Shawn Hamilton, IUP
The issue of police brutality has been broadcasted time and time again. We as a nation have been split along economic, professional, and congressional lines over the matter; and of course, racial lines. Ah yes, race, always the elephant in the room.
Just this past homecoming weekend, a black student was subject to over aggression by local Indiana law enforcement. I’ll defer from being the moral judge on this one, but the video is available below. You, the viewer, can decide for yourself who was right or wrong in the initial dialogue between the officers and the student.
But one simple fact is evident. The force used to subdue the young man was excessive. But something deeper is at play here, a rare chance at healing perhaps. In all my homecomings in Indiana, I have witnessed similar instances against white, black, Asian, Latinx you name it. So let’s use this example to highlight the fact that the matter of police aggression has no racial bounds.
The police cannot, and should not be the judge, and the jury in face-to-face encounters with civilians. This is one of the fundamental flaws of our criminal justice system. The equitable weight of cop accusations versus the accused is disproportionate and inconsistent with a society/justice system that “supposedly” values the individual’s right to a fair and unbiased trial.
Since we are continuing on the theme of solutions, let's find some solutions. I have one suggestion to combat this disproportionate representation of criminals in our prison system. There needs to be a third party/semi-independent cabinet of our executive system that monitors each individual arrest. They could review police reports of arrests and conduct interviews with the accused, witnesses, and the police officers themselves. This way they could develop an accurate third-party portrayal of the incident in mind, one that has no allegiance to either party. The cases could be pushed forward with more clarity, or dismissed if conduct was found to be inappropriate
Let us also question the training that is available to officers. I would assume that most police officers have the intention of serving their communities outstandingly and with honor. But a doctor cannot save lives with two years of college.