Police Brutality: Past Reflections

By Margarita Williamson, Trending Writer

Police officer misconduct is not a new issue for society. Advancements in technology have shed light on police officers blatantly abusing their power across the country. In this day and age the public is more aware of the ways in which police are handling situations, because of bystanders filming and sharing incidents online. It seems as if on a weekly basis there is another viral video in which a police officer is using excessive force. Incidents that are filmed and broadcasted to the public hold police officers accountable for their actions. Over the last couple of years there seems to have been a series of incidents of police brutality caught on tape.

In March of 1991, viewers of the evening news were confused, disgusted and outraged after watching the Rodney King incident. Rodney King was stopped after being seen speeding and when approached by officers, he ignored their requests. The officers pulled him out of his vehicle and brutally beat him. They struck King with police batons multiple times and he sustained many serious injuries. It is evident that the force used was extreme and unnecessary. Twenty-four years later there are still numerous occurrences of law enforcement officials continuing to use excessive violence when handling situations. At the end of October, a video of a high school student being forcefully removed from her desk by a police officer went viral.  In the video, police officer Ben Fields asked the student to leave the classroom and when she refused his request, he responded with apparent excessive force. Before the South Carolina officer arrived to the classroom, the student was asked to leave the room by both her teacher and an administrator. In the video, the female student was flipped over backwards in her desk and tossed to the ground by Fields. The student’s refusal to leave the classroom most certainly did not call for that amount of force.

It goes without saying that it is disgraceful and inappropriate for police officers to aggressively attack those that do not comply with their demands. The use of excessive force is damaging to society as a whole and creates an uneasiness within communities. There is a distrust of law enforcement in the communities that have dealt with police brutality. There are many police officers that protect and serve their communities to the best of their abilities. However, there is an overwhelming number of police officers that have abused their power. They should receive regular training regarding how to deal with situations in which people refuse to cooperate. The law enforcement officials that fail to appropriately handle situations should be held accountable for their actions and reprimanded accordingly.

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

Contact Margarita at
margarita.williamson@student.shu.edu

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