In the wake of George Floyds death, the call for police reform has gotten louder and louder as the black community have come all out to protest and speak against police brutality and racial profiling that has seem to take center stage and has become a norm in the blues. Racial profiling is the term used when people use skin color or racial affiliations to attribute a crime to a person.
A lot of people have fallen victim to the brutal and unprofessional approach of law enforcement officers. Within the last 8 years, quite a number of people have lost their lives in the hands of law enforcement agents across the world with racism and racial profiling as a common denominator for all killings. Some of the victims include:
Atatiana Jefferson to mention a few.
Often times, a lot of police officers have been known to simply look at a man’s skin color and decide he is guilty and make an arrest which the victim tries to resist. Resisting arrest is an offense and as such, police officers attempt to use force which is what killed George Floyd in 2020 when police officers arrested him and Officer Chauvin knelt on his neck till he died of asphyxiation.
Most of these victims were either killed due to extreme force being applied or under questionable circumstances which prove that police officers are gradually becoming a menace they are trying to curb and called to protect people from. In most cases, the perpetrators walk free while the city pays the grieved family millions of dollars to settle out of court, a trend that many have now frowned upon and said it is a ln insult to attempt to pay for killing a person.
EFFECTS OF POLICE BRUTALITY AND RACIAL PROFILING
In this case, there are no cons as police brutality and racial profiling has caused a lot of havoc in the community with kids seen hiding from police officers to avoid being ‘incidentally shot or shot at”. The police spent years building the trust and relationship they share with members of the public but their recent actions has made them lose all that with the random shooting of innocent citizens in cold blood. The effects and eventual consequences of these crimes against humanity includes:
Loss of public trust and confidence in the force: the police use to be what people see as their saving grace when they show up in dicey situations but over the years, they have proven this to be untrue as they sometimes leave the scene with more trouble than there was before their arrival. Not so lucky individuals sometimes leave the scenes in body bags due to misjudged or misinterpreted actions that makes police officers draw their guns and fire at the victims. The public no longer see the men in blue as saviors, they rather see them as killers and would rather trust their lives to a perp than a police officer. This has made the public call for reforms but is that the answer?
Fear: The public no longer feel safe with police officers around. Recently, a footage of a boy playing on the front porch of his parents house surfaced online, what made the video peculiar was how the boy hid behind a parked vehicle when he saw a police van drive by which is probably due to the fear of what he has seen happening around him. There seems to be a growing agitation and fear of being the next victim of a trigger happy police officer amongst the citizens especially in the back community.
Damage to Police-citizens relationship: There is absolutely no doubt that things are a bit icy between citizens and the police as the violent and gruesome murder of people continue to happen all over the world. The citizens somehow feel they have to protect themselves against the police as they no longer feel safe with them around. In the last two months, there was violent protests all over the world tagged ‘Black lives matter ‘ which got started as a result of George Floyds death on the street. A clear footage showed how he pleaded for officer Chauvin to get off his neck but the policeman refused to yield until George breathe his last. This further enraged citizens and individuals all over the world as malls and other businesses were burned down to show displeasure over hus gruesome daylight murder. With the possibility that chauvin might also walk free or get just a few years sentence, a cordial relationship between the citizens and the police is no where near healing anytime soon.
Increase in violence: as said earlier, there were violent protests and recently, there have been spate of murders of protesters and sudden disappearance of people as well. The number of violent crimes committed in May and June alone is a record hugh with a lot of brands loosing their businesses to looters and burglars as well.
SOLUTIONS TO CURB POLICE BRUTALITY AND RACIAL PROFILING
Review of police firearms use: The rate at which police officers draw and fire their weapons at will is quite alarming. There should be a review of situations that can warrant a police officer to get his gun out of the holster. Some police officers have been known to unpin their holster buttons whenever they approach a car, especially if it is driven by a black man. In cases of people like Alton sterling and Breonna Taylor, their deaths could have been avoided if the police officers had used stun guns instead pf drawing their firearms because the victims were not armed so they posed no serious threat to the officers.
Change of police mentality on racial profiling: Police officers have to be enlightened and understand that having a particular skin color or coming from a particular race does not make one a suspect automatically. A footage of police officers harassing a man who was in civilian clothing but was an FBI agent trend few months ago. The police officers said because he was black, he definitely fit into the description of the person they were looking for and put him in cuffs. Police officers have to learn to not rely on their instincts if it tends to tilt towards racism or racial discrimination.
Constant Mental Evaluation: Police officers should be made to take mental evaluations to see if they are under pressure or stressed before setting out on patrol. A lot of police officers are war veterans and some suffer from PTSD which might affect their emotional health and in turn affect their judgment call. Assessing their mental health status will ensure that every man donning a badge amd carrying a gun is actually sane and in a good frame of mind.