By: Connor Wagner
Countless accounts of police brutality have been reported in recent years, but are the police the ones to blame for this rise in brutality?
There are over 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers in the US alone, so the probability of someone being abusive is likely. In 2013 there was over 1.16 million violent crimes reported in the US. Officers are at high risk of being harmed or killed. Over 20,000 US officers have been killed in recent years. The intensity of a police officer’s job is very high and the fear of losing their life is always a factor.
The media always reports on the bad cases that police do, so the effect is that the media portrays police are bad, overall the consumers jump on this unrealistic bandwagon. Although there were many true reports of police brutality that deserved to be reported on, they create a negative generalization of police.
Police are not recognized enough for their good deeds such as when officers Troy Smith and Ryan Vogel helped a family in Denver find a hotel they couldn’t afford. Or when an officer named Jason Roby from the police department of London, Kentucky decided not to arrest a shoplifter who was trying to steal baby formula for his baby. Instead of arresting him and sending him to jail, Roby decided to buy the man several cans of baby formula.
Good deeds are, however, easily overlooked because of the popular news reports on police brutalities. One example is when police officer Michael Slager shot and killed Walter Scott an innocent black man. Slager was also caught on video apparently planting his taser on Walter’s body and accusing him of stealing it. Cases like this don’t just reflect badly on Slager it reflects badly on police all over the country. It’s cases like this that create derogatory prejudices and stereotypes of our law enforcement officers that protect and serve our country.
Police are not all bad and the ones that are should get the rightful punishment they deserve, like when Slager was charged for murder. It’s unfair, however, to jump to conclusions that all cops are crooked or abusive or racist due to how the media portrays cops. Staying knowledgeable on the intensities of a law enforcement officer’s job is also important to consider while reading about brutalities. Finally, think about what you would do in a dangerous situation such as a robbery or a shooting where you may have to make quick decisions. It may change your perspective on how you view police from now on.