On July 4, 2014, there was news in both mass and social media about a California High Patrol Officer who attacked and viciously beat a Black woman for apparently crossing the road at a wrong location. The force used by the officer on an unarmed officer demonstrates racial intolerance that is still witnessed not only in the United States but also in other parts of the world. Cable News Network (CNN) is one of the media stations that reported this assault that many considered to be instigated by the racial intolerance that has been witnessed in the country over the past years.
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Legal and Moral Issues at Stake in the Case
Legally, what the police did was wrong and can be challenged in a court of law. As a law enforcer, the officer was supposed to arrest the woman. The video recording on the attack shows that the officer could arrest the unarmed woman and take her to court as required by the law. Instead of doing this, he took the law into his hand and viciously attacked the woman, taking over the role of the prosecutor, the judge, and the executioner. Morally, what the officer did was immoral and an act of cowardice. For a man expected to protect the citizens to attack a helpless woman with blows is a sign of intolerance in society.
The stakeholders, in this case, are the highway patrol officer who attacked the Black woman, the woman who was attacked, the family of the woman, and the state who has employed the officer. The officer has a case to answer as an individual for his criminal acts. He was expected to offer protection to the public but turned out to be a threat to the people he should be working for in this country.
The state has may have a case to answer for failure to restrain its officers from attacking helpless people (Siapera 54). If it is determined that the officer had some mental problems, then the state will still be answerable for failing to detect that one of its employees has a mental problem that makes him a threat to the security of the citizens. The woman and her family demand justice for the physical and psychological torture from the ordeal. This family expects to see the officer put behind bars for his criminal acts, and the government may need to make financial compensation to the victim.
Legally and Morally Relevant Facts
From this case, it is important to understand some of the legal and moral facts that are evident in this case. The highway officer could arrest the woman without using any force. This was evident because the woman never attempted to fight the officer. However, upon reaching her, the officer deliberately refused to make a peaceful arrest. Another legal fact was that the officer pinned the woman down and started punching her for no apparent reason.
This was not necessary from the legal perspective. Another fact was that the amount of force used by the officer was beyond what the law permits when arresting in cases where the suspect is not armed. The law says that the officer should use minimal possible force (Frachon 75). However, the officer used excessive force, showing strong hatred towards the woman, especially because of her race. Morally, the officer was wrong to pin down the woman, sit on her belly, and start punching her. This caused a lot of psychological torture on a woman who expected protection from the law enforcer. The fact that the officer attacked a woman who was harmless to him is another moral fact that demonstrates the ill intentions of the officer.
Possible Causes of Action Available
There were other possible causes of action that were available for the officer in this incident. It was proven beyond doubt that the officer could arrest the woman without using any excessive force. The officer was fast enough and this means that the woman could not escape. After catching up with her, the officer should have identified himself, informed her of her mistakes, and made a peaceful arrest. In case the woman refused the arrest, the officer should have used minimal possible force on the unarmed officer to ensure that she is handcuffed and then escorted her to the post. The blows from the officer were not necessary.
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This way, the arrest would not have raised the amount of controversy that many viewed to mean rising cases of racial intolerance. Another possible cause of action that the officer would have done was to call for a back-up from other officers who were close in case he considered the woman to be hostile. Given the fact that the woman was not armed, he would have handcuffed her and call for the police van to take her to the police station where he would have filed charges against her.
Predictable Effect of the Action
The action of the officer had some predictable effects that may not help in the fight to achieve cohesion in this country. One of the main effects of this attack was that racial intolerance in this country was heightened. All the Blacks in this country felt victimized. They felt that the officer attacked the woman in that manner simply because she was black. The positive gains that the country has made towards fighting racial intolerance were lost on that day as the society was shocked by the brutality of the officer (Bennett 21). This act also affected the gains that have been made towards empowering women.
The United States is one of the leading democracies in the world, and it is widely believed that the rights of women are held in high regard in this country (Freedman 28). However, the actions of the officer portrayed the opposite scenario. This officer’s actions demonstrated that women in this society are still inferior to men because men are physically stronger.
Set of Possible Better Outcomes
Based on the actions of the highway patrol officer, there were no better possible outcomes because the act was outrageous. The officer was supposed to arrest the woman with dignity and respect. However, he decided to use excessive force, disregarding all the rights of the woman as a citizen of this country and a woman. The society who watched the events that took place read malice and racial intolerance. The outcome would have been better if the society would have just read malice other than racial intolerance. It would not have turned into an interracial conflict.
Bennett, Tony. Differing Diversities: Transversal Study on the Theme of Cultural Policy and Cultural Diversity. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publ, 2001. Print.
Frachon, Claire. Media and Cultural Diversity: In Europe and North America. Paris: Institut Panos, 2009. Print.
Freedman, Des. The Politics of Media Policy. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2008. Print.
Siapera, Eugenia. Cultural Diversity and Global Media: The Mediation of Difference. Chichester, West Sussex, U.K: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. Print.