Police Brutality: Justice for All?

Source: ep_jh on flickr

More than 870 people have been killed by the police this year, and it is not over yet. According to The Guardian, as of October 24, 873 men and women have been murdered by police officers, for one reason or another. Killed by Police reports 939 dead this year, but Washington Post reports 791 people shot and killed by police so far. Mapping Police Violence states:

“Native Americans and Black people are being killed at the highest rates in the United States”

Horrific as that number is, it only get worse. In 2015 alone, 346 black people were victims of police shootings. Mapping Police Violence states that in the United States, black people are 3 times more likely to be shot and murdered by police than white people.

Source: Mapping Police Violence

As you can see in the graphic above, the amount of unarmed black people being slaughtered by police officers is staggering. A whole thirty percent of black people killed are unarmed. Some thing is clearly wrong with the system, but why is it like this? Chris Mooney addresses this issue:

“One simple, evolutionary explanation for our innate tendency toward tribalism is safety in numbers.”

Tribalism, or being organized in a tribe or tribes, could be a reason whites inherently have slight bias toward other races, in general. It is an old instinct to band together in a group with your buddies, (other whites), if another “tribe” is threatening you. This is the explanation I give for the white folk who always stand on the side of the oppressor, or accused police. It may not be outright racism, for most of these people deny holding any racist beliefs.

Humans have the need to constantly put objects, places, and people in categories. Old, new. White, black. Jocks, nerds. We as a species constantly categorize each other to make sense of the world around us. Brains like our search for patterns in society, in life around us. Patterns make sense. Ideas like “Not all black people are violent criminals,” doesn't make a whole bunch of sense to that type of mind, a closed mind.

Opening your mind to the fact that most of the population holds bias and ignorance inside is easier said than done, yet I guarantee that these few summaries of police violence this year may open your mind to violence you man not see regularly.

Jamar Clark

Last November, Jamar Clark was murdered in Minneapolis by police officers named Dustin Schwarze and Mark Ringgenberg. The county attorney says Schwarze opened fire a mere 61 seconds after arriving on the scene. When Jamar Clark was killed last November, 12 witnesses were adamant that he was handcuffed at that point in time.

Terence Crutcher

August 16th, Tulsa. A forty-year-old man is shot down by a scared, white police officer, Betty Shelby. Alan Pyke reports:

“But officers’ conduct immediately after Shelby shot the 40-year-old stands out as particularly heartbreaking.”

Video footage from three cruisers and one helicopter reveal the heartbreaking scene that unfolds. Crutcher, whom called for assistance after his car broke down, is seen through the entirety of each video as having his hands above his head, complying with police commands.

Source: Tulsa Police Department

For whatever reason, our black men in America are being killed at 3x the rate of white men, because our population is holding a huge bias. What is the solution? More police training? Better training? Is there even an option that fixes this problem nationwide? Our government and scientists do not seem like they really know what to do. Hopefully one day all of our diverse population can live in bias free happiness, ride on unicorns and rainbows.

Cheyenne Willis is a high school student and avid BLM enthusiast, trying to make a small difference by educating her peers.