Over the recent years, the number of cases of police misconduct has significantly increased. Every year, the citizens of the United States plead guilty due to the fact that the grand jury is more likely to believe a policeman than a person who is accused of a crime. At the same time, there is no reason to consider the words of the police representatives to be a more reliable source. The recent period in the history of the country has witnessed an increase in the number of killings carried out by the police representatives. The paper investigates the police misconduct and justification of the killings that have taken place over the recent years.
After the tragedy that took place on September 11, 2001, the local and federal law enforcement agencies changed their policy to a more severe one as they are to resist any terroristic threats. These agencies have to inhibit the terroristic activity to secure the lives of ordinary citizens. However, this anti-terrorist strategy causes an increase in violence against the Americans. The article by Mint Press News Desk states that the representatives of the law enforcement agencies killed on average about three people per day. At the same time, only twenty-five officers died because of the injuries caused by firearms. Nowadays, an ordinary citizen is more likely to die from the police shooting than from a terroristic attack. There is also the risk to suffer from an erroneous implementation of firearms. Besides, the implementation of weapons does not take place only in big cities of the United States; it is the problem of the entire country.
One the incidence examples is the one that took place in New York when, according to Ariosto, the police attempted to neutralize a gunman outside the Empire State Building. The criminal was killed. However, at the same time, the police wounded nine bystanders that later appealed to the court. In the other case, as Hajela states, the police tried to capture an individual, who was under the influence of drugs, and shot two innocent bystanders by mistake. They made at least a dozen of shots but did not hit the culprit. These two events prove the existence of the culture of violence that exists in the law enforcement agencies nowadays. The quality of the police personnel has become significantly lower over the recent years. At the same time, the number of sexual assaults carried out by the representatives of the law enforcement agencies is increasing (Grigg). However, the exact number of such cases cannot be estimated due to the tendency to cover up such crimes.
There is number of other cases that confirm the tendency of police to opt for violent actions instead of resorting to the available less severe or not violent methods. According to website Killed by Police 2015, on March 10, a policeman in Atlanta killed a weaponless African American. The citizens of the residential area in Atlanta warned the police about a man who was running naked about the area and was knocking on the doors. After the arrival at the place, the policeman saw the naked man who ran towards him and did not stop on demand. The officer fired two shots and killed the man who did not carry any weapons. In this case, the policeman could solve the situation without the use of firearms but with the help of the psychological methods or alternative means of detainment.
On August 20, the police representatives in St. Louis killed an armed suspect. The incident took place when the representatives of the law enforcement agencies arrived at the culprit’s home with a search warrant. At the same moment, two armed men ran out of the building. One of them turned his gun towards the police representatives. One of the officers took three shots while the other made only one. The second individual managed to escape. In this case, the use of firearms was reasonable; however, the number of shots could be fewer, and they could target feet and not the vital organs.
On July 19, a policeman killed a driver in Cincinnati. A forty-three-year-old African American was stopped due to the violation of the traffic laws. A bit later, the policeman fired at the car and killed the individual. The officer received some minor traumas. The policeman stated that the driver tried to escape. In this case, the shooting had to target the wheels of the car but not the driver.
On May 30, the police representatives killed an African American in a public library in New Jersey. The individual was subjected to a manhunt for the violation of house arrest terms. The police officer recognized the culprit when entering the building of the library and tried to detain him. According to the police officer, the individual tried to resist the detainment and took out a knife when another policeman joined the process. The officers fired at him. The individual was brought to a hospital where he died. The police representatives did not receive any injuries. Here, the police representatives seemed to lack the practical skills to detain an individual without the use of firearms.
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Moreover, there are cases that demonstrate the consequences to which resorting to violence leads. Usually, they are the deaths of innocent people or those who do not actually pose a threat. On November 4, a six-year-old boy was killed as the result of the shooting in Louisiana. This accident took place when his father was being chased. The police representatives forced the culprit in the deadlock and started to fire when he rushed towards them. In the moment of shooting, the boy appeared in the way. The culprit received numerous injuries and was hospitalized; the boy died because of the head and thorax injuries.
On December 23, the representatives of law enforcement agencies in Delaware shot a disabled individual. The person was threatening the police with a gun. The law enforcement agencies received a message about a man carrying a weapon. The local authorities state that when the police arrived at the place, they found a disabled young man who was holding a gun and refused to give up. The police representatives state that when they asked the individual to give up, he started raising his hand with the gun. At the same time, the police representatives started shooting. In this case, the officers could have avoided using their weapons and used the psychological methods or alternative means of detainment instead.
One of the real reasons for the increase in shooting is the fact that over the recent years, police received awards for a high number of detainments, searches, and arrests. In the process of struggle against drug dependence, the federal programs, such as “Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant”, assist the governmental and local law enforcement agencies in increasing the arrests for drugs to receive the financial support (National Criminal Justice Association). The law enforcement agencies receive awards depending on the number of cases despite the importance of the case and the weakness of the evidence. Thus, the police try to increase their numbers. As a result, they consider the processual norms to be only a formality; the number of cases concerning perjury and facts misinterpretation is constantly increasing. Numerous scandals concerning perjury and drug flipping were connected with the programs that were financed by the federal government and the aim to generate income. Furthermore, even if there is no financial benefit, the police officers are under pressure of quotas and possible evidence that may increase the productivity of their work. The exposure of lies that are told in the law enforcement agencies is a complex task. Police officers do not often reveal their deceit or the deceit of the other personnel. Partially, this situation takes place under the influence of a code of silence that is basic for the law enforcement agencies.
All these facts prove that the police in the United States exercise their power in cases when its use can be avoided. The aim of the national government to prevent the possible terroristic attacks poses a threat to the lives of ordinary American citizens. The cases of shootings show that the conduct of the police is not always reasonable. Aiming at the prevention of potential crimes, the police representatives commit crimes themselves and justify such cases with the need for self-defense. However, it is necessary to develop new strategies for the crime prevention that will allow the implementation of firearms. Such weapons do not only cause damage to the culprits, but they can also pose a threat to innocent people, who appeared in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is also important to investigate the issue of the police prejudice. In the majority of cases, it is used to cover up the unreasonable violence. The police officers should have a guarantee of the legal basis for their actions; however, such activity should not violate the norms of the legislation. In this case, the police representatives will receive the right to prevent the crimes and to avoid prejudice.
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Over the recent years, the number of the cases of police misconduct has significantly increased. The representatives of law enforcement agencies may cause harm to ordinary American citizens by accidental shootings. At the same time, the number of culprits` deaths may also be reduced with the implementation of the alternative means of detainment. The law enforcement agencies in the country also face a problem of the prejudice that appears as the result of the governmental programs that make investments according to the number of the discovered cases. The police in the country require significant reforms to guarantee the security of each citizen and to provide itself with more credibility.