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Police Misconduct in Criminal Justice


The United States government has primarily invested in the criminal justice system to improve security in the country. However, various issues have been experienced in law enforcement, leading to multiple controversial discussions. One of the significant issues that have led to heated debates in America is the increased number of police misconduct cases. Many authorities have violated policies whereby they have assaulted, discriminated against some individuals, and used excessive force during their policing activities. Additionally, police misconduct has led to many deaths of innocent civilians. Law enforcement ethics are also significant as they guide criminal justice professionals during their operations. Many Americans have argued that authorities have trivialized the aspect of fairness and equity during policing. For instance, racial discrimination is one of the major issues that have been experienced in many states. Therefore, police misconduct is one of the issues involved in criminal justice, and there are various aspects and events entailing unconstitutional practices in law enforcement.

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Civil Rights and Police Brutality

Many people in different areas have experienced police brutality, which involves the illegal use of police force against civilians. Although authorities experience challenges when arresting violent suspects, they should focus on civil rights and ensure that they do not violate these acts. People should also be treated equally regardless of differences such as race, gender, origin, and disability. Thus, police brutality violates these rights, and authorities should be penalized for their unlawful acts. Assault, torture, and murder are the major forms of police brutality in the United States.

Murder is one of the issues that many people have reported during policing activities. The criminal justice system has focused on limiting murders executed by authorities via introducing policies. However, states are still recording police killings incidents (Graham et al., 2020). Protests have also been encountered in many regions due to the loss of lives caused by unlawful acts by officers. Law enforcers have been encouraged to use tear gas and rubber bullets when handling some situations such as demonstrations. Nonetheless, many people have been shot by live bullets, and others die after being hit with objects by officers. Thus, the criminal system should ensure that it develops ways of preventing such misconduct.

Torture is another common aspect of policing that many people have experienced. Authorities have been encouraged to use ethical ways when interrogating suspects. However, many innocent civilians have been anguished by officials, whereby some developed health complications (Graham et al., 2020). The criminal system ensures that authorities learn various ways of handling suspects during their police academy training (Wood, Tyler, & Papachristos, 2020). Officers have trained in the various friendly ways that they can exercise to acquire information from suspects and offenders. Nonetheless, torture is still experienced in policing despite the officers being educated about its dangers (Blumberg, Papazoglou, & Creighton, 2020). Civilians have also sued officers who have violated their rights by tormenting them during interrogation and other policing activities such as stop and frisk and arrest. Thus, torture is a significant issue exercised by some authorities.

Racial Discrimination in Policing

Racism has become a significant issue in the United States, impacting how people interact in the community. Moreover, the debate over ways to end racial-based discrimination has been experienced in the United States for decades. The criminal justice system has also ensured that officers are educated on how to avoid partiality. Nonetheless, cases of racism in policing are being experienced in many states. Equality has been encouraged to ensure that all individuals are valued irrespective of their race, origin, or background (Von-Essen & Hansen, 2018). Cases of Black Americans who have been discriminated against by police have been recorded in many regions. Latinos have also argued that they have higher chances of being racially abused by authorities than whites. Whites have also been discriminated against by some authorities in policing. Thus, bias in policing does not necessarily involve blacks and Latinos but people from various races. Protests have also been experienced due to police misconduct involving racial prejudice. For instance, the recent issue that led to demonstrations in the United States is George Floyd’s case.

The Case of George Floyd and how it Relates to Racial Discrimination and Police Misconduct

Black Lives Matter protests have created awareness about excessive force and racial discrimination in policing. Many demonstrations were experienced in the United States, whereby individuals expressed their mistrust of the criminal justice system (Tjihenuna, 2021). Moreover, individuals argued that they had been discriminated against by police in many regions. Many victims have not reported police misconduct cases due to the fear of being assaulted by authorities. However, these protests have revealed that forces transgression is an issue that should be addressed. Arguably, most cases are not reported by civilians since many people believe that authorities can tamper with evidence and partial judgment can be exercised (Albanese, Artello, & Nguyen, 2019). Floyd’s case shows that the officers were accountable for their misconduct. Therefore, authorities can be responsible for any actions that violate the rules and regulations legislated by the government.

Floyd, who died on 25th May 2020 after being assaulted by the authorities, was recorded begging them not to shoot him and claiming that he was experiencing breathing difficulties. However, the officers did not adhere to his pledges, which led to his advanced health complications and death (Tjihenuna, 2021). Many people learned from the protests about the different challenges civilians encounter when engaging with police. Four officers were involved in the incident, Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane (Hill et al., 2021). Police misconduct was used as a factor that led to the three officer’s charges, which shows that people should report any case involving unlawful acts by the authorities. Racial-based discrimination has also been termed as one of the aspects that led the officers to use excessive force on Floyd as he was a Black American. Therefore, the event has been used by many people as an example of poor practices by officials in the criminal justice system.

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How Law Enforcement Ethics and Training Can be Used to Limit Police Misconduct

Ethics in policing is one of the approaches that have been introduced to limit place misconduct. Criminal justice practitioners face various ethical issues when enforcing laws. For instance, hostility toward a particular group and decisions based on bias has been termed ethical considerations in policies. In this case, some individuals may have a negative attitude towards some people or cultures. Excessive use of force and corruption are major ethical issues that have been discussed mainly in criminal justice (Albanese et al., 2019). Therefore, ensuring that authorities know these aspects in law enforcement prevents police misconduct such as racial discrimination, assault, and brutality during activities such as frisking. Ethical dilemmas are also experienced by many officers, whereby situations may involve justice and mercy. In this case, some offenders engage in unlawful acts due to their challenges in society. For example, an individual can rob due to a lack of food or acquire funds to purchase medications. Therefore, officers are encouraged to focus on critical thinking when dealing with such issues.

Training is also another approach that has been used to ensure that police misconduct is limited. The criminal justice system has developed various programs to ensure that officers can engage in policing activities without violating laws (Wood et al., 2020). Educating the police has also been encouraged since they learn the importance of interacting with criminals without violating their rights. Consequently, informing authorities about ethics in law enforcement and training them has been of great significance in policing. Although law enforcement can be challenging, the mastery of ethical considerations and training authorities have been encouraged in the criminal justice system to ensure that authorities do not engage in illegal acts.


To conclude, police misconduct is a significant issue that has been experienced in many states. For instance, assault and racial discrimination have been reported in many countries. Individuals have lost their lives due to poor policing activities in America. For example, Floyd’s case shows that police misconduct in the United States is a significant challenge in America’s criminal justice system. Thus, practices such as educating officers about law enforcement ethics should guide officers in their practices. Moreover, authorities can learn about Civil rights to guarantee that they do not engage in misconduct such as murder, brutality, assault, and prejudice. Training should also be practiced to ensure that police have adequate skills to conduct various policing activities without violating laws. Thus, police misconduct is one of the major issues being experienced in criminal justice, which should be curbed by all means possible.


Albanese, J. S., Artello, K., & Nguyen, L. T. (2019). Distinguishing corruption in law and practice: Empirically separating conviction charges from underlying behaviors. Public Integrity, 21(1), 22-37. Web.

Blumberg, D. M., Papazoglou, K., & Creighton, S. (2020). The moral risks of policing. In K. Papazoglou & D. M. Blumberg (Eds.), Power (pp. 49-75). Academic Press.

Graham, A., Haner, M., Sloan, M. M., Cullen, F. T., Kulig, T. C., & Jonson, C. L. (2020). Race and worrying about police brutality: The hidden injuries of minority status in America. Victims & Offenders, 15(5), 549-573. Web.

Hill, E., Tiefenthäler, A., Triebert, C., Jordan, D., Willis, H., & Stein, R. (2021). How George Floyd was killed in police custody. The New York Times. Web.

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Tjihenuna, G. U. (2021). Casting the George Floyd story in a broader context. The Thinker, 86(1). Web.

Von-Essen, E., & Hansen, H. (2018). Policing peers and selves between law and morality: A socio-legal perspective on managing misconduct in hunting. International Journal of Rural Criminology, 4(1), 1-26. Web.

Wood, G., Tyler, T. R., & Papachristos, A. V. (2020). Procedural justice training reduces police use of force and complaints against officers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(18), 9815-9821. Web.

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