The primary responsibility of the police is to serve and protect the right of the citizens. Though most policemen and women carry out their functions diligently, there are some who willingly violate the rules and regulations of their work and use the powers that have been vested in them wrongly. The police take advantage of the fact that they have certain powers that allow them to carry out their work in the most appropriate manner, while attempting to apprehend persons suspected of criminal activities.
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However, these powers are not absolute. The state has also established laws that protect the citizens from being mistreated by the police. However, civil rights movements and law firms have come up to champion for the rights of citizens who may be mistreated by the police. This essay compares and contrasts the civil rights activities in Ferguson and Missouri in response to police brutality, the prison industrial complex, systematic economic suppression, and discrimination against the blacks.
Goals of Establishment
The various civil rights movements were formed to protect the civilians against abuses, such as excessive use of force and brutality from police, seizures and searches carried out unconstitutionally, as well as imprisonment or being arrested falsely. They also protect civilians against prosecution in an unconstitutional manner, discrimination based on gender, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender.
The response of the government to brutal dealings of police and discrimination against the blacks is usually slow, unsatisfactory, and defensive. They always seem to evade the issue by lengthening the process of finding justice and they only act as a reaction to the public protests.
For instance, after the public outcry following the shooting of an innocent Blackman “Michael Brown” in Fergusson, the government through its attorney general, stated that it would review and analyze all the complaints of police brutality that have been reported to the Federal Government in the past six years. Even in this act, the officials said that they only aim at establishing if there is gross misconduct among the police forces, but not to initiate fresh prosecutions against the responsible police.
It was very clear that the police demonstrated pure laxity in maintaining discipline and taking advantage of the poor and innocent. However, the move by the government was calculated in such a way that it cooled down the rights activities, yet they did not offend the police officers.
Method of Resistance
The public and the civil rights activities react to police misconduct through various ways. The most common and the most efficient ways entail the mobilization of the general public to engage in peaceful demonstration to pursue the government to take the required actions.
During the protest, the activists carry banners bearing the message they intend to pass to the government. The next form of resistance is by filing cases in court and hiring advocates on behalf of the victims. Lastly, the activist address the grievances through sensitization of the general public on their rights, thereby empowering them to stand firm against anything that goes against their rights.
Media Representation of Movement
The media has taken the center stage in advocating for the rights of civilians. The media is able to air events just the way they happened through television programs, radio programs, and newspapers. A big boost came through social media, where human rights have become trending issues on the social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter.
In the wake of the Fergusson killing, newspapers and almost all media houses reported the issue. On Twitter, several phrases were used to communicate the displeasure following the incident. One such phrase was the hash tag #BlackLivesMatter, which trended heavily on Twitter to emphasize the need to respect the lives of black people and stop criminal activities of police against them.
Leader(s) of Movement
Most of the movements are organized and coordinated by advocates, who have specialized in human rights law. Other leaders, such as political persons and elected leaders, include volunteers who have a massive interest in promoting law and order.
Most of the protests against humanity and brutal acts by government or the police always begin off as peaceful demonstrations. However, as the demonstrations go on, some demonstrators become unruly and initiate acts of violence. They eventually engage in acts of looting and the destruction of property.
Any attempt of the police to disperse such crowds worsens the situation further. The use of force by police to calm the demonstrators down only worsens the situation, making the protesters to destroy property even further. Destruction of property may include setting buildings of innocent civilians ablaze. This was the true case in Fergusson and Missouri after the brutal killing of the black American teenager.
The community takes the center stage when it comes to advocating the rights of humans, particularly through protests. In Missouri and Fergusson, for example, the community protests forced the government to address the issues raised by the community over the killing of the black American teenager.
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Furthermore, improved collaboration between members of the community will reduce incidences of harming each other and foster unity in times of need. When a community speaks with one voice, their sentiments are addressed well and easily.
Gender: Concept of Black Power
Initially, women appeared more vulnerable to police brutality. However, the issue of gender disparity is now minimal due to high advocacy concerning issues affecting women. Women and men seem to be at per when it comes to the protection and advocacy of their rights.
The ascension of a black president and more black senators to power in America has changed the perception of the black people. Black people are now treated with more respect and dignity, a factor that contributed to the public outcry when a black teenager was killed by the police.
Impact of Nonviolent vs. Violent protests
Though nonviolent protests are harmless to the entire community and the state, their impact on the intended issue is always minimal and the government feels no pressure to deal with the issue at hand. The violent protests, though they have proven to be the most effective in forcing the authorities to enforce an immediate solution, have proven disastrous even to the general public.
There is looting and destruction of property, together with closure of businesses, thereby affecting the economic wellbeing of a country and resulting in financial losses. Eventually, the protesters are arrested and charged with fraud and destruction of property, leading to more negative financial impacts. There are also injuries to police officers and civilians due to fights between them and the nature of paraphernalia used to calm the protesters.
Human rights activities have increased in the recent times in Missouri and Fergusson, particularly following the killing of the black teenage boy in Fergusson in August 2014. This shows improved value to human lives by the local people and human rights activist groups.
It is also an indication of increased awareness of the people with regard to their rights and the need for the police and other law enforcers to carry out their responsibilities. On such occasions, however, the public needs to embrace peaceful demonstrations, while the government needs to act swiftly so that damage is avoided as much as possible.