In the recent years, the problem of police brutality and excessive use of force has been on the rise especially in the United States. In spite of the benefits brought by the presence of the local police in the communities, their relationship with the minority groups has always led to violent engagements. For example, in the US, the African Americans have been the fatalities and the recent scrutiny of their victimization came to spotlight after Ferguson’s incidence where Michael Brown, a black teenager was shot dead in 2014. These constant tensions between the police and the minority communities are propagated by numerous typical vices in the society such as robbery, street fights, drug peddling and domestic violence, which prompt the police to intervene with excessive force. Thus, the debate on the justification of the excessive use of force always split into two sides as the proponents argue that the application of excessive force is appropriate in some cases, whereas the opponents maintain that excessive use of police force that amounts to citizen harassment and extrajudicial killings is never appropriate.
In the U.S., there are many instances of protests and revolts where the citizens complain about police brutality. All these demonstrators have the impression that the victims of police brutality do not deserve the kind of treatment they receive. Many activists have linked the aspect of racism to police brutality as statistics indicates that the African Americans suffer the most in the hands of excessive use of police force. Additionally, the opponents strongly disagree that it is justifiable to use excessive force on defendants under exceptional circumstances such as the nature of the crime, safety of the situation and resistance to arrest because police always anticipate to encounter such instances. For these reason, the police should be having an appropriate approach to exercise their responsibility without using excess force. The citizens expects the police to protect and defend the country as their enumerations comes from the taxpayers’ money, instead, many are left feeling uncomfortable and alert at the presence of police. The Videos that have been surfacing across the social media showing people being harassed and even shot confirms the injustices perpetrated by the police. To tackle this problem, the police department needs a national reform that will address police accountability whenever they commit any sort of misconduct in the line of duty.
On the other hand, the proponent of police brutality assert that the use the excess force is inevitable because of the nature of the job. They hold on the argument that officers are trained enough to identify any safety threatening incidence and defendant’s actions that may amount to resist of arrest. When a defendant act in any manner that may threaten the safety and life of an officer, an application of excess force is justifiable as the reactions will be deemed lawful and considered a police judgement. According Prusinski, police should not be blamed when they act with excess force because they are obliged to make split-second judgments in tensed, rapidly evolving and violent situations. The rapid decision making instances often result to overreactions or disproportionate use of force. In addition, another proponent argues that officers respond to take action that might amount to excess force when their emotions tipping point explodes and the situations at hand has intensified. Therefore, as many people have the impression that police actions are characterized by brutality, the available video evidences reveals that officers’ actions are either justified and does not constitute brutality.
Concisely, the splitting and unending debates on police brutality has some harmonious solutions. All these street riots from the minority groups suggest that it is a serious problem and cannot be overlooked. The officers’ service are appreciated and protected by the law but they should not take advantage of their positions to perpetrate brutality. The law enforcement process requires a complete national reform and one way is to hold police accountable every time they act with excess force.