PoliceBrutality: An Uphold of the Fourth Amendment
PoliceBrutality: An Uphold of the Fourth Amendment
Overthe years, the matter regarding police brutality towards AfricanAmericans has remained under the media’s spotlight. From theprovocative death of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African American male, by an associate of a neighborhood sentry group in 2014, camethe birth of ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement that has propelled thefight against police brutality ever since. The present daystatistics have proved to be inefficient in giving a full account ofthe cases of police brutality (Begley, 2015). The number of casesinvolving police brutality that take place daily remains unknown.However, it is undeniably clear that the number of African Americansbeing killed by Caucasian police officers is linked to the FourthAmendment as the Graham V. Connor case of 1989 demonstrates.
Inthe year 1989, the court specified that the equanimity of a preciseapplication of force needed to be arbitrated from the view of asensible officer present on the scene and not with the 20/20hindsight vision. From this notion, the court placed the judgment ofpolice accused of brutality in the hands of a fellow officer.Therefore, the argumentative question raised regards whether the ideacontributes to the increase in the killing of African Americans bypolice officers. This paper presents a contentious discussion on thereasons behind police brutality and the cases. By evaluating recentcases of police brutality towards African Americans, the paperfocuses on identifying whether the Fourth Amendment has an effect onthese situations in the society.
Researchhas shown that police brutality has increased during the last decade.The objective lens that evaluates whether an officer was right or notjudges him/her through the eyes of another staff member (Cassisi,2016). In the example of the case of Graham v. Connor, OfficerConnor assumed that Graham was a shoplifter. His views and interestswere overlooked and judged from the eyes of another officer in regardto the degree of rational nature that the officer evaluated thesituation. Facts make force reasonable. In any case, an officer isgiven the authority to act according to his senses at givensituation. One would argue that Officers have been allowed topractice seizure if they assume there is the need to. Since thefederal government allowed for the right to arms in the constitutionof America, the number of guns in citizens` possession haveincreased. Similarly, with the growth in the possession of guns inthe society, America has experienced increased gun violence resultingin a huge number of crimes and deaths (Begley, 2015).
Duringthe seizure, modern day police officers are at times forced to gunfight criminals, which result in violence and killing. Evaluating theright that an officer has in such a situation, it is evident thatthese murders may take place as a result of criminals fighting backat the time of arrest. A police officer is expected to shout “Stop”or “Gun down” during a seizure but when prompted otherwise herhas a right to pull the trigger in self-defense. Research in caseswhere police officers have shot criminals during seizure has shownthat most them claim self-defense as the principal reason. As aresult of the increased violence in the streets of America, the courthas no option but to dismiss such cases. An article by Officer BenMathews, a victim of violence and resistance of arrest, states thatsome criminals may even attempt to fight back. When throwing jabs andfists everywhere, the officer as protected by the law must be able toprotect him/herself and his fellow members. However, since timeimmemorial the American Society has fought with the idea of racismespecially towards people of color. Statistics have shown that forevery ten black male inmates arrested only one is white.
Thepolice administration has been a target of the media, being accusedof brutality and killing against black Americans (Bernish, 2016).Therefore, is it possible that the Caucasian Officers hide behind theright to use force in the situation of arrest? One would go furtherto argue that it is possible that officers may practice brutalityassuming the protection of the law. For an officer to be arrested andconvicted of the wrongful use of force in a situation, the courtrequires the word of a sensible fellow officer. In cases where anofficer has been accused of brutality and murder during an arrest,the chances of a fellow Caucasian officer testifying are veryminimal. Therefore, the law has no other option than to overlook thecase. In the instance of Graham v Connor, Graham attempted to sue theofficers, but his case was dismissed. A critical evaluation of thiscase shows that Graham had attained injuries and could have almostdied if the problem was significant.
Officersholding different agendas hide under the umbrella of the constitutionand can conduct arrests and seizures whichever way they want. In therecent past, the war on racism has taken a different notch. Theschool, the newspaper, the movies, and the entertainment keepdiscussing the act of racism in regard to police brutality. However,is it right to blame Officers for using force? With the increase inviolence and crime in the society, police officers are prone topractice less of talking and more of seizure techniques. The Americansociety has witnessed different suspects resist arrest to the pointof a gun fight, or a run that apparently puts the other people indanger (Cassisi, 2016). A CCTV video footage from New York shows asuspect resisting arrest and fighting the officer. The suspect, awhite Caucasian male, takes a member of the public as a hostage anddrives away at 140mph on a busy highway. The suspect running from thepolice collides with another car, causing the death of 4 innocentmembers of the society. Therefore, one would argue that the currentsituation has prompted officers to result in the use of force for thebetter community. On the other hand, the element of police brutalitytowards black Americans has been evident since the end of slavery.
Mostofficers hide behind the law and conduct arrests using force evenwhen the situation does not demand so. The assumption that blackmales are criminal activity oriented has left police officers blindwith racism, as they misjudge the people of color. The constitutionprovides a platform where officers can get away with any act whetherresponsible or irresponsible. An officer will kill and hide behindthe law, and if he can do so, then it follows that the community aswell as the constitution fuels and creates a platform for policebrutality.
Inconclusion, this paper presented a contentious discussion on thereasons behind police brutality and the cases witnessed in America.The paper holds the thought that majority of the police officersinvolved in the genocide of the African American men hide behind thelaw. The Fourth Amendment seems to aggravate the problem andsomething needs to be done to reduce the cases of police brutality.America is regarded as the land of all dreams and racial killingshould never be part of the civilized society. While the 1989 caseseems to have set a bad precedence for the current force, embracingunity and prosperity will lead to a decrease in the killing of theAfrican Americans.
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