Across America, allegations of excessive force against police departments continue to generate media headlines, and with the latest developments in the news questioning police brutality, people have found it hard to believe that all of the these events are “justified.”
According to journalistsresource.org, surveys in recent years with minority groups, Latinos and African Americans in particular, suggest that confidence in law enforcement is relatively low. Large portions of these communities believe police are likely to use excessive force on suspects.
For example, after a two-year investigation, there was evidence that the Albuquerque, New Mexico Police Department engages in a practice of excessive force, including deadly force. Similar information was discovered in December of 2014 with regard to the Cleveland Police Department.
In March of 2015, the Justice Department found the Ferguson police agency tainted with racism and racially biased policing. Stating that there were “clear racial disparities” and “discriminatory intent” on the part of the Ferguson Police Department.
Ferguson Police Chief, Tom Jackson, announced that he will be resigning from his leadership roll after his department received the report.
“I try not to make the latest police brutalities in the news a race thing,” said Mallory Saxton, a senior marketing major from Waynesville, Mo.
“But I have family in St. Louis, and the stories that they tell me from the protest are unreal and it makes it hard for me to not think that way.”
A widely publicized report in October 2014 by ProPublica, a leading investigative and data journalism outlet, concluded that young black males are 21 times more likely to be shot by police than their white counterparts. They also stated that 1,217 deadly police shootings from 2010 to 2012 captured in federal data show that blacks from the ages of 15 to 19, were killed at a rate of 31.17 per million. There were only 1.47 per million white males in the same age range killed.
“I’m happy that people are finally understanding what I have been noticing for years. I’m tired of hearing about another black man being killed, over a ‘misunderstanding,’” said Oniesha Stevenson, a criminal justice major from Atlanta.
“I think an investigation needs to be run in all major counties around the country. I think they will find similar evidence in those cities as well.”