Police-Minority Relations Essay

Police Brutality: A Minority Group Concern

"Relations between the police and minority groups are a continuing problem in many multiracial societies. Surveys consistently document racial differences in perceptions of the police, with minorities more likely than whites to harbor negative views." (Weitzer and Tuch, Race and Perceptions of Police Misconduct, 2004)

A great deal of society views law enforcement officers as heroic and honorable individuals, whose main purpose is to protect and serve the community. For many officers, this description is accurate, however for others; violence and brutality against innocent citizens is part of getting the job done. For years, minorities have fallen victim to police brutality based on racial profiling, stereotypes and other unjustifiable reasons that has cost innocent lives. The involvement of officers in police brutality against minority groups causes tainted and negative views on policing. This reduces their ability to protect and serve the community. Police brutality is a violent incident involving an officer and a victim, usually including excessive force, unnecessary violence and sometimes resulting in a senseless fatality. Minority groups such as African Americans and Hispanics have often been the victims of this form of abuse by officers, however little justice has been done in order to protect these individuals from this form of cruelty by the hands of those with the most power.

For many individuals, police brutality is a non-existent matter because it does not directly affect them or the community in which they live. Yet for others, this is an everyday occurrence and few limitations have been set as to what is unjust and malicious behavior of an officer towards the public, therefore, several officers are rarely prosecuted for this type of behavior. The significance of police brutality is a social problem that usually goes unrecognized or unreported. Racial profiling is an example of police brutality, which is defined by Gross and Livingston (2002) as “the practice of some officers of stopping motorists of certain racial or ethnic groups because the officer believe that these groups are more likely than others to commit certain types of crimes” (p.1413). Therefore, individuals are treated unfairly by law enforcement solely based on their race. This type of mistreatment is unmerited and ultimately a violation of an individual’s rights. However, in many instances the courts do not find it a violation of their civil rights based on the fact that racial profiling is difficult to prove. Often, prosecutors are disinclined in bringing forth a case against officers on this particular matter. Officers are permitted to stop and search individuals and their vehicles whenever there is reasonable suspicion, however, there has been studies that prove that some law enforcement officers restrict these rights primarily to minority groups. Bowling and Phillips found that although there was no formal monitoring of use of these powers, it was...

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Police Relations with Minority Ethnic Communities Essay

2908 Words12 Pages

Police Relations with Minority Ethnic Communities

The Macpherson report was published in 1999 amidst problems of racial inequality and a lack of faith in the police amongst minority ethnic communities. There is an ongoing debate on whether Macpherson’s report was a help or a hindrance with regards to minority ethnic relations and the police; it is this dispute that the essay shall examine. To begin with the paper will look at the problems, which existed prior to Sir William Macpherson’s publication and which led to the publication of his report. It will then proceed to examine the failures of the Scarman report, in order to look at both the prior problems and failures regarding the 1981 Scarman…show more content…

The Bradford riots in 1995, and other public outcries showed the growing animosity that was being felt toward the police by minority ethnic communities. Another factor, which led the opinions of minority ethnic citizens of the police to become additionally hostile, is the ever advancing statistical and research evidence of racism within the police force. In 1978 Stuart Hall et al showed most clearly how, largely on the basis of pre-existing stereotypes minority ethnic people (in particular black people) were being criminalized and subjected to extraordinary policing and punishment. Both these factors increased the feelings of hatred for the police amongst minority ethnic communities. This was then furthered by the subsequent failings of the Scarman report. These included his failure to explain properly in his report the main reason why black people were so angry with the police this was to do with the oppressive policing that they were being subjected to. He was unsuccessful in looking at police powers (particularly stop and search) (Bridges 1982, Howe 1988 cited in Bowling et al 2002) and most importantly he failed to take a proper account of ‘institutional racism’. Consequently because of the growing

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