Abusing The Force Essay

1240 words - 5 pages

Abusing the Force

The fundamental purposes of law enforcement is the serve and protect the individuals of society. Rough treatment is often times afflicted upon unruly citizens as an alternative reform of discipline. Police abuse remains one of the most serious and divisive human rights violations of today. The secrecy, stress, and dangers of police work leads to an insular and close-knit occupational culture that results in a strong distinction between members of the police and society. An in-depth investigation on police brutalization and its causes of corrupting within the 1991 beating of Rodney King is evaluated by means of the credibility within the rights of citizens in Canada and the United States, the effects from prejudice affliction, and the societal disparagement on morals of the cultures in policing.

Corruption is both a result and cause of the separation of the police from society. The isolation of the police can lead to a divergence of the values of law enforcement officials from those that the rest of society professes to uphold (McAlary, 1997). The early morning of March 3, 1991 illustrates the horrific crime in Los Angeles, California. Several California Highway Patrol cruisers chase Rodney King, a robbery parolee, speeding over 110 miles per hour down the Los Angeles strip. King, an African American, is eventually forced to stop after running through several red lights at intersections. As the other two passengers of the car complies with police requests to exit the car and are subdued with minor resistance, King refuses to exit the car, thus a beating is administered by three Caucasian officers at the order of their sergeant who is on the scene. He is subsequently stricken over 56 times by wielding PR 24 metal batons, kicked at least 6 times, and shot twice with a Taser electronic stun gun, holding over 50,000 volts of electricity per shot (Lepour, 1991). Additionally, twenty-three other officers stand watching on the scene in which none made effort or suggestion to stop the crude combat. Consequently, King suffers extensive injuries including skull fractures, broken bones, and nerve damage to his face and body. Meanwhile, George Holiday, one of the several civilian by-standees awaken by noises of the police helicopter and sirens, videotapes the initial beating from his nearby apartment. Twelve days later, the three police officers involved in the beating, as well as their sergeant, is charged with assault by force likely to produce great bodily injury and a deadly weapon (Staten, 1992), along with several other charges. All are indicted by a grand jury.

Fundamentally, under the United States Constitution section 242, the officers violates the federal constitutional rights of Rodney King by wilfully using unreasonable force against him in arresting him (Staten, 1992). Likewise, King’s rights are violated by the sergeant who wilfully permits the three other officers to unlawfully assault him, therefore depriving him...

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