Week 8 Signature Assignment Final Paper Attempt



Police Brutality/Excessive Force




Police Brutality/Excessive Force

Police brutality is when government officials are legally allowed to use force such as the police department to exceed the minimum amount necessary to diffuse an incident. Excessive force can also be used by the police to protect themselves or others from harm. Since the era of the slave trade, cases of police brutality have increased significantly. Many theories have also been initiated to explain forces behind police brutality. These theories include social conflict theory, symbolic interactionism, and control balance theory (Aleo, 2017). These theories tend to answer the question of why there are only a few ruthless police officers. This paper seeks to analyze various aspects regarding police brutality through the application of elements of critical reasoning. This paper intends to focus on some of the arguments why police brutality cases are at a steady increase.

Arguments and counterarguments

Many researchers have claimed that police brutality started after the end of the slave trade. The era post slave trade recorded an inclination in the number of inmates. In the United States, African Americans offered cheap labor in cotton plantations and industries. They captured along the Indian Ocean’s shore and forcefully taken to the U.S to provide cheap labor. After abolishing the slave trade, somebody never considere4d to return the "slaves" to their homeland countries, which led to an increase in the unemployment rate. The majority of African Americans resolved to drugs and criminal activities (Aleo, 2017). The number of criminal cases increases, which led to the massive arrest of many African Americans. The government went against people of color and branded them, criminals. This was when police brutality started after the former U.S President Richard Nixon ordered the arrest of any Black American found violating the law. Many authors have also argued if this was the best solution to end teenage drug abuse and criminality in the country. Since that time, police brutality cases have increased, with many African Americans dying in the hand of police officers. Excessive force can come up in different contexts, such as handling prisoners, or even during military operations. However, when it involves police officers, particularly during an arrest, it is referred to as police brutality (Marshall, 2018).

Other studies also show that the police officer is more brutal when they are many. Police officers working in a group are likely to use excess force than an individual police officer handling an issue. The power of working in a group influences the behavior of police officers, as many cases of police brutality are linked to groups of police officers (Aleo, 2017). For instance, Jamar Clark was shot by two white police officers Dustin Schwarze and Mark Ringgenberg, when they tried to arrest him (Von Robertson & Chaney, 2019). The bystanders claimed that the police officers handcuffed Clark before shooting him in the head. Clark died a day after he was shot. The two police officers were never charged, and the internal police investigator cleared them. Clark was 24 years before he died. Besides, he was a black American. After Clark's death, the Black Lives Matter activists, supporters, and other community members protested over the incident for days in front of the police.

Jeremy McDole, an African American, was shot and killed by groups of police officers in 2015 sitting in his wheelchair after the police received a report on a man with a gun. The police officers who were involved in shooting him were never persecuted (Yakam, 2019). In another case of Akai Gurley was killed by New York City police officers who claimed that he was firing after hearing a sound that destroyed him during evening patrol, thus forcing them to fire their gun. When they fired their weapon, the bullet pierced the wall and killed Gurley. These are but a few cases of police brutality against people of color in the U.S.

Despite the increase in police brutality cases, other authors still claim that only a few police officers are brutal, and the entire law enforcement department should be spared while making critiques against brutal police officers. Other experts claim that a lack of strict police brutality rules has contributed to police brutality's immense cases. They claim that besides the Fourth Amendment Act, there is no other law that protects the people's rights against police brutality of excessive force. The fourth amendment law focuses on two legal practices; the wrist of assistance and general warrants (Aleo, 2017). The Fourth Amendment states that the people's right to be secured at their residences, effects, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures and shall not be violated unless warranted or authorized by the oath and must specify the areas to be searched. This law protects the U.S residents’ homes against unnecessary searches by government officials or the police without authorized warrants from the court of legislation permitting the search.

Evaluation of critical thinking

The strengths of the arguments and the quality of thinking surrounding this issue

The arguments expressed on this issue supported by theories, while others are supported by scientific evidence. The abolition of the slave trade marked the beginning of police brutality, as many sources have revealed. Besides, many theories have emerged to support this aspect. Many philosophers have claimed that former U.S Presidents such as Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton did very little in protecting African Americans against police brutality. Instead, they promoted the issue by encouraging the arrest of Black Americans (Marshall, 2018). They have also claimed that since the slave trade was abolished and there were no free laborers anymore, arresting many African Americans was a government strategy to use the prisoners to offer labor in more giant government industries to replace slavery. In other words, this was slavery on another level. During a press conference, President Richard Nixon confirmed that arresting and using excessive force on Black Americans was a way to obtain laborers for the government’s huge industries. The claim that the government is doing little to stop police brutality and excessive force is also evident because the government has not come up with any strategy that seeks to protect the life of the minority groups except the adoption of community-based policing and the adoption of the Fourth Amendment Act (Aleo, 2017). These policies have worked well with the people by bringing police officers in communities where they can interact and create harmony with the people.

The weaknesses of arguments and quality of thinking surrounding police brutality

Rumors and lies characterize some of the weaknesses of arguments surrounding police brutality. The claim that law enforcement is not well trained before they are offered the jobs is not valid because police officers take over 12 months in training. Besides, the claim that all police officers are ruthless is also false because their characters and behavior guide police officers' actions. There are some good police officers and those who are bad. The media should not generalize law enforcement to be entirely wrong (Holmes, 2017). Other claims are also not supported by facts as most of the claims are vague and inconsistent. For instance, claims such as lack of proper strategies by the government are vague since there have been many transformations that have taken place in the police department that focuses on protecting the rights of prisoners against torture and police brutality such as banning of police torture and banning of any form of discrimination in all government and private offices.


My experience with police brutality is that many of the claims that are theoretically and scientifically proven are true. For instance, theories that show that not all police officers are brutal and police officers overreact when working in groups are evident in many instances due to the increasing police brutality cases reported with many police officers involved. There have also been many instances where we see a police officer helping African Americans in several ways and even pardoning their mistakes. It is also true that there are police officers who have not reformed and still consider all African Americans as criminals. My suggestion to this issue is that the government should consider assigning Black police officers in communities occupied by African Americans and white police officers in white areas. This will promote understanding, and cases of police brutality will be significantly reduced.


Aleo, C. (Ed.). (2017). Critical Perspectives on Effective Policing and Police Brutality. Enslow Publishing, LLC.

Holmes, M. D. (2017). Police brutality. the Cambridge handbook of social problems.

Marshall, L. (2018). An examination of police brutality in the United States: living and working in a state of fear.

Von Robertson, R., & Chaney, C. D. (2019). Police Use of Excessive Force Against African Americans: Historical Antecedents and Community Perceptions. Rowman & Littlefield.

Yakam, L. T. (2019). Police officers' perceptions of the people's complaints regarding police use of excessive force in port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Contemporary PNG Studies, 30, 21.