By law, the police have the right to use legitimate force if necessary to make an arrest, maintain order, or keep the peace. Sometimes the use of legitimate force goes too far. The use of excessive force is actually a violation of the law. One might say police brutality is a violent conscious act made by a police officer against persons who are considered to be a threat. Police brutality is defined as the use of excessive physical assault or verbal assault during police procedures, such as apprehending or interrogating a suspect.Deadly force is not always excessive force. However, when deadly force exceeds the force that is necessary to create a safe environment, it is considered police brutality.
In social psychology we learned about implicit biases. Implicit biases are stereotypes that we all have. There were many attitudes and beliefs in history that people were superior or inferior to one another based on the color of skin In that belief, brutality is ok because the inferior group doesn’t deserve to be treated any better. Police brutality is sometimes motivated by racial stereotypes. Law enforcement officers may believe that blacks and brown people are a bigger threat to their safety and the safety of others. Law enforcement officers who are already heightened awareness regarding their safety on the job may be even more anxious when confronting individuals who they prematurely perceive as violent or criminal. Other factors include discrimination and mistreatment of certain minorities in the judicial system. Those factors can lead to the incorrect belief that minorities are more likely to break the law.
Retired LAPD officer Mathew Horace recalls a time he responded to a domestic dispute in his book “The Black The Blue”. Before getting into the story, he explained that the officers were trained to say, “I feared for my life”. No one could ever prove weather or not they were really in fear. When the officers arrived to the house the caller had been in an altercation with his boyfriend. They happed to be a large black male. Leslie was his name. Horace recalled thinking how much work it would be if they had to get physical. Does being a large black male make you a bad person? A person’s implicit bias may tell them that a large black man is dangerous and not to take any chances.
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