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Researching and Analysis of Police Abuse

Although the police must protect the citizens’ rights, officers periodically appear among those who violate them. This phenomenon is known as the “color of law,” which metaphor means using the power to serve justice as a shield for misdeeds (The United States Department of Justice, 2021). The analysis of several high-profile cases of police abuse allows assuming that there would not have been fatal outcomes if the officers had respected the basic rights of their victims.

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Presumably, one of the main reasons why law enforcers become offenders is the so-called clearance rates. Simply stated, the police need to arrest at least one suspect in each reported case to not spoil their crime solution efficiency (Chapter 6, 2020). A bright example is the case of Antone Austin, whose arrest in May 2019 was baseless, as he is black, while the actual suspect was white (Winton, 2021). In this story, the police apparently regarded an unresolved case as a less serious problem than arresting a person for no reason.

Another possible source of police abuse is burnout, which can make them use force rather than try to resolve the situation. This term describes stress-related exhaustion at both physical and emotional levels (Chapter 6, 2020). Simply stated, an officer may lack motivation and/or energy to pursue and question the suspect. That, for instance, may have happened to Timothy Loehmann, who shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice (The Associated Press, 2021). The latter had a pellet gun, while the police arrived on the call from a man who had reported a person pointing his weapon at people. That was not necessarily Tamir, but the officer decided to fire rather than talk to him first, which had fatal consequences. Another example is the case of Eric Garner, who died from a chokehold by an officer after refusing to be handcuffed (The Associated Press, 2021). Daniel Pantaleo apparently opted for a less energy-consuming decision than pursuing, which may have resulted from burnout.

To summarize, two main factors may encourage the police to abuse the law as well as human rights. The first is the need to maintain appropriate clearance rates, due to which the officers may arrest those who are not actual suspects. In addition, burnout frequently discourages them from long and exhausting operations in favor of shooting or other force methods requiring less energy.

References

Chapter 6: Victims and the police: 6-4b key terms defined in the glossary. (2020). In Crime victims: An introduction to victimology. Cengage Learning.

The Associated Press. (2021). A look at high-profile cases over killings by US police. ABC News. Web.

The United States Department of Justice. (2021). Deprivation of rights under color of law. Web.

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Winton, R. (2021). LAPD video shows a Black man arrested at his home during a search for the white suspect. Los Angeles Times. Web.

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