“See these fists? They’re getting ready to fuck you up,” said Officer Ramos, before he and two other officers began to mercilessly beat a mentally-ill man at a transit station (“Full Un-edited”). Kelly Thomas was a schizophrenic homeless-man who was beaten by 3 police officers in Fullerton, Calif. He died in the hospital 5 days later due to the inflicted injuries (Salazar). None of the officers involved were found guilty of any wrong doing. In America today, use of force, police brutality, and night-time home raids are on the rise. Many of these incidents involve people who have committed no crime, who are violently beaten by law enforcement officers. These officers often suffer no consequences for their actions. It is time to hold police officers, and the system that protects them, accountable for the abuse of human beings.
In the case of Kelly Thomas, the courts failed to deliver justice. The officers charged with murder and excessive force were found not guilty (Joyce). This and many other cases continue to send a message to corrupt police officers, that they will not be held accountable for their actions. In a country that values freedom as much as the United States, it is shameful that so many citizens are having their rights trampled on by those who think they are above the laws they enforce.
As children, we are shown that police officers are moral, upstanding citizens. People that we should model ourselves after, who are honorable, the good guys. Our society is constantly bombarded with positive images and stories of law enforcement. Officers are continually portrayed as heroes on television and in movies. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Today a growing number of citizens are losing faith in...
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...ood. No longer is the average police officer the image of Andy Griffith, he is increasingly becoming something akin to a soldier. Senator Tom Coburn asked the perfect question during a congressional meeting when he said, "Tell me what the difference is between an increasingly militarized police force and a standing army” (qtd. in Devaney). The only way to put a stop to this disturbing trend is for citizens to demand that their representatives pass legislation that ends police militarization, as well as the creation of tougher punishments for excessive use of force.
It is time to return the police officer to an upstanding member of society whose purpose is to serve and protect. We can no longer tolerate the abuse of citizens by corrupt public servants. This country once took pride in proving guilt before imposing punishment, a path it desperately needs to return to.
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