It’s Time To Crack Down On Police Brutality

1719 words - 7 pages

It’s Time to Crack Down on Police Brutality

         Police brutality has become a widespread and persistent problem in the United States.  Police brutality occurs when a law enforcement officers use excessive or unlawful force while on or off duty.  "Established: A Pattern of Abuse" is an article in The Humanist, written by Barbara Dority.  She states, "Thousands of individual complaints are reported each year and local authorities pay out millions of dollars to vicitms in damages and lawsuits" (5).  Dority also describes some of the types of abuse that officers have done.  "[They] have beaten and shot unresisting suspects; they have misused batons, chemicals sprays, and electro-shock weapons; [and] they have injured or killed people by placing them in dangerous restraint holds" (5).  There have been many cases throughout the country where police officers have been far too brutal and someone has been injured or killed.  There have been many hundreds of cases like this and many people are wondering when it will end or even if it will end.  Most citizens of the United States agree that it is wrong and needs to be reduced if not eliminated.  So it all comes down to one question: what can be done about it?  Unfortunately, prosecution has not been sufficiently effective in stopping the brutality.  Police forces throughout the U.S. should be made more accountable for their actions. The greatest problem that has developed from police brutality is that the guilty officers are not punished, which leads to another incident of abuse.  Authorities should give more effective punishment to officers who abuse citizens.  Such punishment would help prevent abuse from happening again and again.

         In an anonymous Economist article called "Excessive Force,"  is a story of police brutality.  It was on December 22, 1994.  Anthony Baez was playing touch football with his family in the Bronx.  Their ball hit a police car that was parked on the side of the road and the officer, Francis Livoti, got out of the car and was angry.  He arrested Anthony's younger brother for disorderly conduct and Anthony tried to step in and told the officer to calm down.  Anthony and Officer Livoti must have had a fight because a few moments later Anthony was found dead from suffocation.  He had large bruises on his neck and burst blood vessels around his eyes.  The officer had choked him to death with his hands and there were marks on his neck to show it.  The term officials use to describe the kind of restraint that this officer administrated is the "chokehold," which is illegal.  Mr. Livoti was acquitted of criminally negligent homicide in a judge-only trial in state court in October 1996.  The judge said that he had not found Mr. Livoti innocent, he just considered him not guilty because of lack of evidence.  Later, Federal prosecutors investigated the case.  On June 27th, Mr. Livoti was convicted by a federal grand jury of violating Anthony Baez' civil rights.  He is...

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