The Ethical Dilemma Surrounding Police Brutality and the Lack of Accountability of Police in the United States

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“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” -Martin Luther King, Jr. Injustice, violence, hate, anger, rage, racism, unlawful, innocence, murder, and color are a just a few things that invokes police brutality and the terror that takes place within this world. The ethical dilemma that faces lack of accountability of police in America is severe. There are countless cases of police officers treating people unlawfully and not being held accountable for their actions.

Social media and video recording has been a tool to record these police incidents and allows the public to rethink their attitude towards police officers. Although, recording police and having evidence that shows a police officer is being unjust can help innocent people, but the the public perceives one officer reflects police officers making their job environment more dangerous. Actions have consequences, and laws will be broken, it is important to know that officers do have a civic duty to maintain peace within the city. Being a peace keeper can be a hard job especially if the peace keeper violates the peace with brutality towards innocent way citizens.

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What exactly is police brutality? “Police brutality is the use of any force exceeding that reasonably necessary to accomplish a lawful police purpose. Although no reliable measure of its incidence exists-let alone one charting change chronologically—its history is undeniably long. The shifting nature and definition of police brutality, however, reflect larger political, demographic, and economic changes.” (ENCY.) Police Brutality is the use of excessive force to accomplish an implementation of the law. Many times, when a law is implemented unlawfully the results can be fatal. Police brutality has been a part of American history since the early 1900’s.

Although, police brutality does not happen very often, the consequence for these police officers send a rippling affect to the publics’ view of police. Social media, live streaming, cell phone cameras, and the media, have become society’s biggest tool for exploiting the injustice that takes place when a police officer oppresses the innocent, and uses unnecessary force to fulfill the law. Police brutality unfortunately reflects an officer in uniform negatively, no matter if they have a good reputation, because the media’s opinion is at our finger tips giving us the ability to believe what we see.

Psychologist Moskowitz states that, “The actual impact of racism on our decisions can be very subtle, often not something easily recognized by the people who are being influenced.” (Stralo) From this it is evident that racism often can be a part of police actions and many times it can just be a reflex to how they were raised. Almost like reacting to an ant bite, your body immediately reacts and senses pain, over time as we develop a view of a specific race we can react inappropriately without even knowing to a specific race. This reflex happens within seconds and it only takes a certain moment to trigger this reaction.

Although, this may not be the case for everyone, those who are subjected to a higher power may be more susceptible to acting out this reflex to a specific race. There are several factors at play when a police officer chooses to act out unlawfully and with unnecessary force, one factor could be a fear driven action. Being a police officer is a dangerous job to have, and the threat of death or being injured on the job is very likely. Police officers are trained to defend and protect, and many times the way the can react towards an incident they feel threaten can result in wrong choices and reactions that can be unlawful. Being a police puts a tremendous amount of stress on their lives, so much that the number one killer of police officers is suicide.

Police brutality occurs very often in the United States. The United States is known for having one of the greatest constitution giving every living person equal rights. Due to the fact, the United States is known for having such a strong law system in place, police brutality incidents are often highlighted with greater awareness. In the United States, there are places where police brutality often happens more than other, Louisiana, Montana, and Mississippi are just a few of the states that have a high rate for misconduct in police officers.

Over the past years there has been uproars in police brutality specifically in the African American community. A specific case that recently sparked protest and a cry for justice was the death of Michael Brown, an innocent unarmed black teenager. Michael Brown’s death happened on 2014 August 9th.

Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, thinking Michael Brown was a suspect in a convenience store theft. The jury ultimately decided not indict officer Wilson. As a result, riots and protest emerged in Ferguson, and these riots were violent and dangerous. Law enforcement was forced to use tear gas and smoke to separate people and break up these riots. Anger and frustration swept across the town of Ferguson. After, these events it became clear to society that police brutality does happen and police are not being held to a standard of accountability.

Even though police brutality is a problem in the United States, it also serves as a problem for police officers. Recently in July 5 police officers were shot and killed and 9 were injured. This event showed the public how the lives of police officers are in danger. This is incident became known as the deadliest incident in U.S. law enforcement in history.

More and more police officer feel that these movements for police brutality makes their job harder and more unsafe than it already was. The media has a way of convincing the public by shaming police officers who use unnecessary force to handle citizens. Although, some officers can give a bad representation for law enforcement, it’s important to keep in mind that most officers are here to protect and serve our community. Even though police fatalities have decreased over the years, due to the fact of better technology in defense weapons (Bier), police deaths are still a threat and on average every 60 hours 1 police officer will die (NLEO).

“An ethic of responsibility, rehabilitation, and restoration should be a foundation for the reform of our broken criminal justice system. A humane and remedial rather than a strictly punitive approach to offenders should be developed. Such an approach includes supporting efforts that justly reduce the prison population, help people leaving prison to reintegrate into their communities, combat recidivism, promote just sentencing reform, and strengthen relationships between the police and the communities they serve.” (Faithful Citizenship)

From this exert in the Faithful Citizen document, it is evident that as a community we should work towards building a better relationship with our police officers. Our society continues to separate police officer as being against our community. When police officers are trained and hired, they will typically take a pledge to their community that they will serve and protect the public and uphold the constitution. It is important as citizens we also strive to strengthen our community’s and respect those that serve our country. The law was not created to oppress the innocent, the law was created to free the innocent and bind the guilty.

Our nation may not be perfect, but it was founded out the basic belief of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The United States does have flaws within law enforcement, but there’s many flaws within our society. Police officers are faced with a difficult task to uphold our nations law and at the same respect those same laws. As citizens, we must have faith within our law enforcement, and continue to strive to strengthen the relationship.

Politics and religion some may argue is a crazy combination and would never work. However, religion and politics go hand and hand more than ever. Politics can be very corrupt, but it’s important that Christian beliefs have remained a part of politics. In the United States when we recite the pledge to our flag towards the end we all say “One nation under God”. To be one nation under God is important to remember for our political system. Injustice is a struggle for our law enforcement when it comes to police brutality. The deaths of many black ameicans by police officers developed a feeling of mistrust between law enforcement and the African American community.

“Bishop Edward Braxton, of Belleville, Ill., one of only 15 active and retired African-American bishops, released a pastoral letter, The Racial Divide in the United States, last January. It acknowledges the difficulty of being a police officer, highlights the legitimate fear African-Americans have toward law enforcement, describes the cases of six black men who died after encounters with police…”

In this letter from a bishop it is evident that there is a struggle for African Americans and police officers. As a result, a movement know as Black Lives Matter began to sweep the nation. People began to support this group and protest for the injustice that takes place in law enforcement. Many have asked what is the biggest concern with law enforcement and its unlawfulness? In the Black Lives Matter community, they argue that police officers are not accountable for their actions when they shoot, injure, or racial discriminate against the innocent.

Police accountability has not improved within the United States. The information pertaining towards police officers is very vague and discrete. Police officers have shoot and killed people before, but there is no documentation on how many police shoot people a year. “It’s ridiculous that I can’t tell you how many people were shot by the police last week, last month, last year,” said FBI Director James Comey.

When police officers are on trial, they are held with greater interest that they are innocent. There have several accounts of police officers that walk away innocent because immunity laws protect them while they are on the job. This can be hard for people to accept that our law system is just when police officers are never held accountable for their actions.

Police brutality, is a struggle within the United States, and will be a struggle if we do not act. Violence is never the answer to these problems, as a nation we must come together for a better good to voice our knowledge toward the injustice that takes place. There is a saying “Quiet is violent”. If we began to silence ourselves, the violence will continue and nothing will be resolved. As Christians, Catholics, Jews, or any religion that promotes humanity strive for goodness, we must voice our concern with the injustice taking place within law enforcement.

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The Ethical Dilemma Surrounding Police Brutality and the Lack of Accountability of Police in the United States. (2023, Apr 11). Retrieved from

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