The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Police vs. The People

A major part of the news cycle is currently focusing on police brutality and the public’s outrage concerning the topic of the police vs. the people. Therefore, it came as no surprise that when a video surfaced of a police officer in North Carolina shooting an unarmed man, the video quickly went viral and was picked up by most major media outlets. The content in the video shows a police officer, Michael Slager firing eight shots at Walter Scott, that kill him as he attempts to flee the scene.

This video has sparked outrage across the country, not only because there seems to be no apparent threat to the officer in the video, but also because Scott is African American and many people feel that the officer’s actions were racially motivated.

Recently there have been multiple cases involving police brutality with African Americans, which has led to sit-ins, rallies and protests across the country. Many people feel that their ethnicity or race is being targeted and exploited by the police. Although many people have started to believe that police officers are specifically targeting a specific group or race there is little to no statistical evidence to support this.

The increase in tension between the public and law enforcement has caused uneasiness on both sides. If nothing is done to decrease this tension then both police officers and civilians will continue to die. This is proven in the increase in deaths involving police officers and civilians. Along with police officers that abuse their power being punished, citizens who assault police officers should also be punished accordingly. If police officers respect citizens and citizens respect police officers, then I believe that both police brutality and crime in general would decrease.

Even though it is not apparent why this officer shot this man, and it could in fact have been racially motivated, it is unfair to judge an entire community of officers on the actions of just a few. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers website there are currently around 900,000 sworn-in officers in the United States. Of these 900,000, less than 20% have ever been accused of police brutality.

Just like it would be unfair to judge an entire race of people based on the actions of some of the people within that race it is unfair to judge an entire profession of people based off of a few stories seen in the news.

 

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