Black Lives and Police Tactics Matter

Published: 2021-07-19 17:40:07
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Category: Criminology

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The question which usually pops up whenever a black person is killed by police is whether the killing is instigated by racism or not. According to many studies on how black people are mostly targeted by the police reveals that racism plays a big part in instigating such killings. Police officers seem to be racially biased when it comes to matter of maintaining law and order. However, one will be appalled to hear the law enforcement officers ruling out the idea that police killing of the black people is racially instigated and arguing that one cannot tell accurately what transpired before the killing. This paper will seek to answer the question whether racism which has permeated the law enforcement system also plays a role in informing racial disparities in violence meted by the police against the people of color.Evidences from research and news indicate that black people are much more likely to be killed by the police compared to their white fellows. The killing of the black people is at disproportionate rate despite the black people forming a less percentage of the United States population. This disparity in the rate of killings reveals the underbelly of the widespread racial inequality which is deeply rooted in the American justice system. Some researches has it that this disparities is due to socioeconomic factors in the black community such as high rate of poverty, unemployment and negligence by the police which leads to more crime and violence in the black communities. This racial biasness has fueled criticisms of the law enforcement and has led to movements such as the black lives matters to demonstrate against racially instigated police killings.A study by Michael Siegel reveals that police shootings are instigated by structural racism. Siegel conducted a study on police serious shootings using the data from the Mapping Police Violence database between the period 2013 and 2017. Siegel ran the data using the following key indicators of racism: racial segregation, rate of incarceration, level of education achievement, level of economic disparity and unemployment gaps for several states in the US. The study revealed that black people are a target of police violence and they score a higher index of state racism which explains the violence meted by the police on them. Siegel study revealed that high rate of police killings of the African American correlates with structuralism racism in the American justice system. Racial segregation explained well the unarmed killing of the black people across many states in the US.Siegel study on high rate police shootings of the black people debunked the hypothesis that the high rate of crime and violence in the black communities explained the higher rate of police shootings of African American. The study revealed that both are contributors but does not explain fully the disproportionate rate of police shootings. According to the study structural racism is the major predicator of police shootings of unarmed black suspect. From the study, the following state registered the highest index of state racism and shootings of unarmed black people by the police: Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois. Evidences of police shootings on face book and in the street reveal the structural racism and empirical data has shown that many racial policies are perpetuating these killings of the black. Arrest by the police is racialized in the sense that police tend to perceive black people as aggressive and noncompliant with the law. Any attempt of resistance by a black person upon arrest by the police will most likely culminate to a deadly shooting.There is widespread inequality in the way police handle black people as compared with other races. People of color are more likely to be a victim of police brutality whether they are doing anything illegal or legal. Black people are more likely to be stopped by the police which usually extend to police violence. Any black person stopped by the police is likely to experience police violence such as an officer pointing a gun at him or forcefully pinning him or her to the ground. These encounters sometimes lead to violent brawling ending in shootings by the police (stone, p.37).Some studies are dispelling the myth that police lethal use of force against certain race or ethnic group is not instigated by racial biasness as espoused by the media or political leaders. The high number of deaths of African-American due to police shootings is due to the high crime rate committed by the black people. Majority of the black people living in the inner cities are suffering in abject poverty as result of high unemployment rate and negligence by the government. This predicament prompts them to involve themselves in crimes such as mugging and drug trafficking which leads them to deadly encounters with the police. Black neighborhoods are characterized with high crimes and are very dangerous for the police. Police are likely to draw their guns in any encounter within such areas which explains why most deadly shootings by the police involve black people (Johnson, p.10).In addition to structural racism among the police, the black people are less represented in the police force and this explains why so much violence is meted on them. Unequal number of black police officer in the police task force leads to more black shooting in the sense that there is lack of belonging among the police when they are carrying out their brutality. I bet a black police officer will act with more restraining when handling a black suspect unlike a white police officer. This misrepresentation of black people in the police force explains why most of the black people are racially biased and not treated fairly within the precincts of the law.Widespread killing of the black has led to movement such as the black lives matter and there is an immediate need by the justice system to look into this matter. Police training and other policy reforms need to be done to abate this predicament. Police training on how to use firearms should now be when to shoot and not all about how to shoot. Police should be trained using interactive videos to test their decision-making skills in situations they are under pressure are likely to shoot a suspect. They are supposed to be trained to act with restrain and undergoing policy academy is one way of achieving this goal. There should be workshops for the police officers to undergo training on firearm training and review of their tactics.Body such as the Municipal Police Training Council ensures regulation of the law enforcement agencies and training of their police officers. This body helps the government to make recommendations regarding police training schools, qualifications of the instructors and the category of the in-service training. Municipal Police Training Council has two courses for police training which include the basic course for police officer and the course in police supervision. They are designed for new recruits and are taken only once. The course for police officer entails classroom work and field training while the course in police supervision entails supervisory roles, handling of legal issues, management of incidents and community relations among other duties (Johnson, p.44).The purpose of police training is to ensure that they operate with high professionalism and within the law. Training equips them with problem solving skills which inculcate politeness and professionalism in them. Better training of the police officer help mitigate the liability of risks such as criminal liability on him or her for killing civilians indiscriminately and bringing the reputation of the policy justice system into jeopardy (Glenn, p.125).Training the police of the use of force can greatly help with reducing murder rates. It is the duty of the law enforcement officers to protect themselves and the civilians and sometimes this might need the use of force. Training is meant to enlighten the police officer on the degree or amount of force necessary to stop an offender action and to avoid excessive use of force which might be construed as police brutality (Glenn, p.229). Police officers have a variety of weapons at their disposal to subvert any danger. Some of these weapons include hand to hand combat, Taser and handcuffing. Proper training on these weapons will help the police to protect themselves, the civilians and their reputation as well.Works CitedGlenn, Russell W., et al. Training the 21st century police officer: Redefining police professionalism for the Los Angeles Police Department. Rand Corporation, 2003.Johnson, Richard R. “Dispelling the myths surrounding police use of lethal force.” (2016).Stone, C. “New York State Task Force on Police-on-Police Shootings.” (2010). Johnson, Richard R. “Dispelling the myths surrounding police use of lethal force.” (2016).

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