Good Essay About Racial Profiling: Police Misconduct Goes Unpunished

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Crime, Criminal Justice, Law, Police, Race, Racial Profiling, Enforcement, Law Enforcement

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/10/01

Imagine the following. A rotund, dark chocolate-skinned black man in his forties appearing of sound and reasonable mind explains to police officers “Every time you see me, you mess with me. I’m tiredEverybody’s standing here, I did not do nothing! I did not sell nothing.” (“Raw Footage,” 2014). On this New York sidewalk, in broad daylight after the black tells police officers not to touch him, at least four police wrestle the man to the ground, while he exclaims eleven times: I can’t breathe! The proceeding scene was not a clip from a Hollywood action movie, but rather the smartphone video-capture of live events which resulted in the death of Eric Garner, inciting national outrage across the United States. The task herein must pose a researched argument about racial profiling at the hands of law enforcement, and how the police routinely use forceful brutality against those whom they deem to be suspects – simply due to the color of their skin, predominantly targeting members of the black community. Cutting off the air supply to Mr. Garner’s blood circulation, police officer Daniel Pantaleo essentially acted as judge and jury feeling justified in killing Garner who leaves behind a grieving wife. The growing problem of this kind, increasingly rendered as commonplace in America, seems to reflect that some police officers have confused ‘criminal profiling’ with ‘racial profiling.’ Racial profiling should not be used as a direct law enforcement tactic by the police force, and there need be a systemic and systematic change to fix police misconduct.
Racial profiling may be described as criminals going for a joyride. Armed to the teeth with firearms and other weapons, on a mission to kill random black people on the streets knowing that there will be zero consequences for their illegal actions – fully characterizes the situation. Except in this case the joyriders are police, perpetrators authorized to carry guns and Government Issue badges of genocide. Supposedly, the irrational and discriminatory targeting of certain individuals has been declared constitutionally illegal, according to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. President Obama weighed in a commentary, calling incidents like Eric Garner’s murder “an issue we’ve been dealing with for too long and it’s time for us to make more progressfolks are not being treated fairly” (“Eric Garner’s Widow Lashes Out”). However, some would argue that police officers had reason to suspect Garner of criminal activity and therefore physically subdued him. Ryberg argues that police use this tactic of racial profiling to increase their rates to “apprehend more offenders” (79). However, this faulty and illogical reasoning assumes two things: (a) Criminal profiling equals racial profiling, and (b) All black people are numerically prone to criminal activities. See the problem?
According to the New York Daily News a grand jury decision cleared Pantaleo of any charges. Several reasons indicate why racial profiling should not be utilized as a tactic prevail. First of all, racial profiling progress to advance towards a post-racial society. Gina Castle Bell et al. collected data from a study of sixty qualitative interviews, reported black and white witnesses observing black drivers pulled over by law enforcement patrols – as a commonplace occurrence of “lived experiences” despite a further Fourth Amendment prohibition of “of unwarranted stop and detainment by authorities” (34). As racial tensions grow and react to these insidious murders, perceived as blatant abuse of powers, resentment toward police officers from citizens fails to mitigate the problem – worsening community relations, when race serves as the primary factor in prematurely criminalizing someone before he or she has had their day in court. A second reason why such behavior needs to cease and replaced with a systemic, and systematic change, is because picking on seemingly ‘obvious suspects’ neglects any logical or cogent thinking, ignoring the bigger picture for the common-sense requirement to follow clues and evidence to track down criminals, and bring them safely into custody. It is called a court of law and system of jurisprudence; which police officers most likely ignore because they realize no punitive measures will be implemented. They know that their bigoted, and murderous and abuses of all their law enforcement comrades will have no consequences.
As a result, lack of respect for law enforcement pervades the national climate like a creeping, foul-smelling cankerous cancer sore, infecting the good faith people should have in their local police. Terrible for police-community relations, the deceased’s Widow Esaw Garner, illustrates the fact when she cries “I do not accept his apology,” and “I could care less about his condolences. My husband is 6 feet under” (“Eric Garner’s Widow Lashes Out”). Additionally, Bell et al. agree with other researchers that media helps to perpetuate criminalized images of blacks in media, broadcasting myriad negative stereotypically racist depictions whereby acting as a socio-politically engineered conduit of a “hegemonic institution” which advances a “polarizing” effect against everyone in the society (35). A third reason why wrongful racial profiling by police must cease, and be replaced with systemic changes, follows that law enforcement should not impose blanket unofficial mandates to suppress the people.
In other words, law enforcement officers have a job: to investigate, search and seize criminals bringing them into court custody when needed, and to serve and protect the public. Do you think Eric Garner was being served and protected by New York City’s Staten Island officers? Go look at the videotape and let your own eyes, common sense, and mind decide. In conclusion, three primary reasons prominently loom regarding the situation which we review now. Reason one stated that racial profiling should be stopped because it impedes progression towards a post-racial society. As the analysis of Bell et al. suggests, “getting pulled over” for blacks by police only represent a culmination since black interviewees admitted to fearing police officers. Apparently, evidence shows they have damned good reasons for their trepidation. The second reason highlighted the superficial factor of skin color as a determinant of criminal activity. Such assumptions overlook the fact that criminal profiling and ‘racial profiling’ are not synonymous. Researchers Ibe et al. recommend that criminal profiling is not entirely accurate, because it “does not necessarily provide the exact identity of the offender” (177). Thirdly, we noted it is not the police force’s job to suppress the people. This type of racial and ethnic misuse of law enforcement powers thwarts criminal justice in two ways, pertaining to the heinous killing of Eric Garner: (1) Mr. Garner never got his day in court, and (2) Pantaleo’s illegal murder of the victim unjustly went unpunished, allowing the officer to escape responsibility, thereby sending a de facto message to other officers around the country. What is that message? Police officers have been silently granted a ‘get-out-of-jail-free-card’ guaranteeing escape of consequences for their crimes against humanity, killing black people in America.
Finally, the case of Eric Garner’s death sparked attention and concern from the United States Department of Justice. Attorney General Holder spoke of “the FBI have been monitoring the local case closely” despite the outcome of the Grand Jury decision (“Statement Attorney General”). Holder spoke with Garner’s widow, and also acknowledged the Grand Jury’s decline “to return an indictment in this case” (“Statement Attorney General”). In Holder’s words, ‘we have all seen the video,’ but leaving little comfort only prescribes Mr. Garner’s death as a tragedy. While law enforcement agencies formulate new training protocols for systematic, and systemic change, communities continue to be saddened and angered.
*{Photo courtesy New York Daily News}.

Works Cited

Bell, Gina Castle, et al. “Exploring Black and White Accounts of 21st-Century Racial Profiling:
Riding and Driving While Black.” Qualitative Research Reports in Communication 15.1
(2014): 33-42. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 19 January 2015.
Burke, Kerry, Tina Moore, Thomas Tracy, Rocco Parascandola, and Corky Siemaszko.
“The time for remorse was when my husband was yelling to breathe: Eric Garner’s
widow lashes out at NYPD cop who put her husband in fatal chokehold.” New York Daily
News. New York Daily News, 2014. Web. 19 January 2015.
Ibe, Patrick, Charles Ochie, and Evaristus Obiyan. “Racial Misuse of ‘Criminal Profiling’ by
Law Enforcement: Intentions and Implications.” African Journal of Criminology &
Justice Studies 6. ½ (2012): 177-196. SocINDEX with Full Text. Web. 19 January 2015.
“RAW FOOTAGE Eric Garner KILLED After NYPD Cop Puts Him in CHOKEHOLD.”
Youtube. YouTube, December 3, 2014. Web. 19 January 2015.
Ryberg, Jesper. “Racial Profiling and Criminal Justice.” Journal of Ethics 15.1/2 (2011): 79-88.
Academic Search Complete. Web. 19 Jan. 2015.
“Statement by Attorney General Holder on Federal Investigation into Death of Eric Garner.” the United States Department of Justice, December 14, 2014. Web. 19

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