Police Tactics and Failure Causing Harm to Society
To (Insert Name)
Dear (Insert Name)
Subject: POLICE TACTICS AND FAILURE CAUSING HARM TO SOCIETY
I hope this letter finds you and your office well. My name is Phillip Frazier, and I am writing to you concerning the increased usage of harmful policing tactics witnessed in the community. In the recent past, there has been an upsurge in civil movements, protests, and outcry from citizens, both locally and internationally, on the conduct and tactics employed by police officers. They have rendered police violence and its effects as a subject of public discourse. Many local citizens, especially citizens of color, have complained of the increased use of excessive physical force, verbal assault, and psychological intimidation meted against them and the community at large by police officers. The primary factor in increased police violence on a community and international level can be attributed to the adoption of force policies. The regulations marshal the rules that govern various levels and types of forces that police are allowed to use against citizens. Of crucial note is that these rules play an important role in the guidance and training of police officers. They also serve as a benchmark against which police are evaluated on the use of excessive force. In the recent past, force policies and tactics have precipitated and absolved police violence as not only a key moral or legal issue but also a crucial public health problem with significant impacts on the community. A public health crisis is upon us due to the increased mortality rates among people of color stemming from police violence compared to public violence levels. Men of color are dying at the hand of the police, with many more community members being severely injured. The use of police force has resulted in community members developing adverse health outcomes as a result of coming face to face with this brutality. According to Alang et al. (662), the health outcomes range from increased mental health issues among young men that stem from emotional trauma and anxiety from police violence. Furthermore, experts record an upsurge in increased stress, depression, and worry levels that have further led to community fragmentation. Therefore, compelling evidence reveals that the use of force tactics is a key public health crisis.
The concept of force tactics by the police goes way back. Excessive police force against civilians can be traced to the colonial era. Chaney and Robertson note that since Africans were forcibly brought into America and other white colonist countries, they often bore the brunt of racism and racial discrimination during enforcement of the law (481). Assessing the history reveals key incidents of police violence against people of color and other civilians. Some of them include the Watts Riots of 1965, the massive assault on African Americans in Harlem during the 1920s, and the ubiquitous law enforcement violence against Black women. Others include the astonishing beating of Rodney King and the battering of Amadou Diallo. However, the widespread use of police force on civilians is not only prevalent In the United States of America but other countries as well. Martin and Kposow (11) note that a common thread in incidences of police brutality is the recurrent theme of people of color being the primary targets. In the United Kingdom, many cases of police brutality have been documented. They include the 1984/85 UK miners protest and the 2010 students protest where police employed heavy-handed techniques, such as kittling, to disperse the crowd. The last decade alone has seen an upsurge in the number of force tactics across the globe. Some of the most prominent cases with reverberating effects felt worldwide include the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012 to the deaths of Ahmad Arbey, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd in 2020. Policing, in its very nature, is a global phenomenon. Police officers, both locally and across the globe have often been known to use excessive force tactics that result in the death and injuries of bystanders. Race, in its very essence, is a primary factor in police profiling. Chaney and Robertson (481) note that often, police brutality against African American people is because of the racial animus that they hold against them. Thus, many police view them as deserving of the harsh treatment meted against them.
The social capitalist theory holds that government institutions, including police departments, are key elements of political processes whose purpose is to serve the interest of the powerful and majority in society. The Marxist ideology claiming police want to maintain the status quo is prevalent though not broadly discussed. The overlay of race and class together determine police-civilian interactional dynamics. Kwon (2) notes that the economically disadvantaged and the politically marginalized people are more likely to report cases of police brutality than those higher up in the economic chain. As such, one can witness the rampant victimization of ethnic and racial minorities globally. Hence, though police brutality may seem like a small issue locally, it has massive impacts globally. The victimization of a certain racial-ethnic group is not only wrong but goes against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as noted by the United Nations. Every human being is born with certain equal and unalienable rights that cannot be taken away (McGuinness 751). Thus, by virtue of being born human, everyone is entitled to these rights, including the right to live devoid of discrimination. Increased instances of police brutality, especially among minority ethnic groups, intensifies racial discrimination that, in turn, creates social divide both on the local and global scales. People want to feel safe wherever they travel and protected from all atrocities. Most individuals do not want to be racially profiled for a crime that they may not have committed. Citizens want to trust that should anything happen to them locally and internationally; they can rely on the police to help them.
Therefore, without further effort and actions into research and substantive legal reforms, the everyday community crisis of poor police tactics will continue to worsen. Hence, policymakers need material interventions that are designed to categorically shift police practices away from the use of deadly engagement. The material interventions can range from the adoption of local policies and legal reforms that are designed to subtly disincentive aggressive police behavior during encounters with the public. The local polices and codes are designed in such a way that they tell an officer what to do in any encounter. Some of them negatively restrict a course of action by telling officers what they should not do while others positively endorse and articulate certain courses of action in an encounter. Some codes should categorically prohibit an officer from engaging in certain actions and situations, for instance, a chokehold. Therefore, I propose the adoption of a local community force policy that contains both affirmative and restrictive force polices. King advocated for the formation of the civilian oversight board that needs to assess police misconduct (98). Moreover, I propose that the structured force policy should be enshrined in key moral and legal philosophies, such as the sanctity of human life, reasonableness in the use of force, the lack of racial bias, the use of de-escalation tactics, and adoption of a verbal warning. Furthermore, I posit that the adoption of a force continuum coupled with annual capacity building on the use of forces will work. A publicly used force continuum will provide both law enforcement officers and the civilians with the key specification on how much force can be used at any time. Thus, a force continuum matrix will provide an excellent avenue through which officers can be held accountable by determining the levels of force used in relation to the resistance encountered. Overall, one of the major benefits of the adoption of key material interventions, including reforms on police violence escalation, will disrupt the current policing practices by overhauling deadly practices that continue to determine the valued lives and ones that warrant brutality.
Alang, Sirry, et al. “Police brutality and black health: Setting the agenda for public health scholars.” American Journal of Public Health, vol. 107, no. 5, 2017, pp. 662-665.
Chaney, Cassandra, and Ray V. Robertson. “Racism and police brutality in America.” Journal of African American Studies, vol. 17, no. 4, 2013, pp. 480-505.
King, Kevin. “Effectively implementing civilian oversight boards to ensure police accountability and strengthen police-community relations.” Hastings Race & Poverty LJ, vol. 12, 2015, pp. 91-120
Kwon, Jihyun, “Policing the Police: Public Perceptions of Civilian Oversight in Canada.” Race and Justice, 2020, 2153368720924560.
Martin, Nicole and Augustine J. Kposow. “Race and Consequences: An Examination of Police Abuse in America.” Journal of Social Sciences, vol. 15, no. 1, 2019, pp. 10.
McGuinness, Margaret E. “Peace v. justice: The universal declaration of human rights and the modern origins of the debate.” Diplomatic History, vol. 35, no. 5, 2011, pp. 749-768.