The Rise of Police Brutality against African-American Males

Words: 882
Topic: Politics & Government
Updated:

Introduction

The problem of police brutality against minorities is actively discussed in the modern American society because of the public’s attention to each case when police officers demonstrate the excessive use of force.

In most cases, those situations in which victims of police brutality are African-American males attract more public’s attention, and this fact requires its further discussion in relation to the issue of racial profiling (Behnke 13).

Thesis Statement

Although the U.S. commissions authorized to address police brutality against African-American men work to prevent such cases, it is possible to speak about the rise of the problem during recent decades in association with racial profiling, the well-known cases of police misconduct, and the development of actions to cope with the situation.

Racial Profiling as the Reason for the Problem Development

Racial profiling as the practice of discussing and treating persons depending on their race is viewed as the main reason for the conflict between African-American males and police officers.

In contrast to criminal profiling when conclusions are made with reference to the evidence which officers have, racial profiling is based only on assumptions made by officials in relation to persons who belong to the minority group (American Civil Liberties Union 254).

According to Cha-Jua, police brutality in the form of physical and psychological pressure on citizens often becomes a result of racial profiling and the associated racist violence which can have such consequences as the “unjustified shooting, fatal choking, and physical assault by law enforcement officers” (56).

The problem is also in the fact that the majority of assaulted African Americans remain silent, and they do not draw the officials’ attention to this problem because of experiencing racial profiling in many other aspects of their life, as it is stated by Holbert and Rose (The Color of Guilt and Innocence 5).

From this point, the practice of racial profiling can be discussed as rather discriminatory as it is related to violence against Africa-American males, and it can lead police officers to wrong conclusions and unethical decisions or violent actions.

Examples of Police Misconduct and the Public Perception

The public in the United States paid attention to the problem of police officers’ misconduct in relation to African-American males in the 1990s, but in the 2000s, the question of police brutality became even more urgent.

The assault of Rodney King in 1991 was one of the first cases which allowed for speaking about the problem in the American society (Flatow 78).

Abner Louima was assaulted in 1997, and Amadou Diallo was killed in 1999 (Flatow 79; U.S. Commission on Civil Rights 23).

These cases emphasized police brutality, and they drew the attention of the public to the developing problem because of violence demonstrated by officials, and certain actions were taken to address the issue at the level of developing punishment measures for police officers (Skolnick 75).

However, the real attitude of the public to the problem became known only in 2014, when mass riots were organized to demonstrate the necessity of taking actual steps to prevent police brutality against African-American males.

The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, accentuated the fact that the problem was not resolved with the help of policies adopted in the 1990s as the reaction to previous cases (Flatow 79; Whitaker 254).

According to Holbert and Rose, more than 50% of African-American men aged between 18 and 34 years regularly report violence or inappropriate treatment by police officers (“The Specter of Racial Profiling” 225).

Therefore, it is possible to state that episodes of police officers’ violence influence the public perception of their treatment of African-American males, and moreover, they affect these men’s visions of their relations with officials.

Actions to Address the Problem in the U.S. Society

In spite of the fact that effective policies to address police brutality against African-American males and representatives of other minority groups were developed in the 1990s and then revised in the 2000s, a variety of problems related to racial profiling and police violence has not been resolved.

According to Flatow, the increased number of police officers in communities cannot contribute to resolving the issue (78).

In addition, there are no effective policies to prevent officers from using guns in questionable situations (Muwakkil 64).

Therefore, the solution to the problem should include actions oriented not only to limiting the power of officials but also to improving their cultural awareness with the help of cultural training (U.S. Commission on Civil Rights 24).

It is possible to observe positive results only when the solution to the problem of racial profiling and police brutality is complex.

Conclusion

The rise of police violence directed to African-American males is a phenomenon which is discussed by both public and authorities.

The reasons for this problem can be found in the practice of racial profiling that is associated with prejudice against the representatives of minorities in many communities of the country.

C. As a result, the solution to this problem is associated with proposing policy changes and providing the effective training for police officers to learn more about cultural differences in order to avoid racial profiling and other instances of racism.

Works Cited

American Civil Liberties Union. “Racial Profiling Exists.” Racial Profiling, edited by David Erik Nelson, Greenhaven Press, 2009, pp. 254-265.

Behnke, Alison Marie. Racial Profiling: Everyday Inequality. Twenty-First Century Books, 2017.

Cha-Jua, Sundiata Keita. “Racism Is a Factor in Police Violence.” Police Brutality, edited by Sheila Fitzgerald, Greenhaven Press, 2007, pp. 55-63.

Flatow, Nicole. “History Indicates Varied Results in Improving Police Brutality in America.” Police Brutality, edited by Michael Ruth, Greenhaven Press, 2016, pp. 77-85.

Holbert, Steve, and Lisa Rose. The Color of Guilt and Innocence: Racial Profiling and Police Practices in America. Page Marque Press, 2004.

—. “The Specter of Racial Profiling Obstructs Law Enforcement.” Racial Profiling, edited by David Erik Nelson, Greenhaven Press, 2009, pp. 223-231.

Muwakkil, Salim. “Racism Promotes Police Brutality.” Police Brutality, edited by Louise I. Gerdes, Greenhaven Press, 2004, pp. 62-70.

Skolnick, Jerome H. “Police Culture Makes It Difficult to Prosecute Police Brutality.” Police Brutality, edited by Louise I. Gerdes, Greenhaven Press, 2004, pp. 74-85.

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. “Police Brutality Is Widespread.” Police Brutality, edited by Helen Cothran, Greenhaven Press, 2001, pp. 21-29.

Whitaker, Matthew C. Peace Be Still: Modern Black America from World War II to Barack Obama. University of Nebraska Press, 2014.