Police Brutality?


Hart Van Denburg

People protesting against police brutality

Police brutality has become a big problem. Many Black communities don’t feel safe. One example of this problem is the George Floyd case. In this case a police officer had Floyd pinned to the floor while his elbow was on Floyd’s neck. Floyd had told the police that he couldn’t breathe but the officer didn’t stop and killed him, according t0 britannica.com.

This is just the beginning. A second case, and another victim of police brutality, is Manuel Ellis. Ellis was walking home after shopping at a convenience store when a police officer slammed his car door into him (doesn’t say how the car was there). After the police officer did this, he and the other officer came out of the car and beat him to death. The officer was charged with first and second degree manslaughter.

The Ataiana Jefferson case:  Ataiana was in her home playing with her eight-year-old nephew when she was shot through her window by an officer. The officer said that she was responding to a call that Ataiana’s neighbor made saying that Jefferson’s door was open. The officer resigned from being a police officer and was charged with murder. 

The Stephon Clark case: Stephon was in his grandma’s backyard on his smartphone when a police officer saw him and shot him more than twenty times. The police officer reported that Stephon was holding a gun even though it was just his smartphone. The district attorney did not press criminal charges on the officer but Clark’s family received a $2.4 million dollar settlement.

The Philando Castile case: a police dash camera captures a police officer pulling over Philando’s car. Just a second later, it shows the police officer shooting Philando dead. Philando’s girlfriend captured all of this on Facebook live, saying that the officer shot him dead because he told the officer that he had a legal firearm in his car. All of this happened while their four-year-old daughter was in the car. The officer was acquitted of second degree manslaughter. The city reached a $3 million dollar settlement with Philando’s mom.

The Alton Sterling case: Alton was selling CDs and DVDs outside of a shop when two police officers came up to him, one confronted him while the other one went straight into action. The police officer that went into action tased Alton and then pinned him to the ground, threatening to shoot his head. While all of this was happening, the other police officer stood there doing nothing.  After the officer shot Alton six times in the head, the officer proceeded to call Alton “a mother******.” The officer was fired and the other officer was suspended for three days. There were no charges pressed.   (Al Jazera Interactive)

As you see, police brutality is a big problem for our community. People are scared around places where they should be safe. People feel like the law enforcement aren’t even doing their jobs, instead often abusing their power.  This is why we need to address this issue  to make our communities feel safe. If you go to this website right here, mappingpoliceviolence.org, you can see charts that indicate where police brutality is mostly happening and how many people were killed in our state and others too.