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There are many systems set into place to serve and protect the people, though more of these collective systems are the ones dividing people apart. Police brutality is one of the many systems that contribute to the division of the people. Police brutality is when officers use unreasonable and excessive force to subdue victims/people. Police officers violate basic human rights which were often concealed in the past, however social media has brought a rise to this ongoing dilemma. Social media has allowed the public to pay more attention to police brutality, as a result more police are being held accountable for their actions. Therefore, it is bringing on a greater call for change within our criminal justice system.
Moreover, The advancement of social media has blown up excessively compared to past usage. Millions of people log on everyday to view the latest posts, news, or trending topics that are occuring in the world. When the incident of George Floyd took place , the video was shared everywhere throughout social media. It had become a trending topic for weeks. People were disgusted by the explicit content seen in the video and outraged that a police officer would conduct himself in such a way. The incident sparked a lot of tension and it was an eye opener to see how police officers really treated people. To some people, it was their first time ever seeing something so profound.
Police brutality was always an issue, but it was not always made publicly because some police officers would try to cover up the incidents. Some officers would end up turning off their cameras to hide what they were doing because they knew that if other people saw , they would be punished accordingly. This is where police officers start to abuse their power. The police officers start to have the mindset that they can do anything and wouldn’t receive any consequences for their actions. This makes it a dangerous game because police officers think they are entitled to do whatever they want and afterwards quickly change up the story to save their reputation. For example, in June 2018, Samuel Scott was arrested by the Miami Police for a call that police had received claiming that Scott’s car was stolen. Scott was the one that had made the call and the police thought that he was one who stole it. The car had got into a collision and the police believed that Scott had filed a false report. The description of the person matched Scott, so they took him into custody. Police had confiscated some of Scott’s belongings in the beginning, but when he filed a motion to retrieve them back, they weren’t able to because there was no record of it being confiscated. “The body camera video obtained by the NBC 6 Investigators should be able to help track what happened to the items, but after Guzman handled the wallet and cellphone, he is seen reaching up to the camera and turning it off without explaining why. It remained off for several minutes. ‘It all seemed very suspicious. To this date, we don’t really know what the answer is or why the officer even turned it (his body camera) off in the first place,’ Pepper said adding body cameras are a ‘good tool’ to make sure officers follow the department’s rules and procedures” (Connie). The officer purposely turned off his camera most likely because he knew his actions were problematic and did not follow the code of conduct. Many police officers tend to do this and it should be recognized rather than ignored. The officer was disciplined by the police department as stated, but they did not state what the discipline was. Imagine what could have happened during the time period of the camera not being on. The officer could have harassed Scott and many other altercations may have occurred but there is no evidence to prove the event. Now it is mandatory by law that all officers have their cameras on at all times when confronting a situation.
In the case of Philando Castile, he was shot and killed during a traffic stop after an officer had found out that Castile had a gun. He told officers about the gun and they continued to be hostile with him. People are allowed to have possession of a firearm as long as they have a permit for it which Castile had. The police department described the officer to be scared and nervous and it caused him to pull the trigger. It is not understandable why the officer would continue to pull the trigger. “He said he’d made hundreds of traffic stops in which the drivers informed him they were carrying firearms. Those stops ended safely ‘100 percent of the time’ because the drivers kept their hands in view and told him when they were reaching for their wallets or other objects, he said” (Croft). If the officer had these encounters before and handled them perfectly and safely, why couldn’t he do the same for Castile? Was it because of his race? Philando Castile’s girlfriend had recorded the incident and posted to social media, and people immediately got upset at what was being shown throughout the video.. The police officer was found not guilty of the murder of Castile, but was removed from the police force because “the public will be best served if Officer Yanez is no longer a police officer in our city” (Kennedy). Protests were formed in the streets of Minnetsota as people were outraged by the murder and the outcome of the verdict. When will it ever stop?
People tend to view police officers in a negative way based on past encounters and senseless murders that have occurred.. Many people are afraid to call the police for help even when they are in a situation that requires aid from them. The fear of someone being falsely accused and possibly murder makes society uneasy about police help. Police brutality impacts many urban neighborhoods, minorities, and young adults. It has made people in certain communities lose trust and hope in their offerings to society.. When an officer drives around a neighborhood, people would often adjust their behavior and stay on high alert because most of the time they feel like the cops are not on their side. With that being said, there is a lot of distrust and disconnect between communities and police.
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- Connie Fossi, W. S. (2020, February 20). Body Cameras Turned Off During Miami PD Arrest. NBC 6 South Florida. https://www.nbcmiami.com/investigations/body-cameras-turned-off-during-miami-pd-arrest/2193518/.
- Croft, J. (2017, June 21). Philando Castile shooting: Dashcam video shows rapid event. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2017/06/20/us/philando-castile-shooting-dashcam/index.html.
- Kennedy, M. (2017, June 16). Hundreds Protest After Minnesota Officer Found Not Guilty In Philando Castile Death. NPR. https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/06/16/532783821/minnesota-police-officer-found-not-guilty-in-shooting-death-of-philando-castile.