The Urgent Issue Of Police Brutality In The United States
The Rule of Law’s principle of due process states that “laws must be administered impartially”; there must be procedures in place to ensure fair treatment between all people (Fox). The current debate surrounding police brutality violates the principle of due process through its inconsistency between the treatment of people of interest and by the lack of sentimentality caused by our current president. From the beginning, during peaceful civil rights movements, police used violent tactics such as police dogs and fire hoses. Fifty years later and this violence still “disproportionately [shakes] black communities” (Nodjimbadem).
Study’s say black men and three times more likely to die from police use of force than white men (Howard). This statistic may not even be surprising because of how many stories are published about the unfair treatment of black people compared to white, and yet, even with the black lives matter movement and others, nothing has really changed. Police brutality specifically targets those of African descent. The root of this problem extends beyond the relationship of police to the public, it is more of a problem of social inequalities. Due process is being violated through the violence of black versus white people of interest. A study by The Washington Post shows the percentages of unarmed people killed by police in the U. S. doubling every year between black and white people, proof of how police are much more likely to act on impulse towards black people when it comes to pulling the trigger (Pages). Some might say there is nothing that can be done because the discrimination is a subconscious decision based on embedded stereotypes.
The rate of police convictions proves the ignorance of this statement. Compared to citizens, police officers are half as likely to be convicted and incarcerated (Lopez). This stark gap between police and the public creates the not so abstract illusion that officers are above the law. This is a violation of due process because even though police are held to a higher standard, they are treated with an unfair advantage and favorable treatment. If there were fair punishments, perhaps police officers would think before they shoot, and treat people equally like the law requires. It is a law that there should be no unnecessary violence to suspects who are arrested yet President Trump does not have a problem with “[roughing] up” prisoners (Berman). The allowance and encouragement for this crime is a violation of due process as police officers are treated as being above the law. Many police departments made remarks that Trump’s comment was a push back of the progress they were making trying to mend wounds between police and public (Sanchez). Katie Nodjimbadem from the Smithsonian says “it [is] the pervasive violent policing in communities of color that [builds] distrust at a local, everyday level”. Perhaps not his intention, but Trump persuaded the public to take a step back and reevaluate their trust in the police departments of their communities.
The principle of due process is arguably the most important Rule of Law principle because it ensures that everyone’s rights are equal and will be treated as such. America is built on all different ethnicities and yet some roots are so deep within peoples histories that they cannot look past skin color to see the individual. In regards to police brutality, it becomes apparent that African Americans are treated with fewer rights and liberties than Caucasians. To add fuel to the fire, police officers who distribute this unfair and illegal treatment to people of interest are not fairly punished. Our current President continues to push people towards more violence. If innate racism in police departments stays there will be no trust and American society will have even more animosity over something that should have been solved fifty years ago.
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