Sample Criminal Justice Paper on Police Brutality

In the recent years, there has been an increase in the police brutality involving African-
Americans. This issue has gathered national attention. This is because many people believe that
the police are treating the African-American people unfairly. There has been a series of brutal
killings by the police and this has led to increased racial tension in the America because most of
the victims are African-Americans if not all of them.
In February 26, 2012 and male black aged 17 years old was shot and killed in Florida.
This was a young African American who was a high school student in Miami gardens. The name
of this boy was Trayvon Martin and the police who shot him dead was called George
Zimmerman. He was a watch captain in the boy’s neighborhood (Walen, 2001). Zimmerman was
ordered to report a suspicious person by the 911. Instead, he just decided to single out the boy
because of his color. He concluded that since the boy was black and was not walking objectively
in the area with a hoodie on, he qualified to be a suspect automatically. Zimmerman was ordered
not to approach the boy or even leave his vehicle but he decided to go against those orders and
decided to single the boy out. This act led to Zimmerman shooting and killing the innocent boy.
Zimmerman admitted that he shot the boy and claimed that he did that in self-defense (bazemore,
2006). The parents of the boy tried to seek justice but the police officer was set free in the year
2013 since he was not found guilty.
In the year 2014 august 9, another young black boy by the name Michael brown aged 18
years was shot dead by a white police officer. The name of the police officer who shot this boy
was Darren Wilson (Van Brunschot, 2002). The boy was shot at a place known as Ferguson in
Missouri. He was with his friend Johnson as they were leaving the market. The surveillance
cameras showed the boy stealing some cigarillos. Upon the capture by the surveillance cameras,


the police took action. When the police officer arrived he saw Michael was fit to be described as
a thief and decided to shoot him at the back. The reports show that that Michael was shot at the
back as he had turned around with his hands up showing that he had surrendered. The reports
further show that the statement, “hands up, don’t shoot” by the police was a lie because the boy
raised his hands up and was still shot. Even there is enough evidence that the boy did not have a
gun because he said, “I don’t have a gun, stop shooting” but the police went ahead to shoot the
boy which was very wrong (Reitzel, 2003). This shooting of Michael showed that the police
officer profiled the boy racially based on his color of the skin hence the assumption that he was a
In the year 2014 July 17, a man by the name Eric Garner, who was unarmed was choked
to death by an NYPD police. This man was aged 43 years, married, and father of 6 and had 2
grandchildren. It is reported that this man was asthmatic and he was subjected to a chokehold by
the police as the other colleagues hit his head against a beauty supply sore in Staten Island in
New York. This was a brutal killing as the man repeatedly screamed, “I can’t breathe I can’t
breathe” but the officer continued to press him in the same chokehold position until he became
unconscious and finally died (Monell, 2013). Upon the killing, the police officers documented a
fake evidence to show that the man was a suspect. They produced records which showed that the
man was to appear in court in October the same year for three charges. He was to answer cases
concerning possession of pot, possession and selling of untaxed cigarettes (Johnson and Kuhns,
2009). All this proves that the police system is America can find any dubious way to make an
innocent black man to look bad so that they can cover up their own brutality and inhumanity. In
the year 2015 December 12, the police shot Keith Childress. It is claimed that the US marshal


were conducting surveillance on this man. They requested for help from the metro when he fled
but eventually caught up with him. The police claimed that the man had an unknown object in
his hands and they assumed it was a gun hence shot him to death. In future the object turned out
to be a cellphone. However, no police officer was charged with the killing of Keith (Levin,Jack
and Alexander, 2005).
There has been a very close connection between the killing of the African-Americans and
the element of racial profiling (Darby and Saatcioglu, 2014). This is because many people who
die in America are blacks who are not even criminal. According to analysis, it shows that in the
year 2015 the young black men in America were 9 times likely to be shot by the police than the
other Americans. Moreover, it shows that 1134 deaths of the blacks that occurred in the year
2015 were at the hands of the police officers and other law enforcers. This is a biased killing
because despite the fact that the African-Americans make up only 2 % of the American
population, 15% of all deaths recorded in the year 2015 comprised of African-Americans aged
between 15 to 34 years. Moreover, all those deaths were as a result of use of brutal approach by
the police. It further shows that the rate of black’s death as a result of police confrontation was
five times more than for the white people of the same age (Darby and Saatcioglu, 2014). This
killing by the police is disproportionately affecting the black race alone and the biggest question
among the human rights activists is whether it is only the blacks who are criminals. It is also
funny how those white police officers get acquitted easily after killing a black American. This
has led to a series of strikes and protests which accuse the officers of being very fast in using
brutal approach when dealing with unarmed African Americans. According to my opinion, I
think that the police officers, who are mostly white together with other white law enforcing


officers have a racial prejudice when it comes to handling cases concerning the African
Americans and the other races. There has been many serious reports about the police biased
brutality when dealing with the blacks. However, majority of this cases do not receive the
required attention that is necessary to end such kind of practices. It is also very clear that this is a
racial profiled killing because of recent black movements that have emerged in an attempt to
voice this injustice. One of those movements is the black lives matter movement.



Bazemore, G. (2006) "Book Review: The Contexts Of Juvenile Justice Decision Making: When Race
Matters". Criminal Justice Review ,31.1: 82-84. Web
Darby, Derrick, and Argun Saatcioglu. (2014) "RACE, JUSTICE, AND DESEGREGATION1". Du Bois
Review: Social Science Research on Race ,11.01: 87-108. Web.
Johnson, Devon, and Joseph B. Kuhns. (2009) "Striking Out: Race And Support For Police Use Of
Force". Justice Quarterly ,26.3: 592-623. Web.
Levin, Jack, and Alexander R. Thomas. (2005) "Experimentally Manipulating Race: Perceptions Of
Police Brutality In An Arrest: A Research Note". Justice Quarterly ,14.3: 577-586. Web.
Monell, J. S. "Book Review: Hispanics In The U.S. Criminal Justice System: The New American
Demography". Race and Justice ,3.4 (2013): 358-361. Web.
Reitzel, J. (2003) "Book Review: Race And Justice". Criminal Justice Review ,28.2: 439-440. Web.
Van Brunschot, E. G. (2002)"Book Review: Lethal Imagination: Violence And Brutality In American
History". Criminal Justice Review ,27.2 : 386-388. Web.
Walen, Alec. (2001) "Reasonable Illegal Force: Justice And Legitimacy In A Pluralistic, Liberal
Society". Ethics, 111.2 : 344-373. Web.