Police brutality is still targeting black people


Miles Jordan, [email protected]

The day of Sept. 6 2018 reopened an issue America has been trying to handle for the last couple of years: police brutality.
Dallas police officer, Amber Guyger fatally shot 26-year-old Botham Jean in his own apartment, sparking the conversation again.
The conversation being whether or not police brutality is still a prevalent issue that black people must face. The conversation should not be around whether or not police brutality is a thing, it needs to be about how we are going to change policing to a point to counteract these issues. The conversation should not ever be about if it exists.
Police brutality exists and will not stop existing in the way policing works today. For police brutality to ever end, we would need to redo policing in its totality.
The reason why these events keep happening are twofold:
1) racism. The way black bodies are seen in America as expendable, from the middle passage of the slave trade to the United States using Black men as experiments for untreated syphilis to Richard Nixon’s domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman admitting that the war on drugs was intended to attack black people.
The levee system in New Orleans is another example, the worst quality of levees was in highly populated black areas. The examples go on and on to show how America has treated black people.
The second reason, though, is stress. America being historically against mental health awareness has put police officers in a horrific situation.
Police officers are expected to deal with the stresses of the job every day. These people see and experience situations that most humans will never understand. Most people will not see domestic violence or a murder victim but the officers do. According to American Anxiety and Depression Association, police officers are more likely to be alcohol dependent, to be in abusive relationships, and to get divorced.
Around seven point three percent of citizens are alcohol dependent, for police officers this rate balloons to 25 percent. Similarly, officers are two to four times more likely to be in abusive relationships and these relationships end in divorce 75 percent of the time.
Police officers need help with these issues and absolutely should get that help. The issue though is their anxieties, depressions and abuse problems do not excuse events like what happened to Jean especially when considering these same reasons do not excuse the people who end up dead. The late Laquan McDonald is a great example. Both McDonald and the officer who shot him, Jason Van Dyke had documented mental health issues. McDonald had post-traumatic stress disorder and having previous issues with the law like drug possession.
Van Dyke, on the other hand, had 20 reported citizen complaints, 10 of which were excessive force two included a firearm. Van Dyke lost a case in which he used excessive force and the person who sued was awarded $350,000. On the night Oct 20, 2014, McDonald would die by the gun of Van Dyke after McDonald was walking down the highway with a knife.
McDonald damaged the patrol vehicle’s windshield and attempted to slash a tire but did cooperate. Van Dyke seemingly didn’t care because after 30 seconds on the scene he unloaded his clip and shot McDonald 16 times in the back.
Sadly, McDonald is not the only person, specifically black person who this has happened to.
Tamir Rice has been gunned down by police officers in Cleveland. Sandra Bland died in suspect circumstances after being arrested.
No officers got in trouble for either case. Van Dyke is just now in trail nearly four years later after McDonald died.
Police officers must be held accountable for their actions even if they have mental health issues.
Police officers themselves must hold each other accountable as well. There is a well documented blue badge of honor. Officers will protect officers from trouble but not the general public.
Mental health issues or not, police officers cannot continue to shoot as a response. There are so many cases of officers being threatened and not shooting, yet there are the Tamir Rice’s who were not doing a thing.
Police officers must be held accountable for their actions even if they have mental health issues.
No person deserves to die by the gun of the police, who are meant to serve the community and protect the community.
Guyger’s killing of Jean needs to set that precedent as there is no plausible explanation that excuses Guyger of killing Jean at his apartment after she attempted to get in. Mental health, poor training, whatever does not excuse another death of a black body by the hands of the police. These actions must stop and until we overhaul policing police brutality will be here to stay.