Home > Free Essays > Politics & Government > Law Enforcement > Police Authority or Brutality?
Cite this

Police Authority or Brutality? Essay


Introduction

Police is a law enforcement agency that ensures order and supremacy of law in the US cities. At least, police is aimed to be such an agency. However, recent events and numerous cases of police brutality and misconduct show that supremacy of law and order are becoming more of proclamations. For instance, Ferguson has become a symbol of the struggle against police brutality and misconduct. It is possible to note that the majority of cases (especially when it comes to lethal cases) involves suspects who pertain to minority groups (Chin 55).

However, these are not the only cases and all people can potentially be prone to brutality of police officers. Even though some people note that there is not such an issue and the cases are not examples of brutality but necessary measures to prevent (or react to) crimes, it is clear that it is a serious issue and it should obtain significant public attention.

Law Enforcement

First of all, it is necessary to consider some cases of brutality and the way they are seen in the society. It is possible to state that the police-citizen relationship in this country has been “governed by an asymmetrical status norm whereby the police officer is the boss and the citizen is the subordinate” (Jeffries 72). Hence, when police officer suspects that a person may be an offender or may plan to commit a crime, he/she can detain the person, start certain kind of interrogation and even use the force.

Many people support this status and believe that police officers need this kind of power to effectively ensure supremacy of law. They think that potential offenders and criminals have to understand that there will be adequate punishment for any misconduct.

Nonetheless, many people understand that this status poses numerous threats to democratic values of the USA as the country may soon turn into a police state where people will be totally under control of law enforcement agencies and live in fear as any citizen (be it a criminal or law-abiding individual) may be a victim of brutality.

For instance, in Maryland, the court decided that the use of Tasers by police officers is justified as police officers “should be permitted” to use Tasers “to shield themselves from any possibility of harm and the suspect must suffer the consequences” (Mance 658). In other words, people believe that the use of Tasers (which can be dangerous in many cases) is justified as police officers can use this weapon to protect themselves and can effectively capture and neutralize the suspect.

It is clear that some people do not submit to police officers and start running or even shooting. Of course, when shooting is involved, it is clear that police officers can and should react and try to neutralize the criminals, as it may be associated with injured people among police officers as well as citizens. Force is also justified when the offender can harm other people.

For instance, domestic violence is a widespread issue and it is clear that sometimes a violent partner does not stop beating his/her victim until police officers use the force. It is also obvious that a person with some weapon threatening other people should be neutralized.

At the same time, this does not mean that police officers can use excessive force or kill a suspect. It is necessary to note that there are numerous regulations (the Fourth Amendment is primary) that provide principles of accountability. However, police officers often violate those regulations. Researchers note that police officers “use force as an authorized form of state coercion, but they do so in tense and often emotionally charged interpersonal encounters” (1121).

As has been mentioned above, many police officers are biased and even somewhat racist. Clearly, these factors affect the way situations are evaluated and, in many cases, police officers use excessive force. It is quite obvious that police officers are trained to use force and they tend to use it instead of trying to employ other methods. One of the most striking things is the fact that many people justify police brutality and numerous court decisions suggest that public opinion holds the viewpoint that violence can be justified.

Nonetheless, this is a very dangerous trend, as police officers may develop a sense that the use of force and brutality is a norm and it can be used even in the cases of minor offenses or with any suspect. Clearly, a police officer can decide that a person holding a bag is a terrorist and use the force against a law-abiding citizen who simply carried his/her staff in a bag.

The term suspect is very broad and police officers rely on their own judgments when evaluating the degree of danger to themselves and others. These judgments can be inadequate and can lead to tragic consequences. It is clear that police as well as the entire system has to undergo certain changes. Police officers should be trained to evaluate situations correctly and react accordingly (Simmons 402). This may be the necessary solution that will ensure development of a truly democratic (not police) country.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is possible to note that the line between police authority and police brutality is becoming less tangible. Thus, many people think that the use of excessive power by police is justified in any case. However, it is clear that police officers are not big bosses of the streets, but they are servants of law-abiding citizens who deserve respect and safety.

Therefore, police departments have to develop effective strategies to address the issue. The recent events in Ferguson show that more and more people start thinking that police brutality has become prevalent and has to be diminished. The society needs changes and police officers have to be ready to change.

Annotated Bibliography

Chin, William Y. “Law and Order and White Power: White Supremacist Infiltration of Law Enforcement and the Need to Eliminate Racism in the Ranks.” LSD Journal 6.1 (2013): 30-98. Print.

The author explores issues associated with white supremacy in police and states that it should be eliminated.

Harmon, Rachel A. “When Is Police Violence Justified?” Northwestern University Law Review 102.3 (2008): 1119-1187. Print.

The author notes that police violence is becoming more common even though there are numerous regulations aimed at reducing it.

Jeffries, Judson L. “Democracy for the Few: How Local Governments Empower Cops at Citizens’ Expense.” Journal of Law and Conflict Resolution 3.5 (2011): 71-75. Print.

The author reveals the cases of numerous violations and shows that political elites empower law enforcement agencies at the expense of citizens’ rights.

Mance, Ian A. “Power Down: Tasers, the Fourth Amendment, and Police Accountability in the Fourth Circuit.” North Carolina Law Review 91.1 (2013): 606-660. Print.

The author explores laws (with the focus on the Fourth Amendment) that regulate the use of force by police officers.

Simmons, Kami Chavis. “Cooperative Federalism and Police Reform: Using Congressional Spending Power to Promote Police Accountability.” Alabama Law Review 62.2 (2011): 351-403. Print.

The author states that many strategies to address police brutality have failed and it is necessary to develop a new efficient strategy.

Works Cited

Chin, William Y. “Law and Order and White Power: White Supremacist Infiltration of Law Enforcement and the Need to Eliminate Racism in the Ranks.” LSD Journal 6.1 (2013): 30-98. Print.

Harmon, Rachel A. “When Is Police Violence Justified?” Northwestern University Law Review 102.3 (2008): 1119-1187. Print.

Jeffries, Judson L. “Democracy for the Few: How Local Governments Empower Cops at Citizens’ Expense.” Journal of Law and Conflict Resolution 3.5 (2011): 71-75. Print.

Mance, Ian A. “Power Down: Tasers, the Fourth Amendment, and Police Accountability in the Fourth Circuit.” North Carolina Law Review 91.1 (2013): 606-660. Print.

Simmons, Kami Chavis. “Cooperative Federalism and Police Reform: Using Congressional Spending Power to Promote Police Accountability.” Alabama Law Review 62.2 (2011): 351-403. Print.

This essay on Police Authority or Brutality? was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

301 certified writers online

GET WRITING HELP
Cite This paper

Select a referencing style:

Reference

IvyPanda. (2020, March 26). Police Authority or Brutality? Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/police-authority-or-brutality/

Work Cited

"Police Authority or Brutality?" IvyPanda, 26 Mar. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/police-authority-or-brutality/.

1. IvyPanda. "Police Authority or Brutality?" March 26, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/police-authority-or-brutality/.


Bibliography


IvyPanda. "Police Authority or Brutality?" March 26, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/police-authority-or-brutality/.

References

IvyPanda. 2020. "Police Authority or Brutality?" March 26, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/police-authority-or-brutality/.

References

IvyPanda. (2020) 'Police Authority or Brutality'. 26 March.

More related papers