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Police Brutality

Police Brutality is the use of any force exceeding that which is reasonably necessary to
accomplish a lawful police purpose. Police Brutality all started in 1872, when the Chicago
Tribune reported on the beating of a civilian under arrest at the Harrison Street Police Station.
Several nations around the world have laws which specifically address police brutality. The most
obvious form of brutality is physical, pain holds, nerve gas, batons, pepper spray, and guns.
Police Brutality most often happens to African Americans such as the Freedom Riders the
Greensboro Four or the people who marched with Martin Luther King from Selma to
Montgomery in the 1960s. In the 21st Century it now happens to individuals, such as Trayvon
Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner. The accurate number of people shot and killed by
police officers each year is consistently upwards of 1,000 each year. Former FBI agent, Jim
Fisher compiled a database of every officer-involved shooting, he tracked 1,146 shootings by
police officers, 607 of them fatal shootings. But from a police perspective, law enforcement in
the United States continues to be dangerous work. America has a relatively higher homicide rate
compared to other developed nations, and has many more guns per capita. Citizens seldom learn
of the countless incidents where officers choose to hold fire and display restraint under extreme
stress. Even though some people believe, that police brutality is not harmful or disturbing.
Portions of the population may perceive the police to be oppressors. Police brutality should
not be existent because if you surrendered then the police has no reason for brutality, you
should not get shot for racial profiling, or strangled to death for just trying to breathe.
(Police Violence Has Been Going On Forever. No Wonder People Are Fed Up With It)

On February 26, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed as he walked to a family member's
home from a convenience store. He was only 17 years-old. It was two weeks before the Sanford
Police had refused to arrest George Zimmerman. In public statements, they even stood up for
Zimmerman saying that he was a college graduate that took a classes for criminal justice. George
Zimmerman even admitted that he had shot Martin in the chest. Zimmerman being the
neighborhood watch leader appointed called the police and reported that there was a suspicious
person when he saw a young black man walking from the store. Investigators receive a fax
containing the medical records identifying the injuries sustained by Zimmerman on the night of
the shooting: Open wound of scalp, without mention of complication; nasal bones, closed
fracture; assault by other specified means. On March 12, 2012 Chief Bill Lee reported that
Zimmerman has not been charged because there are no grounds to disprove his story of the
events. A homicide detective recommended that Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter
because Zimmerman failed to identify himself as a concerned citizen or neighborhood watch
member on two occasions that night. On April 12, Zimmerman was charged with second-degree
murder, His lawyer later stated that Zimmerman turned himself in. About a week later
Zimmerman is released on bail at 12:05am. Later that day, Zimmerman enters a written not
guilty plea and waves his right to appear at his arraignment. On June 20, 2013 a woman jury was
selected, the six women jury finds George Zimmerman not guilty. They had three choices, to find
Zimmerman guilty of second-degree murder; to find him guilty of the lesser charge of
manslaughter; or to find him not guilty. This trial was unfair especially to the human race. The
killing of 17 year old Trayvon Martin was a sign of racial profiling.
(Prosecute the Killer of Our Son, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin)

January 1, 2009 in Oakland, California, 22 year old Oscar Grant and a couple of his
friends were snatched off a train by Bay Area Rapid Transit police, not knowing whether or not
the young men were involved in any sort of altercation, just randomly escorted them out of the
train. Grant was murdered in cold blood by the police just two hours into the new year, he was
the loving father of a 4-year-old daughter, and was also considered and known as a peacemaker.
He was only trying to get his friends to calm down and cooperate with the police. The police
officer pushed Grant to the ground. One officer kneeled on his neck while another officer,
Johannes Mehserle, pulled out a gun and shot him in his back. The bullet went through his back,
hit the ground and bounce back up and pierced his lung killing him. The police then ran around
and terrified witnesses by taking away their cell phones and video cameras for evidence, one of
the videos, which was recorded by a witness named Karina Vargas was seen by everyone. This
scene was videotaped and shown worldwide. The 33 year old former BART police officer,
Mehserle, had cried in open court as he explained the shooting of Grant at the Fruitvale Station.
He claimed that he thought that Grant was reaching for a gun, so Mehserle mistakenly pulled
out his service revolver when he wanted to grab a Taser. A criminal court jury convicted
Johannes Mehserle of involuntary manslaughter in 2010 and acquitted him of murder. He was
released in 2011.Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris filed a 25 million death claim against
BART police on behalf of Grant's family. BART police settled with Grant's daughter and mother
for a total of 2.8 million, while the cases of Grant's father and friends are pending. Later in June
24,2014 46-year-old Lanedria Grant, who was fatally shot in East Oakland by an officer as well.
She was the aunt of Oscar Grant.
(What You Need to Know About the Shooting Death of Oscar Grant)

On August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri, the suburbs of St. Louis, Michael Brown, an
18-year-old black man, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, a 28 year old white Ferguson police
officer. Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson, were going to the Ferguson Market and Liquor. A
surveillance video captures a man pushing a clerk before walking out of the store with a box of
cigarillos. Someone gives a description of a suspect over radio. He relays information from a
witness that the suspect is walking toward the QuikTrip A different officer arrives at the store
where the alleged strong-arm robbery occurred. Brown and Johnson are walking in the middle of
the street, heading to Johnson's house, when a Ferguson police officer confronts them. The
officer, Wilson, disrespectfully told them to get on the sidewalk or get off the road, and they told
the officer that they were a minute away from their destination. Johnson says that Wilson drives
away but then puts the car in reverse and backs up rapidly and the car slants, almost hitting him
and Brown. Wilson, still in his car, the officer grabs Brown by his neck, Johnson said. Brown
tries to pull away, but Wilson keeps pulling Brown toward him, Brown very angrily is trying to
pull away from the officer. Wilson draws his weapon telling Brown that he would shoot him,
Brown pushes back telling him not to and Wilson fired, shooting Brown in his chest. Some said
the African American teenager was surrendering, he put his hands in the air to show that he was
unarmed, when the officer opened fire. But Ferguson police totally disagreed and said that
Brown had attacked the officer in his car and tried to take his gun. (What Has Changed About
Police Brutality In America, From Rodney King To Michael Brown)

Though Americans commonly believe law enforcements role in society is to protect


them and ensure peace and stability within the community, the sad reality is that police
departments are often more focused on enforcing laws, making arrests and issuing citations. As a
result of this as well as an increase in militarized policing techniques, Americans are eight times
more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist. The U.S. government doesnt have
any data collecting information about the total number of police involved shootings each year,
its estimated that between 500 and 1,000 Americans are killed by police officers each year.
Since 9/11, about 5,000 Americans have been killed by U.S. police officers, which is almost
equivalent to the number of U.S. soldiers who have been killed in the line of duty in Iraq.
(US Police Have Killed Over 5,000 Civilians Since 9/11)

Even though some people believe, that police brutality is not harmful or disturbing.
Portions of the population may perceive the police to be oppressors. Police brutality should
not be existent because if you surrendered then the police has no reason for brutality, you
should not get shot for racial profiling, or strangled to death for just trying to breathe. Police
brutality has been going on for years, and America is getting angry and are starting to attack
back. Protests were held from coast to coast on a day of action against police violence and racial
profiling. Over the past week, video of police killings of unarmed African Americans in South
Carolina and in Oklahoma has led to charges against the officers who fired the fatal shots. Even
Ramsey Orta, the guy who recorded the video of Eric Garner placed a chokehold has been
released from jail. But they are several reasons why police brutality is still systemic, for one
many departments dont provide adequate training in nonviolent solutions, standards for what
constitutes brutality vary widely, consequences for misconduct are minimal, settlements are
shifted to taxpayers, minorities are unfairly targeted, and police are increasingly militarized.
According to David Mangan, the justice system wants to punish criminals, but the police
structure encourages the use of excessive force. The reason why police brutality occurs is
because the policy for the use of force isnt a clear statement. Officers are trained to use the
minimal amount of force required to achieve a legitimate purpose, but the minimal amount of
force required differs for all officers due to their size, strength, and even their sex. The gray area
in that statement allows some officers to abuse their power which leads citizens getting injured
and even killed. Until that statement is clarified the issue of police brutality will continuously
occur. (Democracy Now! Covers Police Brutality)