The police play a vital role in today’s justice system; they are the heroes that catch armed banked robbers, stop kidnappings, and catch murderers that terrorize communities: or at least that is how they are portrayed. While police activities are much more mundane than the public may think, police are given total authority over the public to keep the streets safe. In Steven Lukes’ article, power, he gives a general definition of power as “the capacity to bring about outcomes” (Lukes 59), but that in actuality, a single definition for “power” is very controversial. Lukes gives synonyms such as “authority, influence, coercion, force, violence, manipulation, and strength” (Lukes 59), but chooses his words carefully to reveal the many contradicting synonyms to reveal the confusion about power. While it is a common misconception that officers are putting an end to things like “violence” and “manipulation”, in reality, police often cause conflict, and misuse their [vaguely defined] power because of the environment that police departments provide for their officers.
One of the best examples of power misuse is that of the Milgram experiment, conducted in the 1960′s. The study examined people’s willingness to submit to authority, even if it meant inflicting on pain on other participants. Milgram found that 65% of participants “were willing to give apparently harmful electric shocks up to 450 volts to a pitifully protesting victim, simply because a scientific, lab coated authority commanded them to, and despite the fact that the victim did nothing to deserve such punishment” (Persaud 356). In fact, the study “demonstrated with brutal clarity that ordinary individuals could be induced to act destructively, even in the absence of physi...
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...his skewed thinking is caused by how the academies approach their teaching of power conduct and sense of immunity that police officers are “given”. To prevent police brutality, it is necessary to change the thinking and environment that exists within the police academies and departments.
Anderson, Benedict.Imagined Communities. London: Verso, 4-7. Web.
Lester, David.Police Violence: Understanding and Controlling Police Abuse of Force. Yale University Press, 1996. 186. eBook.
Lukes, Steven.power. 6. American Sociological Association, 2007. 59-61. Web.
Persaud, Raj.The Man Who Shocked the World. 331. BMJ Publishing Group, 2005. 356. eBook.
“The Rodney King Incident.”West Valley College. (2005): 12-15. Print.
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