Excessive or unwarranted (and often illegal) use of force against civilians by police officers is known as police brutality. Types of police brutality range from assault and battery to torture and murder. Broader definitions include harassment and verbal abuse. Here are 8 facts about police brutality.
In the United States, police killed an astonishing 1,099 people in 2019.
African American people are three times more likely to be killed by a police officer than white people. In addition, 21% of victims that were black were unarmed while only 14% of white victims were unarmed.
In all cases of police killings in 2015, police officers were not convicted in 99% of them.
The Great Migration (between 1916 and 1970) of African Americans from the South into urban areas of the North and West in America shaped the interactions between African Americans and urban police departments. The police department (comprised of mostly white officers) were not accustomed to the presence of African American and used fear and hostility as a means of reaction. Police departments of the north presumed that African American men had an inherent tendency towards criminal behaviour.
Following World War II, the incidences of police brutality increased in frequency for a wide variety of reasons.
Victims of police brutality, including not only African American people (whites and other ethnic groups too), typically come from a poor or a low income background. They have typically lacked the political influence and the financial resources required to publicise their comments on police brutality effectively.
The death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, triggered protests nationally back in 2014. A powerful and crucial social movement was launched by activists after his death, which is now known as “Black Lives Matter”.
Back in 1991, a man named Rodney King was beaten by numerous police officers after he lead police on a car chase throughout LA county. A video of the beating was recorded, and King was in critical condition, suffering 11 fracturing and other injuries. Two officers were sentenced to 30 months in prison, and King was awarded $3.8 million in compensatory damages.
George Floyd, the African-American killed by police on 25th May 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota has sparked mass protests and rioting across the US. It’s being reported that this level of racial civil unrest has not been seen since the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King.
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