A new wave of social media has made police brutality far more evident than it has even been to the public before, from civilians with cellphones to cops with cameras. The topic is nothing but highly debated through all terms of social media, according to Wihbey , and has a following large enough to crowd the streets of any city in protest. My peers, my audience, please tell me:how many more people need to suffer while police struggle to maintain order under their jurisdiction?
To find the right answer, one must look at the evidence presented. If there is no evidence, then it must be collected. An article by reporter Tony Dokoupil on nbcnews.com claims, “…He went looking for what amounts to a standard policy, and hopefully an ideal one, but what he found was jarring: there’s no such thing as a standard policy — and nothing currently in use is ideal. More than 80 percent of departments train officers on a use of force “continuum,” running from less lethal to more lethal, depending on the level of civilian resistance”
The police lacking standard policy in terms of lethal use to detain a civilian is not direct proof of police brutality, but it is proof of its ability to occur with little to no backlash on an officer who succums to such behavior. Hoping your police department has a sense of morality shouldn’t be a part of daily life; there needs to be ground rules, restrictions and regulations on how police handle a standard arrest. We the people cannot implement these rules as we please, but there was a published scientific study done by the University of Cambridge Institute of Criminology using body cameras that states, “During the 12-month Rialto experiment, use-of-force by officers wearing cameras fell by 59% and reports against officers dropped by 87% against the previous year’s figures” (Arial). There is filmed evidence of excessive force anywhere you care to look online, sometimes now even when you aren’t looking for it. This scientific evidence not only proves that police brutality occurs, but it also offers a method to decrease the consistency of the issue.
Many people also believe that there is no issue; instead, police brutality is being overgeneralized and the cases are more rare than the media will allow us to see. Matt Walsh, a blogger from his personal website, dabbled into the topic himself with this major thought, “I don’t know. I’d prefer to let the dust settle and all the facts come to light before I make any proclamations about the exact nature of the event” . Matt is saying there are far too many people jumping to conclusions on everything they see before allowing every side of the story to present itself, which provides an unfair atmosphere to the incident when people are blindly stating recent murders of citizens by officers as police brutality as soon as they hear about the “murder”. In fact, a writer for the Breitbart website, Warner Todd Huston, explains to us through Professor Haberfeld, how public awareness is the cause of this sudden rise in opinion that police use excessive force, “‘There is no escalation in the use of deadly force. What we are seeing is a proliferation of cell phones and cameras’. While the rate for police brutality has been falling, the rates for these incidents being filmed has skyrocketed; however, the question isn’t “has police brutality increased in recent years?”, the question to answer is does police brutality occur and how do we prevent it?
While the consistency of cases that orbit the topic of police brutality can be turned into hyperboles for social networking organizations to take advantage of, police and brutality are two words that should never be placed next to each other, especially so often. Professor Haberfeld said police brutality is increasing because there are more people who record it and talk about it now; there are more videos easily accessible through internet and social media because police brutality is an issue that can’t be ignored. People have been in the shadows of the police department’s policy on deadly force for so long, we’ve silently agreed to the issue ourselves. Police brutality is evident in this country; it’s visible in each state of the nation, it’s visible on the city streets, and it’s especially visible when you look on the phone in your pocket. We cannot stand by without taking action; if a boat has a hole in it, you can’t just sail it out into the ocean and expect to never sink. The further we sail, the more our chance of survival will truncate.
Today, there is an opportunity to help more than thirty four thousand people who have already signed the petition for national action to be taken against police brutality. For this to happen, there only needs to be under a thousand more votes. That’s something our school can do by itself, let alone other visitors to the petition who agree with the cause. Let’s do our part, and not let any more time go to waste. Visit https://www.change.org/p/national-action-against-police-brutality and help get this petition where it belongs; in the hands of those who have the power to change the course of our police departments.