Combatting Police Brutality

Commentary

How can we make a change?

Anthanee Doyle, Staff Writer

The Law Dictionary defines police brutality as, “the use of excessive and/or unnecessary force by an officer when dealing with civilians.” This means a force well beyond what would be necessary in order to handle a situation.

The media has been capturing more cases of police brutality against specific communities. Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner all fell victim to unnecessary police brutality.

Micheal Brown was a victim of police brutality. There were several stories when it came to how police handled the situation between themselves and Micheal Brown. Officer Wilson was the first officer to come into contact with Brown. Wilson stopped the Brown on a street in Ferguson, Missouri.

Some witnesses say Brown reached into the car and hit the officer. While others state that the officer grabbed Brown by the neck and pulled him towards the car window.

Brown was shot in the hand multiple times during the altercation. He then ran at least 180 ft from the officers car, this is where he was shot at least 4 more times.

Brown was unarmed when he was killed. The officer admits he shot Brown out of self-defense.  Looking at this case some may agree that shooting an unarmed suspect is not just.

Mappingpoliceviolence.org shares a disturbing number of statistics on police violence in 2015 and 2016. African Americans are 3 times as likely to be killed by a police officer than a white male or female.

69 % of the African American victims who died at the hands of an officer were unarmed and nonviolent. One of the biggest statistics to the African American community is that 97% of the officers did not get charged with any crime and walked away free.

Apex North Carolina’s Police Department Captain Jacques Gilbert had some opinion to this issue. Mr. Gilbert has been a police officer for over 25 years and recently became Captain.

Captain Gilbert stated that, “police brutality has always been happening, but it is becoming more exposed due to the many different media outlets.”

Captain Gilbert also stated that, “there are many reasons to why police brutality happens.”

A study done by AlterNet Civil Liberties states that officers admit to having close to no supervision and guidance from the department or division to help direct them to the correct way of performing their job.

Some officers complained saying that there was a lack of training and supervision. The study done by AlterNet also showed the lack of training when it came to calming down a situation in order stop a dangerous situation.

Captain Gilbert also said there are certain qualities that can officer must have in situations such as these.  “Leadership and accountability are all important, no matter if you are a captain or a regular officer. Immoral acts won’t be tolerated. If someone does something wrong within the department we report it and don’t worry about the repercussions.”

He even said there is a website through every police department that people can go to report any bad incidents dealing with an officer. The department will really look into the issue and determine if the officer needs to be reprimanded. Most police departments also conduct routine checkups on officers to make sure all of them are doing their job right and are being held accountable.

Captain Gilbert believes community relations can help shape peoples reaction to the department. Captain Gilbert said, “We have 2 black officers out of 75 and that just isn’t enough. We cannot expect to become closer to our black community without black officers helping pave the way and if we do not change something we could easily be another story for the news.”

The moral of the story is to get to know your local police department, realize that they are people too. The officers deserve respect. Some may be out of line and say things that are unnessesary. Be sure to file a complaint with your local department if something like that happens.

Learn more about Wingate’s Police Department: http://www.townofwingatenc.gov/departments/police/

Edited by: Sara Gunter

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