While the majority of the United States (U.S.) is up in arms over the rampant police brutality and corruption throughout the country, some forget an important point. When one kills police officers, all it accomplishes is killing the possibility of justice. The protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, have the right idea, they are letting their voices be heard. True reform takes time, and getting frustrated at the process should not lead to more drastic actions.
Recently, during a protest in Ferguson, two police officers were struck down by the bullets of a protester. The young man being charged with the crime is named Jeffrey Williams, a 20-year-old African-American. Williams is being charged with two counts of assault in the first degree, one count of discharging a weapon from a vehicle, and three counts of armed criminal action. The man claims he was not firing at the officers who were shot, but at someone else in the crowd of protesters. Though most people would say the same thing out of fear, if he should admit to firing at police officers, it might fuel national reform that much quicker. His story is hard to believe given the circumstances, but it says a lot about the state of unrest throughout the country. Proudly, the Ferguson shooting of two police officers, has not deterred protesters from using their right to peacefully protest.
Civilians are tired of the slow action of their government, and are taking up arms instead of picking up signs. What the peaceful protesters around the world know, however, is that by killing police the justice that should be dealt to the corrupt gets killed as well. Eye for an eye is an ignorant belief that has never held true. As Gandhi taught, violence only begets more violence. While some officers, such as officer Darren Wilson, and the policeman who strangled to death Chris Garner in New York, do not have charges brought against them, other officials are not so lucky.
Take San Jose police officer Geoffrey Graves, for example. In September 2014, Graves was arrested for an alleged rape of a woman, who had been driven to her hotel earlier in the night by the officer. According to her testimony, the officer had responded to a domestic dispute call earlier in the night, and as a peaceful resolution drove the woman to a hotel where she could sleep for the night. Later, as the woman was falling asleep, there came a knock on her door, and standing there was officer Graves. He then allegedly forced his way into the room, threw her on the bed, and while leaving his bullet proof vest on raped her while repeating “crazy lady” as he did so. Though her husband would likely enjoy having vengeance, killing police only kills justice.
It has been brought up by Graves’ defense attorney that the woman still had not reported the rape when she was arrested for DUI weeks later. Through tears, the woman said that she was afraid and embarrassed to report the rape. While it was made known that certain aspects of the alleged victim’s testimony were inconsistent, such as what garments the officer wore during the encounter, there is seemingly quite a language barrier. The woman is an illegal immigrant of Latin descent. What gives weight to her story, is that the police officer’s former girlfriend, has testified that he would wear his vest often during certain sexual games the couple would play.
Killing this police officer would only kill the chances of his alleged victim receiving justice. By going through the right channels, this woman could possibly end up as a proper example of how to handle police corruption in America, especially since she is an illegal immigrant. This added factor shows that even those who live in the country illegally, are willing to take a stand against police corruption.
Without the services of the country’s police force, murderers, rapists, and other criminals would have free reign to do as they pleased. While there may be considerable amounts of police corruption throughout America, the ending of officer’s lives solves nothing. The U.S. justice system has flaws as in every country, but by the public taking the law into their own hands, it undermines the values that America strives to uphold. When all is said and done, the killing of police only kills an opportunity for justice.
By Benjamin Johnson
Photo by Oceana – Flickr License