Choking, shooaing, killing, discrimination. These are terms that can be used to describe police actions in the current media. Recently In the news there have been several occurrences of police brutality and retaliation in response to their unlawful actions. This is a very controversial topic that has been picked apart by the media and society today. Most controversial, it just so happens that police officers are never charged or punished with their unlawful actions. Police officers are using too much power and racial profiling when approaching individuals on the streets, resulting in unnecessary violence and retaliation.
Could you imagine getting approached by several police officers for a ticketed offense and being put into a chokehold for just taking two steps backwards? It just so happens this man didn’t just get the chokehold treatment, he had several officers lay on him, press on his face and chest until he was “accidently” suffocated and murdered for a misdemeanor crime. Eric Garner died July 17, 2014 (Mathias, 1). Eric Garner was a middle aged, obese, African American man who made his living selling untaxed cigarettes on the street corner. Yes this is illegal, however, it is only a ticketed offense. He was approached by a New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo midafternoon. Eric Garner stepped back saying he didn’t do anything wrong and the officer claims that Garner was resisting arrest. He put Garner into an illegal chokehold until Garner yelled “I can’t breathe”.
Other officers piled onto Garner until he stopped breathing. This entire event was caught on camera by several surrounding citizens. Daniel Pantaleo used unlawful force against Garner which resulted in unnecessary violence and even death. Would officer Pantaleo still have used the same force if Garner wasn’t a big African American male? This is a widely argued topic in society today. There is definitely an issue with racial profiling in the police force. Pantaleo was never indicted, and did not get fired from the NYPD (Mathias, 4). After having caught this entire ordeal on tape, it seems unethical that officer Pantaleo did not pick up a single charge. Police officers seem to have a higher standing then citizens do in the court system.
“Ismaaiyl Brinsley approached people on the street moments before opening fire and asked them to follow him on Instagram, then told them to “watch what I’m going to do,” Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said” (Associated Press, 1). Ismaaiyl Brinsley’s Instagram showed a picture of a gun and said “Let’s put wings on pigs today, let’s take two of theirs”. Shortly after, Brinsley went up to a parked police car in New York City and shot two NYPD police officers. This tragic event should have never occurred. This is the type of retaliation that crazy individuals partake in when police officers use excessive force and racial profiling.
Michael Brown was shot and killed August 9th, 2014 by Officer Darren Wilson. Unlike the Garner case, Brown had just committed a felony. He had stolen a pack of cigars from a local market. Officer Wilson responded to a call and found Michael Brown fleeing the scene after getting into a fight with the markets store clerk. Officer Wilson and Brown then got into a very physical fight (McLaughlin, 3). Wilson was getting brutally hit when Brown made a run for it. Wilson pulls out his handgun and Brown turns around. Wilson claims that Michael Brown was stepping towards him while witnesses say he was surrendering. Officer Wilson took the shot and hit Michael Brown directly in the head (McLaughlin, 4).
This is another very controversial topic. Similar to the garner case, Officer Wilson was never indicted. He retired from the police force from all of the talk in the media. Once again, would the police officer have fired his pistol and used such force if the criminal was white? It is very possible that racial profiling was a factor in this case. Regardless, there are several alternatives to firing your gun in the line of duty. He could have used his taser gun or even his baton to lower the risk of killing Michael Brown. Racial profiling, excessive force and failure to discipline this police officer are all factors in this case.
Shortly after this ordeal, protesters and rioters fled Ferguson Missouri. The very second Officer Wilson was pronounced innocent, rioters from all across the United States fled the town of Ferguson. The National Guard was deployed a week in advance and attempted to handle the rioters. Many criminals gathered together and broke store windows, stole many products and started several fires. “At least 12 businesses were looted or vandalized and a QuikTrip convenience store and gas station was set on fire, leading to over 30 arrests” (Wikipedia, 2). This was all retaliation built up from police officers excessive force, racial profiling and no discipline to officers from these cases.
Eric Garner and Michael Brown may or may have not been innocent, however, neither of them deserved to die. Racial profiling is a serious issue that needs to be assessed today with police officers around the United States. Along with this, if police officers didn’t use excessive force this retaliation from society would not be an issue. Although these occurrences happen very rarely, it would be safe to say that officers around the United States need to undergo more training to lower the chances of this happening in the future. Many police departments are considering putting cameras onto officers to assess any controversy in the future. Nevertheless, only time will tell if the racial profiling slows down. There may never be a solution to this issue.