How to stop police brutality
Table of Contents
Over the years, regulating or stopping police brutality has been a significant dilemma in the United States (U.S.). The most recent brutal killings of Rayshard Brooks, Breona Taylor, and George Floyd have sparked extensive protests against racial injustices and police protests (Williamson et al., 2018). George Floyd’s killing in 2020 by Officer Derek Chauvin led to the creation of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement to fight police brutality and racial discrimination. The United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT) and the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials (BPUFF) expressly prohibit police brutality. These international conventions stipulate that law enforcement agents should only utilize excessive force as a last resort. The obligation of curbing police brutality falls on both the government and the citizens. For instance, citizens should never resist arrest or provoke police officers. Also, ordinary citizens should always address police officers respectfully and honorably.
On the other hand, the criminal justice system should lower the proof required to charge police officers convicted of using excessive force or engaging in racial injustice. Also, many states globally should consider substituting the “Broken Windows” policing technique to reduce police-citizens contact and also create harmonious relations between them. Therefore, the main point highlights that stopping police brutality is a collective responsibility among the people, the criminal justice system, and the government. Further, it recommends stringent laws and penalties to be enacted and imposed on police officers charged with the use of excessive and brutal force against unarmed and innocent citizens.
Main Ways to Stop Police Brutality
America and other countries globally should utilize effective measures to reduce police brutality. First, states should impose harsh punishments on officers convicted of brutality or excessive force against citizens. This regulation would deter police officers from engaging in such heinous acts. For example, officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted for the brutal murder of George Floyd, was sentenced to forty years of imprisonment. This paper argues that the jury should have imposed harsher penalties in such a situation. Officer Chauvin’s actions led to Floyd’s death; hence, he should have been convicted of murder and later sentenced to life imprisonment. In addition, the criminal justice system should lower the standard of proof required to charge police officers. Law enforcement officers are often not indicted for harassing or killing African Americans. Akbar (2020) argues that this situation is due to racial discrimination in American society. Alternatively, even if charged, many police officers are never convicted and sentenced for brutality or use of excessive force. Law enforcement officers are always perceived to do things for the considerable good of the community. This perception raises the bar for convicting and charging police officers despite their undertakings. Therefore, the standard of proof for charging law enforcement agents should be lowered to ensure they are convicted and punished for brutality and use of unreasonable force against citizens.
Law enforcement agencies should not rehire police officers previously convicted of brutality. The officers should even be banned from working in any other public service office. This policy would deter police officers from using excessive or brutal force against citizens because they fear permanently losing their jobs. Besides, all police departments should develop effective and fair policing practices. These reforms should promote positive police and community relationships. For example, extensively using the community-based policing technique rather than the “Broken Windows” strategy would create good relations between the public and police officers (Wilson et al., 2020).
Moreover, all states should enact National Use of Force laws. These guidelines should explicitly state the extent of force police officers can utilize against citizens and circumstances they may justifiably exceed the force. Lastly, police departments and agencies should always be liable for their negligent acts. Therefore, the burden of paying for civil damages arising from police negligence should shift from insurance companies to law enforcement agencies. This policy would effectively increase police officers’ accountability and cautiousness when dealing with the public.
Laws Needed to Stop Police Brutality
As discussed above, the state and federal legislatures should enact laws that require police officers to pay a substantial portion of the civil damages stemming from their misconduct. Such legislation would massively improve their accountability when handling or interacting with citizens. Further, all states should pass a national use of force handbook which stipulates the gravity of force that police officers should utilize when dealing with citizens. Besides, all states should enact legislations that allow screening for implicit aggression and bias before hiring. For example, a mandatory implicit racial prejudice examination shows an officer’s possible reaction while dealing with people of color or citizens from different races. These tests considerably reduce police brutality as their results motivate law enforcement agencies to deploy certain officers.
Also, states should pass a law that demands all police interrogations be recorded electronically. This regulation would prevent law enforcement officers from torturing suspects during interrogations. The above legislation should also require police officers to have body-worn cameras to record all their undertakings while on duty (Fallik et al., 2020). Additionally, state and federal legislatures should pass a rule restricting law enforcement officers’ capability to rely on the defense of qualified immunity against excessive force charges. Lastly, Congress should enact and enforce the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act of 2015, which bars the transfer of unnecessary military apparatus to law enforcement agencies.
In light of the above analysis, it is evident that various effective ways and laws can be adopted to reduce police brutality. First, the criminal justice system should impose punitive punishments on police officers convicted of cruelty against citizens. Also, all states should lower the standard of proof necessary to charge and convict police officers involved in brutality. As earlier discussed, the barometer for prosecuting and convicting law enforcement officers is high due to their principal obligation of maintaining peace and order. Lastly, the federal and state legislatures should pass legislations that comprise guidelines on using force, de-militarizing and require all police interrogations to be recorded electronically.
- Akbar, A. A. (2020). An abolitionist horizon for (police) reform. Calif. L. Rev., 108, 1781. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/calr108§ion=48
- Fallik, S. W., Deuchar, R., & Crichlow, V. J. (2020). Body-worn cameras in the post-Ferguson era: An exploration of law enforcement perspectives. Journal of police and criminal Psychology, 35(3), 263-273. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11896-018-9300-2
- Williamson, V., Trump, K. S., & Einstein, K. L. (2018). Black lives matter: Evidence that police-caused deaths predict protest activity. Perspectives on Politics, 16(2), 400-415. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/perspectives-on-politics/article/black-lives-matter-evidence-that-policecaused-deaths-predict-protest-activity/BFA2E74F4BCB25C3C222807E8B1111D4
- Wilson, B. L., & Wolfer, T. A. (2020). Reducing police brutality in African American communities: Potential roles for congregational social workers. Social Work and Christianity, 47(3), 66-84. https://www.nacsw.org/Publications/SWC/SWC47_3.pdf#page=71