Police brutality is a growing concern for cities across the nation. Often, vigils are held to bring greater awareness to a community who may experience the loss someone unexpectedly due to this contentious issue. Police have responded to suspects, who become victims of brutality, for mistaken identity, assumed resistance, and/or unconfirmed weapon possession. It has occurred when emotions are running high and reactions to situations become out of control. Police brutality has been a topic of discussion since the Los Angeles riots of 1992.
Although police have a very dangerous job, surveys have indicated that minority groups have very little confidence in law enforcement. Unfortunately, the public has not been made aware of the times when they have held restraints or offered support in difficult situations.
These examples cite incidents of police brutality that have been under investigation. The recent shooting of Michael Brown caused riots in Ferguson, Missouri. In Fort Lauderdale, an altercation ensued as man was asked to leave the grounds of a building where he insisted that he wanted to use the restroom. A policeman was accused of excessive force as he addressed an 11-year-old boy. The child said that the policeman pointed his gun at him and made him spread his legs as he lay on the ground.
In Los Angeles, a 26-year-old male was tasered, which resulted in burns to his genitals. This action was done because of a cigarette being tossed to the ground. There was a civil suit that alleged that a police officer pepper-sprayed a man, knocked him out, and arrested him for no reason. Police said that the man was acting in a threatening way.
At Ohio University, there is a student group called the New Black Life Action Coalition (BLAC) . These students laid 100 cardboard tombstones in the snow to remember those who have been victims of police brutality. Approximately, 40 people attended. A student commented to The Post that these visuals are necessary because it is too easy to forget. Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice were among those names placed on the tombstones. The coalition of students is also working on creating conversations on diversity.
Community support and interaction is vital in addressing police brutality. In Rock Island, Iowa, the Quad Cities Activist are very focused on the problem. They organized the Quad Cities Civil Rights and Justice Summit for the purpose of generating community conversations. Together, they have been working to promote legislative action.
Bills that have been drafted by the Quad Cities Activists addressed policeman wearing body cameras. The other bill had to do with ensuring that a special prosecutor is assigned to cases. The group has given a lot of attention to how to create a buffer between public safety and civil rights.
The Black Lawyers for Justice joined the group and directed participants to their organization website. The founder and national director, Malik Shabazz, wrote some material entitled, What Black People Need to Know When Dealing with The Police. He advised the public to share this material as a resource for keeping police brutality at bay.
By Marie A. Wakefield
Photo by Andrew Bardwell – License