When American police officers become the criminals, who do American citizens call for help? It was not until 1838 when the city of Boston officially instituted the United States of America’s first police department, marking the start of the officer’s role in society, Throughout the years, it has grown to be one of the most popular occupation choices for children; respect for authority continues to course through the minds of most adults today. Regrettably, only a few adults learn about the sporadic events when police officers show their hidden side.
Even though there are certain rules to limit how police officers can use their power, police misconduct is worsening throughout the years due to the constant brutality and abuse of authority sexually that impacts citizen’s lives personally and involvements in corruption threatening the safety of citizens. When the public is deciding where they stand on police criminality issues, it is vital that they comprehend the basics before moving on to even more complex situations.
Police lawlessness may conceivably be classified as three different violations: civil, procedural, and criminal. David Packman clarifies the meaning of these terms as he writes, “Namely, police misconduct can involve: a violation of departmental policies [procedural] … a violation of constitutional practices [civil] … a violation of the law itself [criminal]” (Packman). To further clear up the question of why in some cases, disciplinary consequences were not applied to an officer that had committed a crime, two additional classifications are individual and institutional.
These two phrases help decipher if an unlawful act is “permissible via a law enforcement agency’s express or implied policies yet still unconstitutional, illegal, or just plain unethical by reasonable standards” or “undertaken outside of the established or implied guidelines of a law enforcement agency” (Packman). Laws and statutes have been published for the sake of the people: Section 1983, declares the civil rights citizens own; Constitution and other documents, states what actions are viewed as wrong; and procedural laws, depends on what the police sector has established as rules.
The consequences all depend on what the crime is categorized as; if it is considered to be a civil or criminal infringement, the judge or jury will decide what punishment seems best, however, if it is seen as a procedural crime, the police department will make the final decision. The offender may also receive fines and lawsuit if the party of the victim chooses to sue. Furthermore, there are always at least two sides in an argument, and in this controversy, there are many pieces of evidence and facts supporting both of the opposers.
Nancy Mckeon, a well-known actress, publicizes some of America’s citizens’ ideas about the police department, “A police force, wherever they are, is made up of amazing people, and I respect them a great deal” (oocities). The contradicting side may argue that certain rules restrict police officers’ actions both on and off cases; contrary to this, Daily KOS provides statistics that shows police officers are more likely to commit domestic violence than an NFL player (King).
As a matter of fact, a study conducted by Bowling Green State University resulted in a total of 324 cases filed concerning domestic violence that officers were responsible for as of 2013 (King). People may additionally argue that most police officers do not illustrate this conduct. However, Chief Bernadette Di Pino of the Sarasota Police Department located in Florida, refutes that although domestic violence as he confirms that sexual assault committed by police officers is “happening probably in every law enforcement agency across the country…
It’s so underreported and people are scared that if they call and complain about a police officer, they think every other police officer is going to be then out to get them” (Sedensky). These statistics portray that despite the fact that police misconduct is rarely heard, it continues to transpire in the private lives of citizens. Police officers receive an immense quantum of power, and with it comes great responsibility because of the multitudinous, possible ways of using it negatively.
Abuse of authority is one of the most recurrent criminalities committed by police officers present in America because many diverse crimes fall under this category; “Abuse of authority can range from sexually abusing a victim or suspect to coercing a false confession” (Scott). Numerous police officers have been charged with sexual abuse, whether they were found guilty or not. Just last June, two New York City officers were accused and arrested for sexual assault; these two cases then led to an investigation that was conducted on the question, “How much crimes do police officers commit? (Jackman)
It was soon discovered that over 1,100 police officers are taken into custody every year (Jackman). Philip M. Stinson, a lead researcher from Bowling University that further analyzed the sum of officers arrested every year, deduced, “’Our data directly contradicts some of the prevailing assumptions and the proposition that only a small group of rotten apples perpetrate the vast majority of police crime” (Jackman).
He continues to address the fact that 60% of the crimes had been done when they were “technically off-duty”, however a” significant portion of these so-called off-duty crimes also lies within the context of police work and the perpetrator’s role as a police officer, including instances where off-duty officers flash a badge, an official weapon, or otherwise use their power, authority, and the respect afforded to them as a means to commit crime” (Jackman).
His findings prove to the world, not only that police arrest cases occur about three times a day, but also that the same symbol used to intimidate a suspect in a lifethreatening case for the good of the people is taken advantage of to terrorize a victim for the benefits of oneself. Women all across America are taken advantage of as they are left in an impotent situation because of an officer’s availability to weaponry, higher authorities in the police department, and knowledge concerning a person’s rights.
Although the illegal act was performed in New Mexico, Diana Guerrero’s gut-wrenching perspective of being a victim of rape shows that it destroyed her self-worth and made her feel like a “piece of trash”, as she puts it (Sedensky). These everyday conflicts are what causes the female population to tremble in their shoes, aware of what could possibly happen to them once pulled over by a cop. Abuse of authority can be acted upon, not only women but also minorities that include men.
Brutality has, unfortunately, become one of the most committed crimes by officers, and the cases continue to show their faces on the news today. Michael J. Scott clarifies that police viciousness includes the “use of excessive force on someone. The force doesn’t have to be lethal, just more than the situation requires” (Scott). His writing in the article “Types of Police Misconduct” demonstrates the definition of police officers use of intemperate force legally, ensuring that unreasonable complaints filed against officers will not be taken into consideration for excessive force cases.
During the year of 2016, about 1152 Americans lives were taken by police officers, and so far this year, 283 people were killed by officers already (CopCrisis). One of the innocent deaths recorded last year include a woman by the name of Deborah Danner: a mentally ill woman who was shot in her own house by Sgt. Hugh Barry; the officer was notorious for conveying abusive power and was described as “someone who did not do a good job of assessing situations and someone who was not exceptionally bright,” as Ken Montgomery put it (Annese).
Danner, the victim, was said to be holding a pair of scissors and baseball bat, but shooting her was an unnecessary precaution. Other options would have been to simply taze her or possibly incarcerate her in the apartment until higher authorities would arrive and take matters into their own hands. The mayor of New York City displayed his remorse for the grieving family saying, “The shooting of Deborah Danner is tragic and it is unacceptable… This should never have happened. It’s as simple as that. Deborah Danner should be alive right now.
Period” (Fermino). Some people may link police rutality as open racism against the blacks, and that is exactly what many activists considered this unfortunate case as because of the inessential consequences Danner received. Charges were brought against Barry who was then placed on modified duty, and his gun and badge were removed (Golding). While police officers can affect individual’s personal lives, they also are given opportunities to participate illegally in briberies that affect the entire nation as well. As they investigate a variety of mafia cases, police officers have the ability and choice to become a part of those deals.
Officers that are in charge of solving everyday corruption investigations are more likely to get involved in scandals themselves. Often times, these briberies would consist of miscreants giving large sums of money or drugs to an officer; in return, they receive secrecy and concealment for the sake of their business. Nonetheless, if police officers do decide to engage in grafts, the entire case is jeopardized so the method the police department uses to manage inducements its officers are involved in is crucial.
In July last year, three officers listed in the following were arrested for being a part of an important corruption case that was said to be correlating to Mayor Bill de Blasio: Deputy Chief Michael J. Harrington, Deputy Inspector James M. Grant, and Sgt. David Villanueva (Goldstein). All three inquiries coincided with gun licenses, and these New York Police Department officers some of the many inducement cases happening all across this nation.
As this great country continues to expand and develop, it is essential that the government provides loyal protection for the residents of America; however, it is important to remember that humans are what form the defense services, and every person is going to make a mistake during their career. Regardless of what the controverting factions may expound, police officers have and will, according to their decisions, execute illicit events. Citizens of America are endangered when higher authorities in society partake of illegal activities because they are then left helpless, and vulnerable to the influential figures.
Unsurprisingly, sexual forms of abusive authority and subornation are both found all over the world, not just in America, and as for the problems of excessive force, multiple protesters, such as Hawk Newsome, continue to declare their stance in the controversial conflictions through marches, riots, and etc. A disappointing fact about the United States is that police misconduct occurs daily, and as the people that make up America, it is every citizen’s responsibility to be aware of the illegal events occurring right under their noses.