The Reality of Police Brutality

The Reality of Police Brutality

The Reality of Police Brutality

If you’ve kept up with the media in the last year, you’ve probably heard of various cases of police brutality taking place in the United States. The most talked about of these nearly 400 killings per year, are the shootings of Michael Brown, an eighteen year old high school grad, who was shot by officer Darrel Wilson, and Eric Garner, a 43 year old father, and who was put in a chokehold by Daniel Pantaleo. However, keep in mind that these are just the cases that you’ve heard of. There are many others that haven’t received a trial, and that the public don’t even know about.

Police brutality is the use of excessive physical force by a police officer, it is often caused by systemic assumptions regarding racial stereotypes. In the United States, police officers are rarely indicted of crimes regarding police brutality. During a seven year study done at Bowling Green State University, out of 2,718 police committed homicides, only 41 officers were indicted. In nearly all of the recent police brutality cases, the victim wasn’t doing anything strictly illegal, they were mostly committing petty crimes or violating simple street rules, but were punished unfairly with death, solely because of the systemic assumption that came along with their race.

Michael Brown, a promising eighteen year old hailing from Ferguson, Missouri, was shot several times by Officer Darrel Wilson after he was caught stealing cigars from a store nearby. Brown was shot several times and was left on the street for hours afterward, as Officer Wilson retreated. The months following Brown’s death were filled with candlelight vigils, heartfelt protests, and the hopes of many people that this sort of criminal activity would finally end. The days preceding the announcement of the indictment were tense, but slightly predictable. Darrel Wilson hadn’t been indicted.

Eric Garner died as a result of an officer’s chokehold (which are illegal according to the NYPD), regarding as misunderstanding regarding a previously broken up fight. In the video taken of the incident, Garner is seen repeating the phrase “I can’t breathe” several times, each time meet to the general ignorance of the police officers. Although the NYPD attempted to put the blame on Garner’s health circumstances, the medical officials have ruled the case to be homicide, because of all the evidence pointing at the use of an illegal chokehold.

The events regarding police brutality in the past year have been brought out into the light because of passionate protesting, and an essential refusal to accept things as the way they are. Even though these events have been dire, and justice hasn’t actually been served, at least they have made people question equality in this country- is segregation really over?


Prathusha Yeruva hails from the Great Lake state and is currently a sophomore at Troy Athens High School. She has an interest in biology and journalism, as well as in female empowerment. She founded a She's the First chapter at her high school (an organization that sponsors girls' education in the developing world), and that opportunity has definitely given her a more developed lens on women's issues globally. In addition to writing for Her Culture, she also writes for the women's issues column at She Speaks Media. She challenges herself academically with AP classes, participates in a wide variety of clubs, and values her Indian culture. In her free time, Prathusha drinks an abundance of coffee, listens to indie bands, and uses ampersands & parentheses excessively. She's so excited to be writing for Her Culture! 


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