Police Brutality: Criminals with Authority?

Brayan Tenas, Staff Reporter


To serve and protect or to hurt and kill? These are questions many people are asking themselves nowadays as every day we hear about more and more incidents of police brutality. Most of these cases involve police acting disorderly and abusing their power while doing ridiculous things and also forcing people to do things against their own will. These incidents involve police officers using an excessive amount of force to incapacitate a “dangerous” criminal. Other incidents involve officers killing citizens (innocent and/or guilty) and all of these incidents are unacceptable and this is why there is a storm brewing in our society.

Police brutality isn’t a new trend as it’s been going on ever since the late 1800’s. Why is it that now it’s becoming more and more heard of and relevant? Technology has given society and citizen watch groups an upper hand in the battle against police brutality. Another question we must answer is is all of this happening due to racism, discrimination, or an actual threat? Most of the accounts we see on the news are involving people of different ethnicity or races other than white. What is going on here in our society, and why are the same people that are supposed to protect and help us, killing us one by one? Children used to adore police officers and wanted to be like them but now children fear them and hope to never become like them.

Since May 2013, 2,727 American citizens have been killed at the hands of a police officer. Every 8 hours, an American citizen is killed by a police officer. All of these facts and statistics are sad and disturbing, especially when we realize how often it happens. Most of these incidents don’t make it onto the mainstream news or media. The only ones that make the news are the events that cause a significant disturbance in the community in which the incident happened. When this happens it shines light on other incidents that went unheard of due to media control. An example of this would be Baltimore and the death of Freddy Gray. He died from complications due to his spine being severed after an altercation with a police officer in which the officer forced Gray into a prisoner transport vehicle. He suffered injuries while inside the police vehicle which later ultimately led to Gray dying. Protests broke out the same day the incident happened. The officers are now currently awaiting the verdict of the judge and waiting for more evidence to arrive.

Many would agree with saying that the system is corrupt as virtually none of the police officers in police brutality cases actually face punishment. The indictment rate for police officers or officials is only 1% and most of the time it’s not a justifiable punishment.

I took the time to go around school and ask students and adults what they know and how they feel about police brutality. Erick Ruiz, grade 10, remarked that “Police brutality is something very sad and disturbing to see in our society but unfortunately its our reality.” When I interviewed these people most of them didn’t know the facts or statistics regarding police brutality. When I told them, most were surprised and a little bit disgusted on how frequent police brutality occurs. Ms. Reisbord commented that “It is unacceptable what these officers are doing to people who are innocent or not.” Dr. Granish added, “Police brutality is only a select few cases in which the victim and the officer both play different factors in this.” All of the people I interviewed agreed that police brutality is horrible and should not be happening. Sadly, I couldn’t interview the school police as they were unavailable. ┬áSo overall, do we see police officers as our entrusted guardians? Or do we see them as criminals with authority?