Police Brutality and the Use of Force

explanatory Essay
2530 words
2530 words

There are very few careers with as high demands for an ethical standard as law enforcement. Although there are many careers, which require a dedication to doing the right thing, it is undeniable that there is a tremendous degree of responsibility and expectations placed on the police officer. While most professions allow for careful thought and planning, a police officer is often thrust into a situation with little advanced intelligence about what is occurring. Often an officer is involved in a situation which has the potential to turn violent. Relying on training allows the officer to successfully navigate a variety of situations. After a few years on the job, even the rookie police officer is aware that they live and work in a “fishbowl”. There is remarkably little the officer can be involved in which does not have the potential to be displayed in the media. Quite often media exposure does not account for the few seconds the officer had to determine how to handle the situation. The police officer is under constant scrutiny, more so then any other profession. This could be due to the cynicism of the public as they hope to catch the officer “screwing up” or looking for a strong example and a good leader. A police officer needs to be above reproach both on and off duty. Unfortunately, a small percentage of officers draw a large amount of negative attention to the profession. These “bad apples” bring a negative light to entire police departments and cause long term damage to public trust. A vast majority of police officers make strong ethical decisions every day and are hardworking dedicated professionals who strive to serve the public. Research / Analysis Americans throughout history have be... ... middle of paper ... ...Retrieved from Johns, E. (n.d.). Police Brutality: A Lifelong Learning Process. Retrieved from Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards. (2010). Instructor Guide. Retrieved from Paxson, P. (2004). The Rodney King Beating. Media literacy: thinking critically about visual culture (pp. 54-55). Portland, Me.: J. Weston Walch. Police Use of Force in America 2001. (n.d.). International Association of Chiefs of Police. Retrieved from Kwon, J. (2011). Towards a Theoretical Understanding of Police Brutality. Verstehen, IX

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that resistance may include psychological intimidation and/or verbal resistance (e.g., blank stare, clenching of fists, tightening of jaw muscles).
  • Describes any type of resistance whereby the subject doesn't attempt to defeat the officer's attempted touch and control, but still refuses to comply with verbal and physical attempts of control.
  • Describes any action by a subject that attempts to prevent an officer from gaining control of the subject.
  • Describes physical actions/assaults against the officer or another person with less than deadly force.
  • Explains that force used against an officer or another person may result in great bodily harm or the loss of life.
  • Explains identification of authority (i.e., uniformed presence, or identification as a police officer) and verbal direction (for arrest or to control subjects movements).
  • Explains that there are few careers with as high demands for an ethical standard as law enforcement, but there is a tremendous degree of responsibility and expectations placed on the police officer.
  • Argues that the application of force is ethically neutral and can constitute an abuse of authority.
  • Explains the three basic theories that explain why some officers choose to step over the line and become criminals themselves.
  • Explains that most modern law enforcement agencies recruit, hire, and train only persons with a strong moral character before they begin their initial police training in the academy.
  • Opines that two mindsets can be implemented in all police training programs, such as defensive maneuvers and an extensive background investigation.
  • Explains that police officers are put in situations on a daily basis which can test their ability to make sound ethical decisions. it is ultimately up to the individual officer on whether or not they will succumb to corruption.
  • Cites paxson, p., and walch, j. weston. police use of force in america 2001.

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