By Austin Cates

What is justice? The police are a symbol of justice, but they have developed a stigma of brutality. Is it accurate? Matt Pizzola, a police officer, says that the reason he became a police officer is that he, “…always wanted to help out and be a leader. I have always wanted the opportunity to help protect people.” He also said that he, “did not like people being bullied. And because he was mentally and physically able he obligated himself.” He considers the reasons for police misconduct to be bad morals or a lack of training.

When living in a country with a background so embedded with racist and prejudiced values it is sad but necessary that we ask: Was this a racist or prejudiced act? Mr. Mayberry says that “When police brutality does happen it seems to happen more to people of African-American [descent].” AOL.com says that “Black Americans are more than twice as likely to be killed during a police encounter than whites.” In some cases, it may be a matter of coincidence and situation more than anything, but for every light, there is an equal shadow. As citizens of the United States, it is our duty to stand up for justice; to stand up for change. If you simply leave it to the next person, then as a society we have already lost.

But where should we be more concerned? After all, some places are way worse than others. John, a local councilor, says he thinks, “It seems that police brutality happens more in big cities”. A higher demand for police and higher stress with more harassment could be part of the problem. Although no one can truly know what’s in their heads. There are two sides to every coin and multiple sides to every story. Everyone’s reality is different therefore their perception of justice will be too. 

The hateful views of today are a product of the past resold in the now. Motives vary and we can’t know for sure what these reasons are. The ultimate decision of morality is up to the masses (you), but look at the facts. Take time, think it through, take action, speak up. AOL.com says that “More than 920 people have been killed by police in 2015.” Police enforce justice, but as citizens of the US we preserve and protect it. Heroes are not born heroes: they are bystanders who took action. Who stood strong for a righteous cause, for better or worse. A hero is made from a split second decision without letting fear get in the way, so stand up.