Police Brutality, Mass Shootings, What it means for the country and how it could be stopped

Justin Rimpi

In the last few years there has been a multitude of police shootings. This has put the American people on edge because of what they feel to be police abusing their powers and taking advantage of the citizens they have sworn to protect.
Citizens began questioning the concept of racial profiling and how it played into the arrests and ultimate killing of black youth by white policemen. This whole fear came to the forefront after the tragic death of Trayvon Martin in 2012. Mr. Martin was only 17 years old when he was ultimately shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.
This killing caused an uproar not only in Sanford, Florida, where Trayvon Martin was fatally shot, but also all over the United States. This also lead to a debate regarding the powers that law enforcement possesses. That argument does not hold water regarding the Trayvon Martin case though because Mr. Zimmerman was only a volunteer, not actually a law enforcement official. The bigger question this case raised was if neighborhood watch officials should be allowed to carry weapons. These people are certainly not trained as well as law enforcement officials, but they still get to carry weapons. Something about that seems not right in my opinion.
Mr. Zimmerman was ultimately acquitted by a jury of his peers, but the decision was definitely met with great scrutiny.
The fear of police abusing their power was accentuated by the death of Eric Garner in 2014 in Staten Island, New York. Staten Island is one of the five boroughs which combine to make up New York City. Before Garner was ultimately killed by Daniel Pantaleo and Justin Damico, both NYPD officers, he infamously proclaimed “I can’t breathe.” The two police officers pinned Mr. Garner to the ground, put him in a chock hold, and proceeded to handcuff him.
His tragic death was not only caused by one thing. In actuality it was cussed by a litany of issues according to the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office The choke hold which the officers engaged in to get Mr. Garner to the ground, the chest compressions when the police pinned him on the ground, and his poor health. This situation may have been even more controversial than the death of Martin because there was video of the incident. In the Martin case there was fortunately or unfortunately no video of the incident, depending on the side which one is on. The video showed footage that made it much more difficult to stand up for law enforcement. That was because it seemed to any semi-educated individual that Mr. Garner was being senselessly abused and taken advantage of.

A New York Grand Jury ruled to not indict the two officers whom were involved in the incident.
Currently, the shooting that has been in the news took place in the city of Chicago. Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times last year by an officer of the Chicago Police Department. Video has just emerged of the incident and it has caused major uproar. Mainly because the video shows the officer shooting McDoanld once the officer had previously shot him. The video also shows McDonald not approaching the officer, instead just walking near. The officer’s name was Jason Van Dyke.
What the video does not provide though is any audio regarding the incident. That means only two people know what truly inspired that night and unfortunately one of them is not alive to tell their side of the story.

Many political pundits and Chicago citizens alike are calling for the Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel to resign. The Mayor has said countless times that he will not resign over the city’s handling of this tragic case. It took just over a year for the video to be released and that has also caused a great deal of eyebrows to be raised.

All of these shootings regarding police abusing their power raises an even bigger problem for the nation. It means that the American citizens have lost all respect for their law enforcement officials. That will ultimately lead to even more shootings and the tragic death of individuals. That is because individuals will feel it is necessary to take matters into their own hands to protect themselves and their families. That will ring loud and clear in cities like Chicago and Baltimore which are essentially war zones. Chicago especially has long been known to be full of gang activity and these gangs are senselessly killing people. Baltimore and all of its brutality was brought to the nation’s doorstep in the case of Freddie Gray.

The issue of police abusing their powers also brings issue of Gun Control and all of its aspects to the forefront of society. Many people believe they should have the ability to practice their 2nd Amendment right which is to bear arms. They believe it is extremely essential in today’s society. Each and every day there seems to be another mass shooting whether it be police or any other individual.

I do not agree though that police are as bad as many people are claiming. The country already has enough crumbling morals and we could not afford such negative rhetoric towards policemen. Granted, the police and their power must be curtailed, but we still have to let them do their jobs. These people put their lives on the line each and every day to protect the citizens. Their job is to protect the citizens and that is what they should stick to doing.

Their job is hard enough already without all of this animosity being aimed in their direction. I believe the country must band together in support of all law enforcement officials instead of the other way around.

There is no easy way to bridge the differences between law enforcement officials and the people whom are calling for their heads on a platter. One way though is for all police departments to implement Dash Cams on all of their officers cars. For example, the United States citizens and jurors would get to see the raw footage of the McDonald case.

If all departments implement Dash Cams then hopefully law enforcement officials will learn from prior mistakes in an effort to prevent them from happening again in the future.

Most of these mass shootings seem to be occurring in America’s cities which house the most African-American citizens. For example, Chicago, Baltimore, and New York have high number of African-American citizens. If it is a coincidence then it is certainly one for the ages. It has been well-documented that African-Americans are not as wealthy as their Caucasian counterparts. The African-American citizens also are not as well-educated for the most part.

In their defense though, these cities do not make African-American success a high priority on their cities agenda. In order to give African-Americans a better opportunity to succeed they must be better educated, so they could stay off the streets. In these cities the streets are certainly not the safest places to spend their days and especially nights.

Legislators at the City, State, and National level must band together to create infrastructure for the people living in the inner cities. For example, better educational opportunities should be afforded to these people. Also, job training should be available as well. That will allow the inner city residents to get great employment opportunities and leave the dangerous areas.

In many of these inner city neighborhoods, generations upon generations of families are living in these areas. That is because they are not being afforded the opportunities to experience success. Unfortunately, legislators have failed the African-American people for way too many years.

It seems to me, a white onlooker, that the African-Americans have been neglected and subjugated to another life of poverty. If that is what it looks like from this side, I can’t even imagine what it must look like from that side. Poverty is an extremely vicious cycle and it is up to the government to break that vicious cycle.