Police Authority Vs Individual Rights Essay

1117 words - 4 pages

It is easy for police to get caught up in the idea that it is them against the rest of society (Barkan, 2012). Many citizens in today’s democratic society have a negative or fearful view of our law enforcement. Think back to grade school, who was that one kid in class that everyone was annoyed by or despised? Most people would answer the teacher’s pet or the tattletale. We have grown up from a young age to have a negative view towards those that get us into trouble when we think we can get away with something we know is wrong. In the adult world, the police force can equate to those tattletales.
The overall basis for a democratic society is freedom. We stress that freedom allows us to be individualistic. Herbert L. Packer, a law professor, charted out two ideas in our criminal justice system. The idea or crime control and due process are ideally two separate entities, but have been found in our criminal justice system to overlap (Barkan, 2012). Due to the fact that these two ideas overlap, causes tension within our democratic society. These ideas cause there to be a double edge sword. As stated in our textbook, “the more crime control we want, the less due process we have; the more due process we have, the less crime control we can expect.” (Barkan, 2012). Ideally, we would like to live in a society where everyone is treated equally regardless of race, gender, social class, etc. However, police have the difficult task of making sure arrests are made unbiased.
While on the job, police must put all their personal opinions aside. They must provide everyone with an equal and fair chance. It is important in a democratic society for police to not know too much about the community they are policing. It allows them to do their job more effectively but if they no too little they will b ineffective in maintaining public safety. They cannot be caught, under any circumstances, standing flat-footed because who knows what will come next. However, at the opposite extreme, they cannot go around and arrest every stereotypical criminal (Marx, 1995).
One of the major criticisms about policing in a democratic society follows the topic of racism. Our society is considered to be equal regardless of race, gender, social status, etc. However, critics argue that there is racial discrimination among arrests in our nation. Twenty-eight percent of those arrested in 2009 were of African American descent (Barkan, 2012). However, African Americans only represent thirteen percent of the total population. It is apparent that African Americans are disproportionately arrested (Barkan, 2012). Police forces face the complicated task of differentiating between bias or unbiased.
Rodney King was pulled over on March 3, 1991 by the Los Angeles Police Department after failing to stop his vehicle. Upon stopping his vehicle, Rodney King was subdued by LAPD. After putting up a fight, King had suffered approximately 56 blows to his body and had 11 broken bones...

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