Police Corruption and Rodney King Case

Introduction

Have you ever been mistreated by law enforcement just because they have more “power” over you? If you have ever encountered that situation you have been the victim of Police Corruption. What is Police Corruption? This involves the act of either a single officer or a group of officers who abuse their powers to achieve personal or departmental gains. Police Corruption has been going on for the longest in the United States. Police Corruption has not only affected law enforcement agencies but also our society as a whole. Police are known to protect and serve our community, but it seems as if you are known as a police officer you get a more lenient punishment than others. In this paper, we are going to be discussing the police corruption that happens on daily across the United States.

Research Question

Why has police corruption been an occurring problem for over the past sixty years?

Literature Review

Of course, we all watch the news and we all have social media nowadays. So we tend to hear about when certain incidents happen across the country. Police corruption happens every day and unfortunately, killings involving police happen every day as well, we just do not hear about them. I feel like they do not even want us to hear about the ones we do hear but in today’s time we all have phones and we use them.

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Now, back in the day, it was all kinds of things happening with the police and citizens, mainly African Americans. Police were basically told to beat on us during the Civil Rights Movement, and there was no punishment at all for their doings, we have gotten a little better in today’s time without just going crazy out her beaten people but it is still happening more than what it needs to be. One of the most famous cases to be televised was the Rodney King case in Los Angles, California. Rodney King was violently beaten by an LAPD officer during his arrest in 1991. They showed King being beaten on television which basically exposed police departments and it even brought “gangs” together.

There are many examples of police corruption with police brutality being the most known, other examples are dishonesty, fraud, coercion, torture to force confessions, abuse of authority, and sexual assault. According to the Cato Institute’s National Police Misconduct Reporting Project (MPMRP) “confirmed that around one percent of all police officers commit misconduct in a given year and that the consequences of such misconduct are grim.” Keith Findley from the Wisconsin Innocence Project conducted a study and found that police misconduct was a factor in as many as fifty percent of wrongful convictions involving DNA evidence. According to California Innocent Project, they say “at times, police misconduct is systematic, meaning done or acting to a fixed plan or system. In one case former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge was arrested on federal obstruction of justice and perjury charges for allegedly lying about whether he and other officers participated in the torture of suspects in police custody back in the 1980s.

Before I listed some examples of the different types of police corruption. Police abuse is in three general areas: physical abuse, psychological abuse, and legal abuse. All three of these vary in different ways. Physical abuse is one of the most common ones we see and hear about. Such as the Rodney King case, Eric Garner would count because he would have been able to breathe if they did not put their hands on him. The videos we see on social media where policemen feel the need to pull you out of the car. Next, we have psychological abuse which occurs through disrespect, harassment, ridicule, excessive stops, or intimidation. As we all know a policeman can just run your tags and know basically all your information, same as when you get pulled over and they take your license they see everything about you. Police are not allowed to threaten you over any charge you have on your record or just discriminate because of your record. In Atlanta, GA a young teen was put in jail for possession of marijuana, ever since then whenever he gets pulled over they automatically search his car which is not fair because they do not have a probable cause to search his car just because of his record. That is an example of police corruption that happens almost every day. The last example I gave was legal abuse, this abuse occurs during lawful searches. This one is different in a way of people’s homes, you can not just come into someone’s home because you have a badge and you “suspect” something, but they do that anyway.

Now, we are supposed to look at these policemen to protect us at all times. Not cause fear in us. We now tell our little boys and girls to always be respectful to the police, do what they say to do, do not ask any questions, says yes sir or no sir, do not talk back in any way, and just do not give them any reason to suspect that you are doing anything wrong in their eyes. We should not have to tell our children a run down from when you encounter somebody who works for the government that has the job to protect us. We should not be scared. But instead, we are because of the things law enforcement does and gets away with.

The fact that none of these policemen get real punishments is sad. There have been over one hundred cases that involve police corruption and there only punishment is they take 8 months off work with no pay or they just get fired. In some of these cases, people are losing their lives. A perfect example is the Fruitvale Station, that officer was sentenced to five years in prison but got released after one year because of “good behavior” things like that are what make us look at the system as corrupt and wonder why they get a hall pass in doing wrong but we certainly do not get a hall pass for doing wrong. We get mistreated and treated like we are just here paying taxes for no reason. It’s sad, and disturbing.

Methods

To assess the primary goal of this paper I researched “Police Corruption” and also use social media as a source as well. Social media is the way most things are even brought to light nowadays, you will probably see it on social media before you would see it on the news. When people record the videos and put them on social media that is how people hear about it and use this thing called “repost” and it starts with just one repost. I also used my knowledge with the movies I have seen and knowledge from being told certain things from my elders.

To collect the material on this content I used google to read different articles from different states. Different things happen in each state and so do the results of the consequences as well. The consequences for the police in California will probably be different from those one in Texas. Of course, we know most police do not even get consequences.

In all the data for this paper include about five different articles on the website and Instagram page “TheShadeRoom”. TheShadeRoom is a page on Instagram that covers the recent news on social media including things like Beyoncé’s birthday to the anniversary of the beaten of Rodney King. The articles where based on police corruption and hundreds of cases involving police corruption.

Discussion of Data

Police Corruption is wrong in so many ways and it is very sad that we even have to talk about things like this. It’s sad that my research paper is on police corruption, there should be no such thing as police corruption. It’s also a sad case that we do not get the justice that we deserve when we are put in these situations. Police departments need to do better in training their officers on what to do in cases that do get out of hand so we do not have to deal with police corruption. Police also need to get their punishments in order and make them fair to everybody, no matter how bad the situation is, they have to think about the other people’s families.

In the police department, you have people who also work to cover up certain things so they do not get out into the public. It’s always a lot of undercover things that happen that we do not know about. Internal fairs fide departments so the police department will not look as bad as they seem. Certain officers can be fired and re-hired based upon a certain amount of signatures on a petition.

I know you are thinking there is no way that in the “police world” these people are just getting away with doing the things they do. The police have codes of conduct and laws they have to follow and they do have consequences, those consequences do not become public because basically, someone from the inside has to file a lawsuit, I just can not go file a lawsuit on the police, I will not go that far unless the deferral government makes the lawsuit. Most pragmatically of all plant tiffs, police are protected by all immunity an exemption.

Conclusion

In theory, the defense allows police to do their job without fear of REPRISAL. In practice, however, it has become increasingly difficult for individuals to sue law enforcement officers for damages for allegedly violating their civil rights. U.S. Supreme Court decisions have continually asserted the general rule that officers must be given the benefit of the doubt that they acted lawfully in carrying out their day-to-day duties, a position reasserted in Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 121 S. Ct. 2151, 150 L. Ed. 2d 272. Internal police corruption is a challenge to public trust, cohesion of departmental policies, human rights, and legal violations involving serious consequences. It is not possible to measure the level of corruption in a country. Surveys of police officers, citizens, and businesses can be used to provide estimates on levels of corruption. These are often inaccurate, as respondents involved in corruption are reluctant to provide any information implicating themselves in criminal activity. Despite this limitation, information collected from International Crime Victim Surveys and surveys conducted by the Global Corruption Enumerated Barometer can be used to estimate the level of police corruption.

References

  1. https://californiainnocenceproject.org/issues-we-face/police-misconduct/
  2. https://www.themarshallproject.org/records/2528-police-corruption
  3. https://www.aclu.org/issues/criminal-law-reform/reforming-police-practices/police-corruption
  4. https://law.jrank.org/pages/9248/Police-Corruption-Misconduct.html
07 July 2022

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