Essay on Assault Under Color Of Authority : Police Corruption As Norm

Essay on Assault Under Color Of Authority : Police Corruption As Norm

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In her article entitled, “Assault under Color of Authority: Police Corruption as Norm in the LAPD Rampart Scandal and in Popular Film,” Judith Grant confronts the issue of police corruption while expressing various controversial beliefs on both its nature and causes. While Grant makes a few different claims in her article, she has two central arguments which serve as its overall framework; first, that corruption in the police force is not simply a few isolated incidences, but instead a norm which is standard in the institution and second, that the portrayals of scandal, brutality, and corruption in film reinforce the reproduction of this problem. She draws most of her support for the first claim from analysis of historic police scandals, particularly the LAPD Rampart Scandal, and from popular police-oriented films for the second. As a whole, Grant’s article is quite convincing, her arguments well developed and generalizations justified; however, it is not entirely void of inconsistencies, both internal and external, which undermine her claims to an extent.
Grant predominately employs facts and direct quotes from police officers involved in scandals to serve as evidence for her article’s primary claim; police corruption extends far beyond the limits of a few isolated incidents and is actually the norm in the institution. For example, when considering the Rampart Scandal, Grant notes that “Rafael Perez, the main snitch in the Rampart scandal… admitted to hundreds of incidences of perjury in order to attain false convictions, false arrest and fabrications of evidence” (4). Along with confessions of personal involvement in illegal actions such as stealing and reselling a large amount of cocaine from the Rampart Division of the Los A...


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...ce corruption—that it is not just a few isolated incidences, but a norm which is standard in the institution and that its reproduction is reinforced by the portrayals of scandal, brutality, and corruption in Hollywood films—prove to be substantial arguments. With support from analysis of the LAPD Rampart Scandal and popular police films, she is able to draw a collection of conclusive evidence. Nonetheless, there are both critical internal and external inconsistencies within her article which undermine her claims. These include a lack of variety of sources and ability to confirm causation, unrepresentative sampling, and supply of films which serve as counter evidence. Overall, Grant raises many astute and prudent questions about the nature and causes of police corruption, but there is still much that needs to be further investigated to provide more definitive answers.

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