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Black People and The Police in America

Image Source: Chandan Khanna / AFP via Getty Images

Portrait of George Floyd and Daunte Wright at the protest in Brooklyn over the police shooting and death of Duante Wright. It led protests over the black people killings by the police in the US.

Again a recent killing by police of a young Black American Patrick Lyoya sparked the controversy against brutal police killings.

Black lives matter protest
Image Source: Cory Morse / Activists rally for Patrick Lyoya/ Protest for killing of Patrick Lyoya a 26 year old black man 

Black people account for 13% of the population in the USA but counting is 27% when it is the police who fatally shot dead people in 2021, according to a report by a non-profit research group, Mapping Police Violence, that keeps track of police shootings.

Police are becoming a jury, judge and executioner all one on the spot and killing on average 1100 people each year since 2013.

Also Read: Black Lives Matter Protests Continue in The US

Research shows that with this rate of police killings, one in every 1000 Black Americans can expect to be killed by the police.

People of colour are more often being stopped, searched, inquired and arrested by the police for exhibiting a behaviour that is very much similar to their White counterparts. This shows the racist undertone of the existing Criminal Justice System and the police behaviour.

It simply means that black people are more vulnerable to being shot and killed by the police than White people.

George Floyd’s death in 2020 generated a worldwide anti-racial campaign “Black Lives Matter” against racial injustice but data shows that police killings of black people have actually increased in the last two years.

According to the Washington Post, police killed 999 people in 2019, 1,021 people in 2020 and 1,055 people in 2021. The number of deaths by police shootings is increasing each year.

It shows how police and the system never get impacted by the brutal actions against innocent lives. Even voices against such irresponsible and brutal behaviour against police do not result in less brutality. 

White supremacy is harmful to the people of colour in policing or any other part of the system and administration.

Also Read: White us, Brown us, Black us!

The 2020 Confidence in Institutions survey shows that 56% of White Americans have confidence in police while only 27% of Black Americans have trust in the police. 

61% of Black Americans and 41% of White Americans show confidence in the criminal justice system of the country.

This low confidence in the police and criminal justice system depicts racial differences. 

Need Re-evaluation, Redefinition and Reform in Policing Policies and the Criminal Justice System

  1. Police officers involved in the killings of people without solid causes that are based on facts and rule of law should be immediately sacked from their post and barred from any future entry into the police. Officers must be held accountable for their reckless behaviour.
  1. Police need strict training and instructions to mingle with the Black community to understand their grievances and let them feel equally safe and secure as the White people without any discrimination.
  1. Police always need information and support from the community to better deal with crimes and criminals. The opposition of a particular community can be dangerous for the state’s security in the context of rising extremism and terrorism.
  1. The US should not expand its police forces if the killings are going to persist and increase at this rate. Rather more focus and budget are required for police reforms. Contrary to this the US President, Joe Biden has proposed a budget of $30bn for law enforcement and police crime prevention efforts through expansion of the police force and community policing. While he proposed just $367m for police reforms. This difference represents the lacklustre attitude of the Government alike toward an ethical, sympathetic and just policing system that is urgently required.
  1. The central point during rallying for George Floyd was to cut the police budget. Even some cities responded by cutting the police budget. But increase in gun violence and homicide forced the administration to raise the police budget. In this regard, it is important to do better in services for the homeless people rather than using force against them. Areas suffering from basic housing facilities face more crackdowns on law enforcement. Hence, working on the core issues can provide the solution to a high law enforcement rate instead of an increased police force or budget.
  1. Research shows that an increased police budget results in increased police arrests even for low-level offences. And a number of police killings show that police shoot and kill people for very petty crimes.
  1. Community policing can not be successful without a trusting relationship being created between the police and the community members. Only the active involvement of the community can make community policing effective.
  1. The Criminal Justice System and police system bring trust in people when it is built upon the founding ideals of equal treatment under the law and safety first for citizens with zero discrimination.
  1. Community-oriented policing and anti-violence policies need to take place.

What Can You Do?

Demand Justice for each life that has been taken by the unjust means and brutality of the police.

Inquire state authorities and record every act of injustice and spread it. But keep your safety first before any recording acts.

Report any act of discrimination to the law agencies and seek justice.

You have the right to live in an environment having equality with and equal protection of laws.

Points to Ponder Upon!

We need to find out the root cause behind the police’s mindset when they shoot at the people, differentiate between Black and the White people and how they perceive and receive their police training. 

It is time to make the whole system completely just, fair and responsible towards its citizens without being ignorant of the racial, ethnic, regional or any kind of injustice that is based on inhumane, illogical and brutal dogmas and mindsets. 

Police need to understand that they are the caretaker of peace and safety. How can they be so brutal and irresponsible? 

Furthermore, it is dangerous for a country to make a huge part of its population feel alienated and like second-class citizens. Foreign actors can take advantage of such situations to lure people suffering from such discrimination to act malicious and terror activities against the state or its people and infrastructure