Essay on Police Violence And Police Brutality

1080 Words Oct 1st, 2014 5 Pages
Structured police forces as we currently know them have been around for about 150 years. Prior to that, cities were looked out for by a few men who wandered the streets in the evening hours, calling out the time or weather conditions. Over a 30-year period after 1845, nearly every major city in the United States developed an organized police department (Lane, 1971; Platt et al., 1982). The early police departments were marked by corruption, inefficiency, and an overall lack of professionalism (Walker, 1977). Workforce standards were almost non-existent, and in most cases, officers gained employment through political relations. Officers enjoyed little citizen respect and often relied on violence to control the disorder and force compliance. Acts of police brutality largely went unpunished, and served to increase open public hostility towards the police (Kelling & Moore, 1988; Walker, 1992).
Before beginning a significant conversation of police violence, we must first define what actions constitute the misuse of force. While this may seem to be a fairly basic issue, no clear definition exists. Sayings such as “police brutality” and “excessive force” can trigger very different images for different people. The police may have one definition of what behaviors constitute “excessive force”, the courts another, while citizens’ viewpoints may be shaped by race and/or social class (Adams, 1995). Some citizens, and especially minority citizens, include verbal abuse and rudeness under…

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