Politics Cause Bias in the Way Community View Police - Paper Example

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Vanderbilt University
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Politics is the procedure in which resources are dispersed or allocated. That is, politics is who gets what and how they get these things. Politics dramatically influences the decisions made by the criminal justice system including the police (Parker et al., 2004). In a report analysis from the national police-shooting data conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, it is indicated that more than 14, 000 law enforcers across the United States who operate at the federal state and local levels have demonstrated racial biases in different communities (Fryer, 2016). The report further states that other than police shootings based on race, different ethnics including the blacks, whites, Hispanics, and Asians have experienced other types of force such as being handcuffed without being arrested, pushed to the ground and pepper-sprayed (Fryer, 2016). In this context, the police and the community have conflicted due to racial biases and police subculture. Police subculture is the specific behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs exhibited by the police. Since the police spend most of their time handling crime and offenders, they tend to perceive some members of the society as potentially hostile and untrustworthy (Correll et al., 2015). Coupled with the influence of politics, they result in the community viewing the police as brutal, racial and full of people who do not care about their wellbeing (Correll et al., 2015).

A rift has been seen between the police and the community, thus making it impossible for the two to be friends as ordinary citizens have often accused the police of abusing them rather than helping and protecting them against criminals and other illegal activities in the society. As stated by Correll et al. (2016), police attitude towards the community is attributed to the fact that they are influenced by political forces who dictate how they deal with different people in the community based on the ethnic background, political affiliation and socio-economic status. Hence, the problem that exists between the police and the citizenry is based on the legislative directives from various governmental departments.

Police Brutality and the Influence of Politics in the Police Force

Police Brutality

Police brutality in the United States has been considered to be a biased vice that targets a particular community. According to Terry (2017) in some occasions, it has been witnessed that the brutality is mainly subjected to the members of the community that forms the vulnerable part of the United States. This has primarily been the black Americans, the Hispanics, women, and Asians as they are highly linked to the criminal activities. These groups have faced it rough in the United States because they do not have influential political supporters, hence, making them believe that the police force is wrong. On the other hand, the majority groups which comprises of political elites, the wealthy and a significant percentage of the whites, think the police are good and often seek their help in moments of crisis. Research done by Hispanics civil right movements indicate that minority groups have been discriminated by police officers in their searches, arrest, and prosecutions than the majority. Terry (2017) indicates that criminal cases involving minority groups as perpetrators have always been pursued to its last stages unlike those involving the majority. This has seen a large percentage of community members losing trust in the police. Minority groups have been the victims of police shooting with police shooting database indicating that 847 people have been shot and killed by the police in 2017 (Terry, 2017).

Issues such as separation of powers, deference, federalism, the burden of proof and discretion that have been used in part explaining the causes of the misconduct witnessed in the police departments as they brutalized the members of the society especially the minority community (Chaney & Robertson, 2013). Evidence has shown that the courts have also chosen not to see the brutality of police as most of the police are either transferred or temporarily suspended (Chaney & Robertson, 2013). They do not receive appropriate punishment for the shootings. Chaney and Robertson (2013) indicates that legislators in some states have failed to place laws in place that punishes police officers involved in the shooting and in States that have rules, they are not entirely enforced. Other political factors that encourage police brutality include institutionalized systems of police management, training, culture and also the criminal justice system has been seen to prevent the investigations to be done regarding police brutality.

The political system encourages police brutality since it seems to support the police officers and respond appropriately to them as opposed to how they respond to victims of the police shooting (Chaney & Robertson, 2013). There is also a racist political culture that is against crime hence supporting very strict and rigid policing, mainly due to the rigorous social structure that has not substantially changed for a very long time. Police brutality is therefore caused by the politics depending on the instructions they get from the office (Chaney & Robertson, 2013). The long-lasting impact of police brutality is an expanding hostility between the citizens and the police. Communities longer hold the police force in high regards and do not trust them with information that would help bring law and order in the society.

Influence of Politics in the Police Force

While the police have been dealing with substantial cultural and systematic differences that build racial bias against minority groups, the whole American community feels the effects and thus, making the entire police force racially, socially and politically skewed (Nelson, 2000). This is because some of the policing tactics seen today have been influenced by politics and have resulted in an accentuated personal and subconscious bias thus, increasing the probability of racial profiling and other implicit prejudice against the blacks, Asians, Hispanics and the whites. Some scholars including Peffley and Mondak (2016) indicate that the US police work is inherently racially biased. In most cases, the areas that the law enforcers are told to patrol are the poor neighborhood whose residents are mainly the blacks (Jackson, 2015). Likewise, there is a disproportionate deployment of police in other minority groups that encourages police officers to profile individuals and arrest them in large numbers. As indicated by Jackson (2015), areas concentrated by Hispanics often fall victim to illegal immigrants and drug traffickers. The police get directions from their political leaders depending on the areas where they should conduct their daily and long patrols.

The presence of police in some neighborhoods such as those of lower socioeconomic status has been influenced by the unequal distribution of resources where the political class acquires more resources and seeks the protection of the police (Coirrell et al., 2015). That is since the wealthy are often allocated more government resources, they usually need protection against criminals who come from the low class. The wealthy need police protection and hence, police officers are often sent in poor neighborhoods to make arrests to individuals who look suspicious. Consequently, due to the belief of police based on race, they end up making illegal arrests due to profiling. As stated by correll et al. (2015), this pattern has been evident in the American society where the poor have been subjected to scrutiny by police officers on the accusation of drug possessions. A report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy suggests that the war on drugs has brought a devastating consequence for people and societies who are perceived as inferior due to the pressure is given by police from political elites (Woode, 2015). Political elites have enforced repressive strategies that frustrate the lives of individuals from lower-socio-economic status, where a majority of them experience harassment and arrests each year. The wealthy spent billions of dollars on bribing the police to frame the poor on possession of drugs and these individuals end up paying unnecessary time in prisons. The report further suggests that migrants from countries like Mexico and Spain have the highest number of individuals in the American jail after being accused of using and distributing cocaine and heroin followed by African-Americans who are charged with being in possession of narcotics (Woods, 2015). The report evidently demonstrates that politics influence how the police treat different social groups in the society.

Other than the political influence on how the police treat individuals based on their socio-economic status, it also influences how different races are treated thus, making the community lack faith in the police force. For example, there have been rising cases of accusations against white drivers who are often believed to carry more contraband than other ethnic communities (Peffley & Mondak, 2016). Contrary to the belief that the police usually respect white drivers during traffic stops and car inspections, new research suggests that white drivers have been experiencing more traffic reports than other races due to political influences. As postulated by Peffley and Mondak, (2016), the current American criminal justice system has a high number of police officers and other law enforcement agencies from different ethnic backgrounds. As such, a good number of Caucasian drivers have been stopped on the belief that they are carrying contraband (Peffley & Mondak, 2016). The behavior of police has seen drivers from the white community fearing traffic stops due to being harassed. In a recent report by Stanford University suggest that policing during traffic stops was based on race. Some camera footages from Oakland, California, which is a racially diverse region, indicated that most traffic stops that involved white drivers ended in bitter exchanges, with some of the white drivers ending up being arrested (Woods, 2015). The researchers further surveyed drivers from different ethnic groups in the region and of the entire respondents; the white drivers reported the highest number of being harassed by traffic police (Woods, 2015). Nonetheless, drivers from all the ethnic communities in the survey experienced some form of harassment in the traffic stops and also indicated that they prefer using public transport to avoid police harassment.

In the wake of the rising number of harassment in traffic stops, politics have also influenced how the police handle different criminal activities in communities including domestic violence. Despite the existence of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), other political forces have been influencing law enforcers from making arrests and prosecuting perpetrators of domestic violence. This has seen a rising number of deaths due to domestic violence as communities in the American societies have also been affected by police biases and brutality to the extent that they do not report incidents of domestic violence Craske & Molyneux., 2016). In a 2017 report released by the National Domestic Violence, an average of 24 people per minute become victims of rape, stalking and physical abuse by their intimate partners in the United States, with more than 13 million experiencing domestic violence each year (Morgan & Jasinski, 2017). Three in every ten women, which represents 29% and ten men, which represents 10% in the United States, have experienced domestic violence by their partners (Morgan & Jasinski, 2017). Half of these incidents have resulted in deaths, injuries, and disability. The r...

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