of the situation as reported by Holmes (2012).

According to policies in the justice system regarding excessive use of force by an officer, the police are allowed to employ such force, depending on the circumstances they find themselves in. However, those who apply force even in situations where violence is not needed are considered to have crossed the line into police brutality. An officer can only use force, such as shooting a suspect only in situations where his or her life is threatened. Worden (2015) discusses policies and regulations, which include police brutality and the circumstances through which an officer may be considered to have used excessive force against the agreed limits.

In most cases, police officer applies excessive force when dealing with suspects, yet they do not get apprehended until there is a public outcry (Smith & Holmes, 2013). There is a countless number of cases when police officers kill unarmed civilians. According to Smith & Holmes (2013), who have worked on numerous projects regarding police brutality and human rights, black women are more likely to be victims of abuse of power by the police. He claims that various media outlets choose to keep quiet and rarely discuss the issues. All these studies indicate that the issue of excessive force used by police officers is evident.

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A Literature Review Exploring Themes in Cases of Police Brutality. (2023, Apr 11). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/a-literature-review-exploring-themes-in-cases-of-police-brutality/