Ypsilanti

Power used against you

Have you or a loved one experienced being assaulted by a police officer and nothing happening as a result? Police brutality is a civil rights violation that occurs when a police officer acts with excessive force to a civilian. Police officers have killed 1,165 people in the past year, and blacks are 3 times more likely than whites to be killed by a police officer, according to The Root. The same civilians who took an oath to keep their city safe can easily abuse or kill you. This is a severe problem in Michigan and can be changed. Change won't come easy, but with the support of other civilians, it is possible.

 

Last year saw a 50% year-over-year increase of police-involved shootings in Michigan, according to the Detroit Free Press. Twenty-seven states including Michigan have "stand your ground" laws, which state that if someone feels threatened, they have the right to shoot without being charged with murder. Just because someone felt threatened does not mean people should be able to end another's life with the snap of a finger. Some police officers have used this law to get out of sticky situations. When are police officers going to start doing their job?

 

I conducted an interview with Ava Washington, a person who has changed my views on police brutality. I decided to interview her because her opinion on topics such as this one gives me a different perspective. Some say police officers are racist, but some say the opposite.

 

"Police brutality is both racist and non-racist," Washington says. "It all depends on the police officer.”

 

The victims themselves are not the case here. It's all about the police officer. The police officer chose to be aggressive, not the other way around. For example, in the '60s, police officers were spraying black people with fire hoses because we wanted to have equal rights. They also had dogs chase and attack us.

 

Now, Washington says, "police officers have changed because breaking the law is more acceptable since then. Hate has been more acceptable because of our government officials."

 

I agree with this answer because in this past year, bad things have been happening and have been ignored. Today our society accepts anything. I've witnessed police brutality right in front of my own eyes.

 

I witnessed police brutality in September of 2018 while I was just walking with my friend to another friend's house. We were talking and laughing until we saw and heard two police cars chasing after someone. One car pulled over near my friend and I. We noticed what had just happened and decided to see what was going to happen next. Two police officers walked out of their cars and stepped toward the pulled-over car. A few minutes later, a police officer grabbed the driver's shirt and pulled him out of the car. My friend and I were so shocked. It was our first time seeing something like this up close. I was as frozen as a popsicle while my friend used her phone to record what was going on. The police officer forced the driver to lie on the ground, but the driver didn't comply with the officer's orders. I couldn't look away. The police officer then tackled the driver on the hard concrete, put handcuffs on him, and drove off. I had to take in what I had just witnessed. I had to understand that police brutality is a real problem.

 
Some people may believe that police officers aren't being racist, but strictly doing their jobs. Police officers are not doing their jobs. If they were, then the number of black victims of police brutality would not be so high compared to the number of white victims. Body cameras on police officers' uniforms also provide evidence that police officers primarily target one race.

 

For change to happen, first we need gun control. Guns are the crucial element to this situation. Having gun control laws will decrease the number of instances where guns are pointed at you.

 

Secondly, for police brutality to end there must be stricter rules for the police force. If a police officer was abusing a woman and it was brought up to the officer's boss, the officer would immediately be suspended. Police officers' bosses needs to be stricter because if they were being accused of police brutality, they wouldn't do anything.

 

Thirdly, police officers need to own up to their own actions. Don't try to lie your way out. By just telling the truth, the process would be a lot easier.

 

I also want to spread this message. I want to be safer in this hard world. To not repeat history we need to contribute to these powerful messages that are being said. I want to start a hashtag. Important people with good reputations must start to spread awareness, then protest for change. The time is now. If we do this later on in life, then the whole purpose of this will lose its meaning.

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