Police Brutality – An Overview

Police Brutality has long been a topic of discussion, both in the United States and worldwide.  In our public syllabi, we aim to look at some of the many articles and other accounts that discuss police brutality.  From social movements such as #blacklivesmatter to the idea of racism within police brutality, we examine the many issues that have been raised.  How does a police officer decide when it is right to shoot?  How long has police brutality existed?  What other countries is police brutality occurring in?  Our public syllabi answers all these questions along with many others.

Reading List:

General Idea of Police Brutality:

Direct Cause of Police Brutality

Public Opinion Toward Police Brutality

The Feelings in Law Enforcement Process

Deep-rooted Causes

Stereotype in Law enforcement

Media

Negative Effect

Divided Society

Minorities Pressure

Surveillance: 

Solution

Social Movement

Education of Police Brutality toward Minorities

Global Police Brutality

Some Transformation

“We are all Oscar Grant”

Oscar Grant was shot and killed in 2009 by a police officer.  This exact moment was caught on video and was uploaded onto the popular video site, YouTube, allowing many to see it.  Although this event did not occur at the peak of the Black Lives Matter movement, it did begin a large discussion of police brutality against African Americans.  One important part of Jack Taylor’s article is that he looks at memorials created for Oscar Grant.  Memorials such as these allow for a permanent reminder of social issues within our country that cannot be escaped.

Link to Article:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/traa.12010/abstract

Reference:

Taylor, Jack. “‘We Are All Oscar Grant’: Police Brutality, Death, and the Work of Mourning.” Transforming Anthropology, vol. 21, no. 2, Oct. 2013, pp. 187-197. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/traa.12010.

 

 

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Creating Space for the “Uncomfortable”

How do we begin to talk about issues like police brutality?  Despite it’s relevance in society, it is not an easy topic to discuss.  It is something that needs to be brought up though in order to draw attention to the problems and create solutions.   In the wake of the killing of Michael Brown, Felicia Mitchell was directly engaged with this problem as she was teaching a social work class regarding culture.  With such a controversial topic, it is hard to know how to go about discussions.  Mitchell took this as an opportunity to inform students about all that was going on.  Her article gives a great layout as to how difficult things such as the shooting of an innocent young man and police brutality can be handled in the classroom.

Link to Article:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304825272_Creating_Space_for_the_%27Uncomfortable%27_Discussions_about_Race_and_Police_Brutality_in_a_BSW_Classroom

Reference:

Mitchell, Felicia M. “Creating Space for the ‘Uncomfortable’: Discussions about Race and Police Brutality in a BSW Classroom.” Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping, vol. 21, no. 3, Summer2015, pp. 4-9. EBSCOhost, ezproxy.rollins.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=sih&AN=117024076&site=ehost-live&scope=site.

 

 

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Social Movements Against Racist Police Brutality

This article focuses on police brutality in one specific area, Prince George’s County in Maryland.  In this specific location, there have been many instances of police brutality that have involved people of color.  Hutto and Green argue that police brutality exists because of capitalism and that police “are agents of capital and will continue to demonize, criminalize, and disproportionately punish and oppress African Americans” (116).  The only way this can be fixed is through things such as social movements.   They aim to draw attention to large areas of racist police brutality and show the flaws within systems.

Link to Article:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26883030

Reference:

Hutto, J.W. & Green, R.D. J Urban Health (2016) 93(Suppl 1): 89. https://doi-org.ezproxy.rollins.edu:9443/10.1007/s11524-015-0013-x

 

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Two Nations, Revisted

Recent occurrences are not the first time police brutality has been seen against minorities.  One large event where this occurred frequently were the 1967 race riots.  In this article, Embrick looks at how things have changed and have also stayed the same.  Despite a gap of fifty years, race relations and police brutality are still large problems in the United States.   Blacks and whites still exist in two incredibly different societies.  In the future, there is aim to bridge the gap that exists.

Link to Article:

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0896920515591950

Reference:

Embrick, David G. “Two Nations, Revisited: The Lynching of Black and Brown Bodies, Police Brutality, and Racial Control in ‘Post-Racial’ Amerikkka.” Critical Sociology (Sage Publications, Ltd.), vol. 41, no. 6, Sept. 2015, pp. 835-843. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1177/0896920515591950.

 

 

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“I Can’t Breathe” – A Case Study

“I can’t breathe” were the famous words said by Eric Garner before he passed away while held in a chokehold by police.

The term has since become one of the many phrases used in the Black Lives Matter movement.   In this article, Aymer focuses on how black men are meant to help deal with trauma related to police brutality.  Most of the well known recent police brutality cases have occurred against black men, causing them to live in consistent fear of those who are supposed to be protecting them.

Link to Article:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10911359.2015.1132828?journalCode=whum20

Reference:

AYMER, S. (2016). “I CAN’T BREATHE”: A CASE STUDY—HELPING BLACK MEN COPE WITH RACE-RELATED TRAUMA STEMMING FROM POLICE KILLING AND BRUTALITY. JOURNAL OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR IN THE SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT, 26(3-4), 367-376.

 

 

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Shoot/Do Not Shoot

This article looks at how police recruits are taught to respond to specific situations.  The shoot/do not shoot idea stems from the hands up, don’t shoot movement.  Davies looks at how police officers are taught to use force in specific situations.  In today’s society, it is important to understand the use behind officer’s using specific forces such as weapons.  As this data was collected through a study in Australia, it is to be said that American police officers could be taught a different response.  Results showed that officers typically used force when threat levels were high and the offender was though to have a firearm.

 

Link to Article:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10439463.2015.1077835?journalCode=gpas20

References:

Amanda Jane Davies (2017) Shoot/do not shoot – what are the influences? The police recruit perspective, Policing and Society, 27:5, 494-507, DOI: 10.1080/10439463.2015.1077835

 

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Racism and Police Brutality in America

Racism and police brutality go hand in hand.  Racism has long existed within the United States as seen through racial projects such as slavery or the Jim Crow era.  This study looks at data from the National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project.  This project looks at things such as fatalities, settlements, and misconduct cases, many involving African Americans.  Recent occurrences have led to a negative view of law enforcement because their racist tendencies.

Link to Article:

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12111-013-9246-5

Reference:

Chaney, C. & Robertson, R.V. J Afr Am St (2013) 17: 480. https://doi-org.ezproxy.rollins.edu:9443/10.1007/s12111-013-9246-5

 

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Ferguson and the death of Michael Brown on Twitter

Social media is a powerful tool.  This article analyzes millions of tweets regarding Mike Brown and the failure to indict Darren Willson.  Events, especially ones regarding to race, have the ability to create large social movements and that likelihood has only increased with today’s social media.  The #blacklivesmatter was used consistently regarding frequent police shootings of young black men.

Link to Article:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01419870.2017.1335422

Reference:

Rashawn Ray, Melissa Brown, Neil Fraistat & Edward Summers (2017) Ferguson and the death of Michael Brown on Twitter: #BlackLivesMatter, #TCOT, and
the evolution of collective identities, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 40:11, 1797-1813

 

 

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