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Jesus Escalante
Professor Malvin
English 114B
April 21, 2015

A Badge against Minorities


The city of Los Angeles contains many cultures and diverse ethnicities. In many
occasions a community and its inhabitants create a diverse society, and in such diverse society,
often the minority class seems to be affected the most. A great issue many minorities are dealing
with is the abuse of police strategies. Police tactics can have both positive and negative effects,
but in most instances the negative use of tactics are portrayed more. Police brutality still exists in
many communities today. The minority in Los Angeles have had a history battling such abuse of
power and many people would defend such abuse of power to be just tactics. In Los Angeles
perhaps one incident would be the L.A. Riots where many of the citys inhabitants protested in a
violent manner against police brutality and racial profiling. As Police strategies continue to
become severely militarized and racial profiling becomes the reason for such abuse of power,
this abuse of power in return causes minorities to uproar in violence, and in most cases, can
psychologically damage the victims as well.
Police brutality creates a distinct barrier between two set of people. On one hand you
have a society deprived of rights as they continue to be racially oppressed, and on the other hand
you have an abuse of power, a power swore to protect the very same victims it affects. In Los

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Angeles the constant militarized tactics by law enforcement continue to be evident. In most cases
these wrongful acts occurred because of racial profiling. Racial profiling is known as the use of
race or ethnicity as grounds for suspecting someone of having committed an offense. This issue
of militarized tactics is important due to the fact that such police brutality still happens today.
The constant abuse of power from police uproars communities to respond to such aggressions.
Communities all around Los Angeles are taking a stand to those in higher power. Police brutality
dates back to before the famous beating of Rodney King. In the book, Twilight; Los Angeles
1992, the acts of police brutality in effect to racial profiling were vividly described through a
society enraged by such acts that marginalized their own communities from their very own
rights. In the case of Allen Cooper, an ex-gang member as described in the book, states his
outrage towards militarized police tactics or police brutality as most of the community knows it
as. its been twenty, thirty years, and people suffered beatings from law enforcement. It [isnt
anything] new. It was just brought to the light this time (pg.100). As the community expresses
their outrage in violence, it only seems that the case of Rodney King was the last offence in
which minorities would continue to allow law enforcement to use police brutality through means
of racial profiling.
As police tactics continue to be judged today, the constant police abuse does not seem to
stop. Minorities at most continue to be targeted by law enforcement, a target placed upon by the
simple color of their skin. In the article At Issue by the CQ Researcher, Dennis Parker states
that African-Americans and Latinoswere far more likely than whites to be stopped by
police when there was no reasonable suspicion of criminal activity Furthermore, the tactics
law enforcement apply towards race and ethnicities rather than actions continues to be wrong. In
the newspaper by Los Angeles Times, the article, Racial Profiling in LA, states that 76% of

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blacks are more likely to be searched than stopped whites. As racial profiling continues to be a
problem in Los Angeles, such police tactics create a sense of fear between the community and
the ones who carry a badge.
As violence then turns to fear, the security once felt from those in power is nothing more
than fear, a fear that becomes a negative title in those who carry such power. Fear tactics are also
seen in law enforcement. Whether it be the simple color of their uniform or a deadly weapon
holstered to their waist, the fear is present and the community seems affected. As stated in the
article, The Psychological influence of the Police Uniform by the website Police Online, a
police uniform can have an effect on the perceived authority, power, and ability to control.
Apart from intimidation through their attire, law enforcement also uses fear in brutality to
achieve their intimidation.
In the book Always Running, by Luis J. Rodriguez, the character Rodriguez states his
own personal encounter with law enforcement in his time in Los Angeles. Another proceeded
to harass us. Tough guys eh? [Going] to take us on. You dont look so tough now. (pg. 66) As
Rodriguez and his friends were harassed to cause fear, the police officers excessively abused
their tactics of power. In most cases law enforcement also abuses their power to try and find
something worth incriminating for. In the city of Los Angeles something small as matching the
description of another suspect can be enough for authorities to pull you over. In the case of
Rodriguez and his friends, the law enforcement abused their power only to express just how
greater they truly are. They were getting us to do something stupid in anger an excuse to knock
us around Alright now we got some feloniesthey had something good to book us for.
(pg. 67)

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As minorities are affected more and more by law enforcement, a visible sign of fear is
present. A numerous amount of innocent deaths due to law enforcement make the community
fear those in power. With the innocent deaths of Trayvon Martin and Eric Gardner, which
sparked high controversy, it is clear to see why many people fear law enforcement. In Los
Angeles the killing of an innocent homeless man sparked controversy adding on to the innocent
deaths of Martin and Gardner. It is clear to see that police tactics continue to be abused and they
dont seem to stop.
Although law enforcements show a clear abuse of power, there are some people who
oppose to the idea that law enforcement abuse their power. Apart from that many believe that
racial profiling does not exist. As stated by Heather Mac Donald in the At Issue journal,
police presence will be much higher in gang-infested neighborhoods, and officerswill try to
disrupt gang activity with all availabletools, including the stopping and questioning of
individuals suspected of criminal activity. To Mac Donald the idea that racial profiling does not
exist, instead she believes that police tactics are fair and they occur as a result to the violence
communities face with gang activity.
Apart from racial profiling, others believe that police departments are not becoming
dangerously militarized. Charles Heal, a retired commander of the Special Enforcement Bureau,
stated in the At Issue journal, The use of SWAT teams to serve high-risk warrants is not
based on race, culture, or type of crime but rather criminal behaviors. Heal believes that the use
of high excessive force is needed to attack war on criminal activity. As people oppose the
intimidating looks that the law enforcement represent, Heal also states, Complaining that
[equipment] are too militaristic in appearance is like complaining a welders helmet is ugly. All
workers are entitled to the tools and protective gear needed for the hazardous they confront.

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Although many oppose the ways in which law enforcement represent themselves, others like
Heal himself, believe that such militaristic equipment are needed, especially if it involves a
hazardous job confronting danger.
Nonetheless, the barrier between a society, such as the society of Los Angeles, and the
law enforcement, who many believe abuse their power, is evident. Regardless of what crime
occurs in the community, it is not justifiable to beat if not kill anyone especially if its by means
of abuse of power. As gangs roam the streets of Los Angeles and malicious activity takes place,
the countless victims affected by police brutality are still occurring. Although many oppose and
agree, abuse of power is not right. The idea of a badge signifying power over another human
being is absurd. What is even more absurd is using race and ethnicity to have enough evidence
to stop members of the minorities.
Yet despite being targets, the minorities affected by constant abuse of police tactics
continue to cry their voices for justice. Equality is wanted among all, as people take the streets
protesting for justice, others simply grow fear towards those who swore to protect them.
Violence and upheaval towards this issue are currently happening in various places besides Los
Angeles. The riots in Ferguson Missouri are identical flashbacks of the violent events that
occurred in the Los Angeles Riots. As communities become more and more marginalized from
their rights, law enforcement use their power to do as they please and justice is never served.
Through violence and protests, many of the inhabitants of communities abused by police tactics,
including Los Angeles, fight for equality.
Although the reasons in which they are protesting for are right, change will not occur if
violence is used as a method to try and stop this unjust treatment. Police tactics are getting out of
hand, every day more and more militarized. In Los Angeles alone, police tactics are becoming

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more and more violent. An example of such tactics is the wrongful killing of an innocent
homeless man. Yet despite two distinct sides debating on this issue of police tactics, the only
way in which the people will truly be heard is by spreading their message in the ways Martin
Luther King Jr and Gandhi did, through peace. As stated by Tom Bradley, former mayor of the
city of Los Angeles, to make changes and to make progress, let us not kill that effort by
reacting in violence. Speak your heart, say what you feel. (pg. 86) The only way change will
occur is by the voice of thousands of people fighting for the same thing, equal justice.

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Work Cited

Rodriguez, Luis J. Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A. Willimantic, CT:
Curbstone, 1993. Print.
Smith, Anna Deavere. Twilight--Los Angeles, 1992. New York, NY: Dramatists Play Service,
2003. Print.
"Racial Profiling in LA." Los Angeles Times [Los Angeles] n.d.: n. pag. Print.
"The Psychological Influence of the Police Uniform." Police Online. N.p., n.d. Web.
"...Racial Profiling a Serious Problem in the United States." At Issue (2013): n. pag. Web.
"Are U.S. Police Departments Becoming Dangerously Malitarized?" CQ Researcher. N.p., 13
Dec. 2014. Web.