Police Brutality In America

By : Amaya Flaherty-Lewis

12/31/99

OPINION

In 2017, police killed 1,147 people, 25% of which were black. Despite being 13% of the population, black individuals are twice as likely to be killed by a police officer while being unarmed in comparison to a white individual, states The Guardian. According to Fatal Encounters, in the U.S., a police officer takes a citizen’s life every 7 hours. These statistics speak for themselves – there is a major issue of police brutality that ties to racism in America. But what is the solution?

Despite the efforts of many such as a massive public outcry and the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality against people of color continues. To solve this worrying issue, we need to first look to the cause for this effect. One of the major reasons is because we, as a society, have focused on being more reactionary than proactive. To delve deeper, we have to understand that police brutality against people of color – especially black and brown individuals – is not a new phenomenon that just started existing. In a lot of ways, police brutality in America currently mirrors the lynching of black people that took place in the 19th century.​​​​​​​​

Police brutality against all people of color such as African-American, latinx, Native Americans, and more should be framed for what it is -- a structural racism and white supremacy issue. Racism systematically runs deep within our own justice system, and has been for years and years. Societally, racism is normalized in ways we often times cannot see, as it has been so engrained into our perspective, viewpoints, and life in general, that we see it as something which it is not: normal. This, in no way, shape, or form, should be considered normal.

So, again, how do we solve this problem? There are several ways that we as individuals can contribute to the solution. Firstly, you must educate yourself. Internalized racism affects too many. Learn about how structural racism and white supremacy operates within institutions, policies, and laws. Advocate and support criminal justice reform, demilitarization of police officers, and decriminalization of behaviors such as loitering and minor traffic violations. Support movements such as Black Lives Matter and raise awareness of police brutality. Document the deaths, and remember the names of the individuals that our police have brutally murdered. Lastly, regardless of your field work, evaluate whether policies or laws have unintentional negative consequences for people of color.

In conclusion, police brutality is a major issue in America that needs to be solved now. We should all acknowledge it, reprimand police officers for their so called “enforcement of justice”, and work together to end it. This kind of behavior by the people who were supposed to protect us is somewhat intolerable. If you’re tired of innocent children being murdered by hateful and arrogant men, then do something about it.