Police Brutality: Global Perspective

By Nicholas Perugini, Trending Writer

When a person looks at the current situation of police brutality in America, a terrible picture is painted before them. School kids being pinned to the ground, suspects being shot in the back, and crowded jails are just a few examples. This has caused citizens to rise up and bring change to the system. There is hope that here, in America, people can make changes for the better. But what about police brutality in the rest of the world? There are some countries that have even worse incidents of police brutality than our country.

Russia has a history of terrible instances of police brutality towards its people. These violent acts against Russian citizens are so bad that the name of the police had to be changed from militsiya (militia) to politsiya (police) in order to improve their public image. Some may ask what terrible acts have the Russian police committed. One incident was in 2012 when a 52 year old man died in custody. Before he died, he claimed to be sodomized with a champagne bottle by police. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon incident in Russia. In 2012, Vocativ reported that 4000 prisoners died behind bars in Russian prisons. Most deaths are from unsanitary living conditions and general neglect from the officers.

What is terrible is that incidents like this are common. There have been reports of a women being tortured using electricity, police officers using citizens as human shields when chasing down armed criminals, and even officers kidnapping people for ransom. In America, prisoners bribe officers to smuggle in drugs or contraband. In Russia, those bribes are used to get daily needs or lifesaving medicine, basic necessities that should be required by the country for the prison system.

The most terrifying thing about these acts of corruption are that the ones mentioned were in cities and people had the chance to see them and organize reform. Who knows what happens to the prisoners sent to the “Penal Colonies” out in Siberia. These penal colonies are old Gulags left over from the Stalin Era. These buildings were Soviet Russia’s version of a concentration camp. They housed Stalin’s political prisoners and unwanted citizens. Thousands of miles away from anything remotely close to society, one can only wonder about the horrors that happen there.

There is little hope for reform in Russia. Just this year amendments have been proposed to strengthen Russia’s police force. These amendments give officers more power to freely shoot and search suspects. In the U.S. there are at least pushes for reform. In Russia those voices are harder to hear.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 17th print edition.

Contact Nicholas at
nicholas.perugini@student.shu.edu

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