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Chris Sullivan

English 1010
Brutality- Society Needs to Know the Truth
Audience: The people who think police do no wrong.
The officers who are sworn to provide service and safety for their citizens have
been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons lately. Events of unlawful arrest, brutality
and murder involving police officers are not new occurrences. With todays media being
so openly available, more is being captured from bystanders, security cameras, as well as
officer body cameras and police car dash cams.
When innocent people are gunned down and killed, the expectation for justice is
nearly certain. When the brutality and killings come from the hands of a police officer
justice is uncertain. Examples such as John Crawford, who was shot and killed by police
in an isle while shopping at Wal-Mart. Eric Gardner, choked by an officer who claims he
was resisting arrest. Michael Brown, whose death started massive protest, riots and push
for change. In the examples above, there was no need for excessive force as they were all
To create change for police brutality, there must be punishment. Officers
positions in our society should not be valued greater then the citizens they are sworn to
protect. In 1997, a man by the name of Abner Louima was a victim of police brutality.
Louima was accused of punching an officer. The officer was in such rage that when
Louima was in custody, he had him taken into the bathroom and beaten. To create

absolute humiliation, the officer inserted a broken broomstick in the rectum of Louima.
Multiple officers were charged because of their involvement, some present at the time of
the brutality, and others lying in their statements about the event at hand. The officer was
charged with fifteen years in prison. The others who lied and tried to help cover up the
crime were also charged but were later exonerated. This was due to a three judge panel
who overturned the ruling because they felt the officers were not properly represented in
There have been many people that have been poorly represented by a public
defender. This is normally due to the client not being able to afford a reasonable lawyer
and also the fact that public defenders have heavy workloads. You dont ever see judges
reopening cases because they feel people are represented poorly. These officers were
guilty of lying to help cover up a brutal crime; special treatment should not have been
permitted to get officers out of prison. They should be held at a higher standard and
punished just like the rest of us.
With officers getting special treatment, the public has lost trust in the system. The
outlook of trust has deteriorated with the brutality and profiling from police. The Justice
Department has made a push to have law enforcement reflect the racial population in the
area. By having proportionate ratios of races in law enforcement versus the population it
can minimize the racial profiling and discrimination. The USA Today reported an article
that shows the percent ratio of race for certain areas. For example, in New York City
there are 34,454 full time police officers, out of that 34,454 officers 53.3 percent of them
are white, 26.2 percent are Hispanic, 16.1 percent are black and 5.5 percent are Asian.
They then break down the population of the area, 32.9 percent of the population is white,

28.8 percent Hispanic, 22.6 percent black and 13.1 percent Asian. All around those are
not bad ratios, unlike the situation in Ferguson, Missouri. In Ferguson, there is a recorded
53 officers, with 93 percent being white and 6 percent being black when the population of
the area is 29.3 percent white and 67.4 percent black there are a lot of claims of racial
targeting. Police officers have a tough job I would never take that from them. If they are
going to be policing areas where they feel uncomfortable they need better training. They
need to understand the different cultures in that area and they need to understand that all
lives matter.
Michael Brown was an eighteen year old, who was shot by a white officer in the
middle of the street in the urban area of Ferguson. He was walking in the middle of the
street and the officer instructed him and his friend to move. Brown did not follow
instructions, which then lead to an altercation. The officer stated that Brown hit him and
attempted to grab the officers gun. When he could not grab it, Brown started to take off
on foot. About 30 yards away from the officer, Brown was shot multiple times and killed.
The officer stated that Brown started to rush him, so that is why he shot. The community
was outraged and wanted justice; instead they called it a justified shooting and the officer
walked. Why didnt the officer shoot Brown in a non-threating area such as a leg or at his
feet? Why didnt the officer use less lethal force? Such as a taser, nightstick or pepper
spray? Why is lethal force always the first action that officers take? There must be
answers to these questions, and also answers to these actions.
With technology, society has been awakened to the reality of brutality that comes
from the hands of police officers. The death of Eric Garden is another situation; the
police took it too far. A bystander recorded the entire event with a camera phone. Officers

were called to the scene. Police surrounded Gardener and the event escalated. The officer
put Gardner in a chokehold and kept yelling, Stop resisting. During the recording
Gardner had his hands up and wasnt resisting in any way. During the altercation he
complained that he couldnt breathe. Officers left him handcuffed, lying on the floor.
When EMTs arrived they showed no urgency. Gardner ended up dying from the incident.
The officer who put Gardner in a chokehold was not found guilty, even though a
chokehold is against officer policy in the state of New York since 1993 (New York
As of lately there has been very little news about any police brutality, although
just a few months ago in downtown Salt Lake City, there was an incident that involved a
teenage boy. He was said to be beating a man with a broom and that is the reason the
officer shot him. It was in the news for a few days, and there have not been any updates
since. An article by a man named Shaun King from the Daily News New York brought up
a good reason why, he stated:
Lawrence Brown, Assistant Professor of Public Health in the Community Health
and Policy program at Morgan State University in Baltimore (and one of my best
friends from college) suggested that something called "racial battle fatigue" seems
to be seriously impacting thousands of people on the front lines of the fight
against injustice and police brutality.
This explains what is currently happening, why hasnt news coverage been informing the
public out these issues? Why has there been silence? King suggests.
Sadly, though, it seems that one unintended consequence of this genuine fatigue
is that the essential stories and identities of police brutality victims are no longer

being told on the same scale as they were in 2014 and 2015. The bottom line is
that the attention given to cases of injustice absolutely seems to not only fuel the
prosecution of bad police officers, but also federal intervention into bad police
With the lack of news information provided by media lately, one can only guess that the
stories are being withheld to prevent another act like the Ferguson and Baltimore riots.
These events themselves have caused many out-cries for change but they have also
created vengeance from individuals.
Christopher Dorner and Ismaaiyl Brinsley were two men who felt the need to take
action against police into their own hands. Dorner went on a shooting rampage because
of what he felt was injustice from the Los Angles police department. As a former officer,
he claimed to be acting in the name of racism and he took action in his own hands and
killed innocent people along the way. Brinsley posted on his Facebook, they took two of
ours lets take two of theirs. In the end he ended up gunning down two officers as they
sat in their police cars. Dorner and Brinsleys killing was fueled by revenge, although
they may have just wanted an excuse to do a horrible crime and claim it was for a cause.
People are still looking for justice. People need answers as to why the systems are
allowing these events to happen. People need to be able to trust the law and need to
understand police brutality should not be tolerated. Some may assume it doesnt concern
them. In reality it effects everybody, CNN reported that in 2014 there was more white
people killed by police then blacks, 414 white to 233 black, the knowledge of this
information needs to be known and addressed.

Police brutality can be fixed. If officers were held accountable for their actions, if
the court system would treat officers like it does its citizens, if their training was better
and if they understood the importance of others lives. All officers do not take part in
police brutality. Many care deeply about their community and those officers should be
commended. But it is up to the people to understand they hold the power to push for

Work Cited

Associated Press. "Court Overturns Convictions of Three Cops in Louima Case | Fox
News." Fox News. FOX News Network, 28 Jan. 2002. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
Bellafante, Ginia. "Police Violence Seems to Result in No Punishment." The New
York Times. The New York Times, 2014. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

King, Shaun. "KING: Police Brutality Hasn't Subsided, but Outrage Has." NY Daily
News. 26 Feb. 2016. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

Williams, Jesse. "Killing of John Crawford: Injustice for All." CNN. Cable News
Network, 1 Oct. 2014. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.