Police Brutality: A Minority Group Concern

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"Relations between the police and minority groups are a continuing problem in many multiracial societies. Surveys consistently document racial differences in perceptions of the police, with minorities more likely than whites to harbor negative views." (Weitzer and Tuch, Race and Perceptions of Police Misconduct, 2004)

A great deal of society views law enforcement officers as heroic and honorable individuals, whose main purpose is to protect and serve the community. For many officers, this description is accurate, however for others; violence and brutality against innocent citizens is part of getting the job done. For years, minorities have fallen victim to police brutality based on racial profiling, stereotypes and other unjustifiable reasons that has cost innocent lives. The involvement of officers in police brutality against minority groups causes tainted and negative views on policing. This reduces their ability to protect and serve the community. Police brutality is a violent incident involving an officer and a victim, usually including excessive force, unnecessary violence and sometimes resulting in a senseless fatality. Minority groups such as African Americans and Hispanics have often been the victims of this form of abuse by officers, however little justice has been done in order to protect these individuals from this form of cruelty by the hands of those with the most power.

For many individuals, police brutality is a non-existent matter because it does not directly affect them or the community in which they live. Yet for others, this is an everyday occurrence and few limitations have been set as to what is unjust and malicious behavior of an officer towards the public, therefore, several officers are rarely prosecuted for this type of behavior. The significance of police brutality is a social problem that usually goes unrecognized or unreported. Racial profiling is an example of police brutality, which is defined by Gross and Livingston (2002) as “the practice of some officers of stopping motorists of certain racial or ethnic groups because the officer believe that these groups are more likely than others to commit certain types of crimes” (p.1413). Therefore, individuals are treated unfairly by law enforcement solely based on their race. This type of mistreatment is unmerited and ultimately a violation of an individual’s rights. However, in many instances the courts do not find it a violation of their civil rights based on the fact that racial profiling is difficult to prove. Often, prosecutors are disinclined in bringing forth a case against officers on this particular matter. Officers are permitted to stop and search individuals and their vehicles whenever there is reasonable suspicion, however, there has been studies that prove that some law enforcement officers restrict these rights primarily to minority groups. Bowling and Phillips found that although there was no formal monitoring of use of these powers, it was...

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