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Ever wonder if police officers know what its like to be a citizen under jurisdiction, with the same sense of distrust and sense of unfaithfulness in the individuals who are supposed to protect? People must also realize that citizens will never know what it is like to be police officers. They take too much crap from people who don’t appreciate their services. Police officers also have their personal lives to worry about. That is stress that a lot can’t understand, let alone coupe with. There are a lot of officers that take their authority to a whole new level. These officers offer their lives in protection of its citizens, not just for a check, but also for a change. Bad apples spoil the bunch, yes, but can society blame and stereotype every officer of the law because of these people? Why do people run from the cops?
The same reason people stick up their middle fingers when they confront us in the streets when they aren’t looking, distrust. The Tim Thomas case, along with the mishaps of the Amadou Diallo situation are perfect examples of racial profiling. Is it right to do so? Some say that racial profiling helps the crime rate go down, while others strongly disagree. Rodney King exposed how corrupt the Los Angeles Police Department was, while the Rampart case proves that the Department still has made little to no progress. One still has to understand the police officers perspectives on how difficult this job really is.
Timothy Thomas was 19 years old when he was shot in an alleyway. He was chased by an officer by the name of Steven Roach. Thomas evidentially reached in his waistband, which made officer Roach feel threatened for his life. However, Thomas was unarmed, realized only after the fatal shooting. After the shooting, people were throwing rocks and bottles in downtown Cincinnati in protest. “Thomas is the 15th African-American male killed by Cincinnati police since 1995, the fourth since November” (Escalating Questions). The Federal Bureau of Investigation did further investigate to see if there were any civil rights violations being done.
Amadou Diallo was an immigrant from Guiana West Africa. He had no criminal record when he was shot 19 times in front of his home in the Bronx of New York. The police officers that shot him, Kenneth Boss, Sean Carroll, Edward McMellon and Richard Murphy were acquitted for any wrongdoing. They approached Diallo under the suspicion that he was a suspected rapist. While, asking to see his identification, the officers opened fire 41times thinking that the suspect pulled out a gun while it was really his wallet. The shooting caused a protest about the mistreatment that minorities receive by police officers.
“‘You took a part of my life from me. I demand to know why … They are keep on asking me why did my son run. If you are a black male, you will run,’ said Leisure.”(Escalating Questions). This is a perfect example of how racial profiling affects people’s lives. Both of these cases show the bad side of racial profiling. It not only affects the individual, but also the community as a whole. Both of these incidents incited forms of protest that could have led too much more violent predicaments. When is racial profiling okay? A poll done on abc.com says that 85% of the people believe that individuals who fit the description of terrorist should be stopped to prevent other incidents from occurring. But does that mean that it is right?
For years music artist have been portraying police officers in a negative way. Even in the movies, while watching Boyz N the Hood you can see how they work negatively in the community. All of this came to the light a little more than ten years ago when Rodney King was beat in the middle of the street by four white police officers. The impression of a well-furnished police department went up in smoke when the public saw that tape. Few people know what happened the night that King was beat. It really didn’t matter; it was more on the lines of what they could prove. The results of the riots were 1 billion dollars of property damage, 55 lost lives, 2383 injured citizens, and one bad reputation that have lasted over a decade. Ex Police Chief Daryl Gates ten years later, “‘got whacked a few extra times’ but’ brought it on himself'”(Ex-PoliceChief). One would like to think that the city would be making improvements on how things were being run. The force went from once being 60 percent white to now 45 percent white. Now they are under a new, African-American police chief, who has angered the African-American citizens. In selecting a new chief, because of public distaste, it will be a more difficult task taking that into consideration, so it says.
The Rampart division made some 100 cases dismissed in an intense internal investigation of their misconduct. Rafael Perez was the original officer who was caught stealing $1 million dollars of cocaine out of the evidence room. The totals amounted to $125 million in damages, 10.9 million to settle 29 lawsuits. The officers would frame gang members, steal drugs and money from them. The FBI was called to further investigate and there were also attempts to get racketeering charges against the officers involved. The racketeering charges are usual used in corporate scandals and mafia involvement.
The National Institute of Justice did a survey to test the integrity of police officers in certain divisions. The research briefs tell of the difficulty in policing the police because of four major problems; The Blue Curtain, sort of a code of silence among officers, supervisors just ignoring corruption, the benefits of corruption, and the lack of immediate victims voicing their concerns. The previous way that corruption was being perceived was that it was an individual’s low moral level. They would screen the officers and would remove “bad apples” before the corruption spreads. This way was not herald, and it received a lot of critics. Now the way that of controlling police is very different from the past. They now do both reactive as well as proactive investigations, an education in ethics, integrity testing, and corruption deterrence.
The survey that was given tested the integrity of 30 agencies across the U.S. Out of 11 scenarios the majority of officers treated some offenses with less importance than others. They stated that the more serious the crime, the more serious the punishment. The less serious violation they wouldn’t tell on. These included accepting food, and discounts. Other violations such as stealing from a crime scene or taking a money bribe should cost the individual his job.
Police go through so much in doing their job. The general public aren’t in the their shoes. They won’t understand what they go through unless they put on that suit and risk their lives for people who despise them. Citizens haven’t been through the training or even know the mental psyche that it takes to be an officer of the law. That doesn’t justify any of their wrong doings. However, it should be taken in consideration that everyday police do risk their lives for our protection. Many take for granted that America is a democracy, its citizens aren’t under communist rule like many of its neighboring countries. It is illegal for police misconduct. Many other countries turn their heads at the site of misconduct of these officers. Again, does this justify what is going on in the system? Not in any way. However, until someone makes a plan for a better system, it is not going to change. Hate them or not police are designed to keep order, protect and serve. But just not serving themselves.