As I opened up my AOL homepage a few weeks ago I noticed an article that provoked my curiosity. (You should probably read it before embarking on the rest of this blog post, or it probably won’t make sense to you.) If you haven’t guessed by now, the topic of said article is police brutality.
When I read the accounts of the one “suspect” who was beaten by four officers until he bled from his ear, I thought that these officers should be fired from their jobs immediately. It is one thing to use excessive force when trying to detain a criminal who may be armed or a threat to flee, but it is another thing when there are four officers versus two “suspects,” and I must remind you that the two kids were sleeping, hardly a threat to flee.
Then I thought of the events once the kids were actually detained, handcuffed, and brought upstairs. I believe the officers were again in the wrong when they handcuffed one of the kids so tightly that he now has permanent nerve damage in his hand. I’m pretty sure that handcuffs can be effective without the excessive force used in this case. Also, the racial and homophobic slurs that the officers repeatedly uttered are unacceptable.
So, back to my original thought, should the officers in this case be fired immediately? At first my answer was yes, but after thinking about the situation, I raised some more questions. Would I have felt the same way if the kids were guilty instead of innocent? In all honesty the answer the question is no. If I heard about this happening to actual criminals, I would have thought that they got what they deserved, and the officers were just doing their jobs to bring them to justice. Does this make me an immoral person? I hope not. I believe a lot of us out there feel the same way. If force is necessary to serve justice and protect the community, then I say go for it. Why should criminals expect moral treatment when they obviously did something immoral themselves in the first place to merit the attention of the police? I probably would side with the officers in this situation because I believe that police officers are public servants who put their life on the line for everyday citizens like myself and don’t get enough respect for it. They go through extensive training, and I respect their judgements. It is a hard job to say the least, and I believe they have earned the right to act as they think will serve the best interest of the community and ensure the safety of the public, even if that includes some immoral actions against criminals.
The reason this article sparked interest is obviously because the victims of the brutality were innocent bystanders. Now the article does not provide every detail of the incident, but I believe the mistakes were made in the police’s intelligence of the situation. The officers in this situation should have been better informed on who the actual criminal was instead of assuming everyone in the house was a criminal. That’s why I believe that the kids who were brutalized have a legitimate claim of excessive and unnecessary force against the officers. But I also believe that the officers were just doing their job to arrest a criminal. To relate it to the famous philosopher Machiavelli, the ends of arresting a criminal justified excessive force against kids living in the same house as the criminal. Thus, the officers should not be punished for their actions. Next time they should do everything possible to have better intelligence before serving the warrant.
That’s my opinion, but what is yours?