Recently many incidents have occurred that show minorities are disproportionately targeted by police brutality. It seems as if all the cases involving police brutality also involve minorities. Law enforcement agencies do not view themselves as a threat; it is the minority communities that feel as if they are targeted. Policy makers have been attempting to create policies to make police departments more accountable to the community they serve to break down the barrier between the police and citizens.
Targeting ethnic minorities is essentially racial profiling; this is a strategy that many law enforcement agencies follow based of crime data. Officers tend to target minorities only because of statistics. Minorities are linked with certain types of crime and officers look at minorities more because they are a presumed a higher risk of committing a crime. The media plays a major role in how minorities view the police because when police brutality involves minorities it turns into a civil rights issue, which is than advertised all over the news. Minorities have developed distrust between officers and view them as a threat to their communities because of racial profiling a power structure formed where police are seen as a higher above oppressive power.
I agree that police are seen as a threat to minorities based on incidents involving police brutality.
Law enforcement agencies do pay close attention to minorities based off crime data. Unfortunately crime data links certain ethnicities to specific crimes, which has resulted racial profiling. Statistics show that minorities are a threat to the community and the criminal justice system, therefore officers should not be seen as threats, they are just simply on higher alert around minorities based on hard facts. Many will argue that police officers are not a threat to minorities; rather minorities themselves view officers as a threat.
The media plays a huge role in making cops appear as if they are threating to minority communities. When police use excessive force, especially against a minority, it shows that cops are racist, however the clips shown never show the full story. There are situations where police have been accused of police brutality and threatening to minorities; media clips make officers seem this way. The media only shows the violent scenes of cops using excessive, brutal force, however often the media leaves out the information and steps that led them to use excessive force. There may have been situations in which cops felt as if they had to use excessive force if they had felt unsafe. Without all the knowledge regarding every police brutality situation that involves minorities, it is unfair to assume what we hear on the media regarding police officers. It is a very broad statement to say police are threatening to minorities because not all police officers are threatening to minorities and this is not a problem in every community.
Not all but some cops are threating to minorities and use excessive force based on an individuals ethnicity.
In the cases of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Trayvon Martin, police used unnecessary excessive force. In each of these situations it seems as if these men were targeted because they are black. After hearing about the police brutality in these three cases, it gives minority communities a reason to feel threatened. Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Trayvon Martin were all killed by police officers. None of these males had done anything so dangerous where an officer would need to use excessive force.
Eric Garner was “killed by NYPD officers in 2014 on Staten Island during an arrest for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes” (New York Amsterdam News, 2016). Garner was not cooperating with the police because he did not feel like dealing with the police today, due to resisting arrest; officer Daniel Pantaleo put him in a chokehold. Officer Pantaleo held him too long, making it impossible for Garner to breath. He repeated a number of times “I can’t breathe” ((New York Amsterdam News, 2016). The NYPD officers ignored him and did not preform CPR because they had believed he was still alive, after calling an ambulance New York Medical Examiners ruled Garner’s death a homicide. A man died for a minor crime, the excessive force used in this situation was unjustified. A black male was killed for selling cigarettes. This instills fear in minorities because minorities seem to be the only ones who face police brutality.
The death of Tamir Rice created a distrust and lack of confidence between the community and the police force. Tamir Rice was 12 years old when he was killed for playing on a swing with a fake gun (THE NEW YORK AMSTERDAM NEWS, 2015). An eye witness called the cops after seeing the boy aiming the gun at people walking by but the message was not relayed that it was possibly a fake gun, as a result when cops showed up they had just assumed the gun was real and had shot him. The officers should have investigated whether or not the gun was real before just shooting. This excessive fore cannot be justified in any way, “according to some, playing outside with toy guns is now a threat to society” (THE NEW YORK AMSTERDAM NEWS, 2015). This case created a civil rights conflict between the communities and has created that barrier that the police are a threat to minorities.
In 2012 a 17-year-old African American boy named Trayvon Martin was killed by a gunshot in his chest. One evening Martin was seen leaving a gas station and walking through a housing development by the neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman (Gabbidon and Jordan, 2013). Zimmerman called 911 and reported Trayvon Martin as a suspicious guy who looks like he is on drugs and up to no good (Gabbidon and Jordan, 2013). Zimmerman followed Martin even though he was advised not to and minutes later residents called 911 reporting a gunshot. Martin was found with traces of THC after the autopsy report but had no reason for Zimmerman to assume he was suspicious and Zimmerman certainly did not use justified force (Gabbidon and Jordan, 2013). After reviewing the case, “In the most basic sense, the racial divide refers to the significant difference in views by racial/ethnic groups on topics related to crime and justice” according to John Hagan, Carla Shedd, and Monique Payne’s conflict theory (Gabbidon and Jordan, 2013). This case “left a number of respondents feeling that, based on the facts of the case, Zimmerman would have been arrested had his victim been White, suggests two possibilities. First, citizens across the country (especially Blacks) have deep-seated feelings of criminal injustice” (Gabbidon and Jordan, 2013). This incident left minorities with an unsettling feeling that they are picked out and watched closer than whites.
There are more incidents that have occurred between police officers and minorities, which result in minorities feeling threatened.