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Police Brutality: Reasons and Countermeasures


Police brutality continues to be one of the most severe human rights desecrations on the territory of the United States. For the past several years, the police have performed in such methods that many citizens began to think whether the officers of the law are actually staying on the premises of their rights while performing their job.

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Unfounded gunfire, severe fights, lethal choking, and uneven actions appear to be the main factors that have backed the omnipresent issue of police brutality in the United States. The point of the problem is that most of these occurrences remain to be unstated, uncertified, or unperceived. By means of the research, I strive to identify the reasons for police brutality and the course of actions that conceivably could be done in order to finish it.


The grade of strength that police officers are able to apply is deeply prejudiced by police discretion in practical circumstances rather than adopted to a particular outline. Freedom of choice could be categorized into four diverse groups where commissioners, the member of the society, and the separate police officer apply various grades of stimulus in the implementing of their choice.

What is required to assist the officer decision is a dominant moral belief, which will escort and control the hard decision when all other guidelines are not able to provide help. Furthermore, the police officers are granted with a noteworthy expanse of freedom of choice merely because of the essence of their work.

Officers are encountered with a lot of menacing circumstances, which are compelling them to respond rapidly and appropriately. They possess the authority to trespass upon any resident’s privileges to liberty, and for that reason, they are obliged to apply this power efficiently.

One primary issue with the amount of carefulness that officers have is their authority to choose when to apply power or when to apply lethal strength. Several researchers debate that it is usually established that police should be permitted to apply force. Moreover, they also clarify that there is doubt among the populace as to what institutes unnecessary application of power.

The gap between what considers being essential and what is life-threatening is rather broad. Police brutality is, without any doubt, one significant issue in controlling the rates of crime; the police officers often apply their power unreasonably and with the racial background.

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Police violence and subterfuge are the phenomena that unite the cases of Joy Gardner, who died in custody in 1993 and those of young Mike Brown or Eric Garner, who both died in2014 (Erfani-Ghettani 102; Miah 2-3). Both Gardner and Garner died of suffocation because of the police and the overuse of force. Brown was shot, and so was Oliver Grant, who died in 2009 (Miah 2-3; Taylor, 189).

All of them considered cases of police brutality, as their de deaths were all in peculiar circumstances. The fact that all these people were black, unarmed, and at the mercy of police caused the accusations in power abuse and discrimination. In every case, the blame was moved between the people and the police. In the case of Brown, sixteen witnesses testified that the man had lifted his arms in surrender, but he was still shot by the policeman(Miah 2).

In the case of Gardner, the police attempted to prove that the cause of death was a head trauma, which resulted from the behavior of the “most violent woman” (Erfani-Ghettani 108). The concept of reverse racism has typically raised the defense of the policemen; it is also implied that the killed people do not deserve justice, and they are demonized (Erfani-Ghettani 108-109).

Despite these efforts, police violence inevitably causes a negative public reaction that tends to result in the discrediting of the institution and also generalizes all policemen (Miah 2-3; Taylor 191-192; Durr 873).

The issue provokes public discussions and conversations that involve academic circles as well. The mentioned cases have become a rather popular topic for discussion, while other situations are also used to demonstrate the problem. In this paper, I am doing to analyze the scholarly articles are in order to find the concepts and aspects of the problem that are typically discussed and used to explain the characteristics of the popular conversation.

This knowledge will be obtained by observing the theoretical context of the problem, namely, the reasons, the mechanisms, and consequences of the phenomenon of police brutality. After a close evaluation of the factors mentioned above, the popular conversation analysis around the cases of racial discrimination will be provided.

Theoretical Context

Police violence is being discussed by the wide public and academic societies (Durr 873). While the reasons for the phenomenon can only be suggested, its mechanisms and consequences are visible. The article of Taylor is meant mostly for anthropologists, and it uses the case of police violence (the death of Oscar Grant in 2009) to test the idea of the discourse of “necropolitics” (189).

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The term is used to define a defense mechanism that people use against governmental abuse, and that incorporates the “spectacles” of death and punishment, the term “spectacle” presupposing that the public wants to see this (Taylor 187-193). Taylor shows the anatomy of public reaction and emphasizes the political function of the “spectacles.”

Critical race theory aided as the academic substance for various researches. Critical race theory retrieves the implementation in the existing subject as it comes from a wide range of literature that spreads to the field of the commandment and could be protracted to the field of police cruelty in the future.

Evans and Feagin dwell on the consequences of police violence for the discriminated. The authors demonstrate the costs that the people have to experience when the state institutions, which are supposed to protect them, abuse power (Evans and Feagin 890-894).

This is the direct result of police violence but not the only consequence of the problem. The idea that police corruption and violence take away the confidence of the public in the police is demonstrated by the study of Tankebe, who has carried out a survey in Accra, Ghana.

The results of police discrediting can also be harmful, especially in case it develops into a stereotype. Knowing that the police tend to mistreat people of color, the latter lose faith in the institution and refuse to cooperate regardless of the situation (Durr 877). As a result, another stereotype can arise: that black people are more prone to crime and are incapable of cooperating or maintaining order (Durr 873).

Joy Gardner’s case is the one that is used by Erfani-Ghettani to demonstrate how the mass media seems to be sharing and maintaining these stereotypes (108-109). In the case of Mike Brown, the prosecution used the words of the police officer who had killed Brown to describe him as demon-like, hulking, and aggressive, which prompted the officer to shoot him six times (Miah 2-3).

The two stereotypes, according to Durr, could be the reason for police discrimination. The author points out that it should be taken into account by policy-makers, and as the situation usually requires rectifying (877-878). Durr also recalls that the origins of the US police are connected to slave patrols and shows how these double prejudices keep police from performing its duties when black people are concerned (873-877).

Similarly, Erfani-Ghettani points out that nothing has changed in the ten years that followed the Gardner case. The author demonstrates how the deaths of Mikey Powell (2003) and Jean Charles (2005) went unpunished, and it is expected that the murder of Mark Duggan (2011) to be treated in a similar way.

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Evans and Feagin also demonstrate that police malpractice is still a common occurrence that includes violence and harassment. Still, the authors also emphasize the fact of resistance to the state. The black community started to fight this problem since the 1940s and proceeds to do so with more and more white participation and help in the struggle the African-American community is facing (890).

There is a need for developing a new streak of academic examination into the field of police towards against African American males and females, the discernments of African American males and females by the general mass media and regulations implementation, and insights of law application by social affiliates by means of narrative material.

The popular conversation revolving around the cases of racial discrimination and police violence appears to be directed at every aspect of the problem. The public appears to be especially concerned about the fact that nothing seems to be changing. It can be demonstrated by the cases of Gardner and Brown: one took place in 1993, the other in 2014.

In both cases, the killed ones were demonized, and the police refused to admit abusing power. The work of Durr that is aimed at policy-makers reflects the opinion that the problem can and should be rectified by the government. At the same time, Erfani-Ghettani and Evans and Feagin express a rather negative and pessimistic opinion, according to which the situation is not improving.

Tankebe demonstrates that the problem exists all over the world, and takes a neutral position as well as Taylor, who acts primarily as a researcher of human reaction to government abuse. It is also worth mentioning that most of the authors fail to suppress their emotions and have clear sides in their papers.

These are scholarly works published in scholarly journals, and still, these articles are relatively emotional and obviously politically-motivated. This corresponds to Taylor’s classification of “spectacles” given the fact that police malpractice is perceived as the abuse of the citizens by the government, public reaction is also politicized and can be described as a defense mechanism.

The general conversation about this topic in popular sources, regarding the deaths of Eric Garner Mike Brown and all the others, is the one of condemning the police. Such a view as they are perceived as the root of all their pain. This is amplified when influential people give their opinions about the topic, and more people start to weigh in the general thinking of the public.

When African-American athletes started to protest the police, this caused many more people to get behind the protest and brought awareness to the movement. Another predominant feeling towards this topic from the African-American community is the one of resentment, as they see that no justice is really being done for the deaths of their loved ones. This is the case in most of the cases, as the police officer that killed the person ended up with no jail time, and some even still had his job in the police.

The article ‘Racism and police brutality in America’ by Cassandra Chaney inspected results delivered by the National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project (NPMSRP) in order to determine whether any deviations have happened in the country’s police divisions more than twenty years after the case of Rodney King.

Moreover, a supplementary objective of this research was to evaluate how the community commonly identifies police officers and how race and racism form this address. On the whole, mortalities caused by the hands of the police officers are more often occurring than those caused by the general community.

Grounded theory examination of the information exposed characters observe the associates of law enforcement in the subsequent habits: “(a) Contempt for Law Enforcement; (b) Suspicion of Law Enforcement; (c) Law Enforcement as Agents of Brutality; and (d) Respect for Law Enforcement” (Chaney & Robertson, 2013, p. 480).

The article contributes to an escalating extent of scholarly examination, which has discovered the concepts and notions concerning law enforcement by means of dedicating consideration to the statistics along with what unidentified males and females say about those numbers and their general opinions.

From the time when the police cruelty applied in the case of Rodney King and other less well-known African American males and females in the United States, it has now evolved into a nationwide occurrence; the US Department of Justice needs to be attentive to implementing the law and direction of impartiality for these sufferers (Chaney & Robertson, 2013).

Furthermore, the author claims that she is not aware of other scholarships that have combined conclusions from the National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project (NPMSRP) as it recounts to police cruelty in the United States after the premature demise of an epochal character in cases where it originates in the chauvinistic nature against African American males and females, along with the National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project chronicle documents to capture the magnitude and construction of imposts of regulation implementation.

An advantage of research of this essence is that it allows the academics to observe the true feelings and opinions of the defendants regarding law application that are problematic to pull out while applying qualitative conversations or quantitative examinations.

As criticized by Cenk Uygur, another moment that added to the mistrust the African American community have toward police, was the Dylann Roof case. In which a white man came into a church shooting in the middle of the day and killed nine African-American grandparents. Naturally, he was detained and arrested, but on his way to jail, he claimed he was hungry, so the police officer stopped by Burger King and bought him food.

This one is own is not right, but the fact that the African American person, Eric Garner, was choked to death for selling untaxed cigarettes in comparison to Dylann, who killed nine people and got food when hungry proves the unrelenting racism in the police force (Uygur).

The reaction of mass media, as has been shown, can be accused of bias. Still, it is bound to shape the opinion of the public at least partially. The issue is obviously ethically controversial, while it is unethical to claim that a person does not deserve justice, the media gives a hint that the people deserved it, as shown by Erfani-Ghettani (108-109).

The proofs of the policemen’s fault are emphasized by the authors as well as the fact that they are either disregarded or denied by the police and some by the court as well (Erfani-Ghettani 108; Miah 2-3). It can be concluded that not the fact of police violence as such is what ignites the public, but the fact that no justice seems to be helpful for the death of their people.

The cases of Eric Garner, Joy Gardner, Mike Brown, and Oliver Grant all serve as a testimony to this issue that can be described as misconduct by the police, and that serves to discredit the institution in the eyes of the public. Another aspect imperative to the public opinion that media helped form is when the NYPD gave Eric Garner’s wife 5.9 million in exchange for the life of her husband, in a way buying her need of justice.

Many people in the African-American community see this as something unethical, as what should really take place is justice, not only money being handed out to the wife of the dead person. As a result, all the authors either oppose the police or go away from the situation, not commenting on the actions of the officials.

The idea of police malpractice tends to form corresponding stereotypes among the discriminated, and this problem concerns academics as well. Durr demonstrates how it serves to decrease the number of people willing to cooperate with the police, which, in turn, can result in a violent reaction from the police (877-878). The author does not attempt to justify the said violent reactions. Still, Durr points out that the causes of the issue should be avoided, and the stereotypes appear to be among these causes.

To sum up, the popular conversation concerning police violence revolves around various aspects of the problem, and the question of the future development of the issue is discussed with special interest, even when the contradictory is expected.

Many of the African-American community chastise the acts of the police and are deeply offended that nothing has changed over the years. The rest of the community, in general, most likely was swayed by the media and their role in portraying these characters that, in a way, deserve what they got.


(2015).Dylann Roof’s Burger King Meal Proves A Devastating Point [Television broadcast]. In The Young Turks. Cenk Uygur.

Chaney, C., & Robertson, R. (2013). Racism and police brutality in America. Journal of African American Studies, 480-505.

Durr, M. (2015). What is the Difference between Slave Patrols and Modern Day Policing?

Erfani-Ghettani, R. (2014). The defamation of Joy Gardner: press, police and black deaths in custody. Race & Class, 56(3), 102-112. 

Evans, L., & Feagin, J. (2015). The Costs of Policing Violence: Foregrounding Cognitive and Emotional Labor. Critical Sociology, 41(6), 887-895. 

Institutional Violence in a Community of Color. Critical Sociology, 41(6), 873-879. 

Miah, Malik. “The Racial Underbelly of U.S. Justice: Whose Lives Matter in America?” Against the Current 1 (2015): 2-3. ProQuest. Web.

Tankebe, J. (2010). Public Confidence in the Police: Testing the Effects of Public Experiences of Police Corruption in Ghana. British Journal of Criminology, 50(2), 296-319. 

Taylor, J. (2013). “We Are All Oscar Grant”: Police Brutality, Death, and the Work of Mourning. Transforming Anthropology, 21(2), 187-197. 

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