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The police department comprises one of the most celebrated features of a democratic government. The police are tasked with the duty of protecting the citizens and promoting peaceful co-existence in the society. Consequently, the police units serve as an extension of the government priorities and policies. In addition, they are empowered and equipped to enforce the law in instances and environment of unruliness. The police act as social control agents to manage the sustenance of the society and are therefore subjects to the concept of accountability.
Recent times have seen a rise in police brutality and violence in America (Human Rights Watch, 1998). More than any other American community, The Black community has borne the brunt of increased police brutality. Increased police brutality on the Black members of the community has inspired several protests and activist vilification. To curtail the prevalence of police violence in the society, the need for the policing of the police cannot be overstated. There is a need to determine the laws that govern the manner in which the police engage people. In addition to violent acts, the police institution has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons as revealed in the media houses. The Police engage in excessive corruption and abominable criminal acts without any thought for the effects that such actions might have on the entire police department. This is intended to preempt the loss of public trust in the police.
The use of force by the police to curtail crime in society has resulted in several divergent issues. Such theoretical positions allude to the need for police violence to maintain peace and sanity in the society. This theoretical framework is a reinforcement of the police roles in light of the recent wanton and unregulated shooting of Black people in the American society (Cobb, 2016). Also, such assertions do not succinctly address the level of brutality that should be engaged by the police in enforcing the laws.
Essentially, it is unclear on the degree to which the police should apply violence. It becomes significant to consider why it is common for the Black community to make the largest percentage of victims to police brutality. In addition, are there any policies that can be employed to guide the police to curtail police violence? In addition, what steps should be engaged in punishing police officers who are found to be guilty of wanton violence? All these questions reflect on the nature of police brutality, factors that increase of the phenomenon in recent times and the ways through which such trends can be mitigated.
Sociological theorems provide frameworks that could be used to assess the proliferation of police violence in the society. Theory-based assessments of police violence and brutality in America are still at the infant stages. It was not until recently that researchers applied these frameworks to explain police conduct in the society. This paper analyzes four sociological theorems and employs these principles to explain police behavior in the 21stcentury. It further assesses the challenges that are faced in the regulation of the police force. These theorems include The Sociological principles employed include the conflict theory, the Utilitarian tradition, the Micro-interactionist theory and the Durkheimian tradition. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
The Socio-conflict Theory on Police Brutality
The socio-conflict theory supports the need for differences and antagonism in the society (Collins, 1994). The principle states that the rich and the dominant race will always try to exert their authority in the governance of a State. The powerful persons in the society prevail on the State institution and processes. In America, the most powerful individuals in governance and the general population comprise individuals from the White Race. The superior individuals tend to reinforce their authority over the powerless in the society. The conflict theory prevails that these differences will always result in conflict given that the powerless will always strive to change their powerless status through resistance.
Based on the conflicting principle, government institutions are purported to be the results of political processes that are intended to protect the interests of powerful individuals in the society. The essence of the police, based on these analysis metrics, is to boost inequality and ease the exploitation of the powerless by the powerful in the society (Cobb, 2016). Increased police brutality in the 21st century is a culmination of the racial and economic differences projected by the American population. This shows why the police play the role of fueling the racial conflict between the Whites and the Blacks in America.
The African Americans constitute a minority group in America and rate as one of the poorest communities. The economic disparity between members of the White race and the Black race is a very wide gap. However, because of civil rights movements in the 1960s, the Black community has been acknowledged and their freedoms recognized. This situation has equally played a role in boosting their conflict with some people within the White American population. Therefore, the police department is used as a tool by which the majority and economically superior White race can impose their authority over all the other races in America (ThyBlackMan, 2015). This explains the trends in police violence where the police are more aggressive with the minorities as compared to the majorities within the American nation.
The issue of policing the police department also makes another challenge. This challenge is based on the racial and power differences in the American society. It would be important to note that the administrative actions of the police are influenced by the same police departments that seek to be managed (Human Rights Watch, 1998). These administrative functions influence the choices that police officers are expected to make. Therefore, increased police violence does not stem from the individual choices but more from the administrative processes. Therefore, this makes it harder to regulate police actions. The administrative bodies of the police are aligned towards the promotion of the interests of the rich individuals in the society. Therefore, this would explain why the established laws promote the interests of the superior races. The Black community comprises a subordinate political race. They lack majority political power that would have been useful in influencing the choices of individual police officers. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
Police brutality against the minorities may be viewed as the inevitable culmination of powerlessness of the minority group (Collins, 1994). This assertion plays a significant role in promoting the police brutality in society. Likewise, this metric is often engaged in overlooking the need to assess police violence. Many cases of police brutality are left uninvestigated. This could be attributed to the flippancy with which the overall administrative body extends to such cases. The flippancy is a culmination of police indoctrination by the police administrators.
According to the socio-conflict theory, the common assumption that the minority groups make up for the largest number of transgressors is false. The excessive application of police brutality to the minority groups is associated with the constant attention extended to the minority groups by the police (ThyBlackMan, 2015). Given that members of the minority group are underrepresented in the justice system, the police officers usually find it easier to focus on such groups. Therefore, it becomes more likely that the police officers can easily infer more criminal activities on the minority groups than to the majority groups. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
Likewise, the police tend to impose more force in areas that comprise individuals from the minority race (Cobb, 2016). It is highly unlikely, given the unconscious indoctrination, that they would exert force on individuals from the powerful group in the society. Should they do that, they would stand to suffer unknown repercussions as opposed to dealing with the minorities. Nonetheless, it is also necessary to acknowledge that the powerless people lack faith in the police departments and rarely report the instances of police brutality. In comparison to the powerful group in the society, the weak in the society tend to report instances of violence than is the case with the majority race in the community. It would be important to consider that this is due to the tendency of the police to keep away from the powerful and elite persons in society.
The Utilitarian Tradition in Police Violence
The utilitarian tradition is based on the need for engagement of actions and decisions that promote a greater good (McCartney, 2015). The Utilitarian Tradition is a sociological perspective that encourages individuals to act in a manner that promotes the well-being for the largest number of individuals. Essentially, the majorities influence the decision-making in any given community. The interests of the majority prevail over the interests of the minority. The Utilitarian framework enables the sacrificing of the actions that have lesser impacts. Therefore, instead of assessing the action in itself, an individual should determine the outcome of the action and base the decisions based on such a framework.
The Utilitarian Tradition framework could be employed to examine police violence in the society (Collins, 1994). Police violence is a culmination of the need to protect the overall society against criminal activities. Increased police violence is a result of the need to promote the wellbeing of the other individuals. It acts as a deterrence to criminal activities in the affected communities. When a few individuals in the society are subject to violence based on criminal activities, then the other persons from the subject community are unlikely to engage in similar activities in the future. Therefore, the action in itself is wrong but suffices the need to preempt criminality in the society.[Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
Police violence on the minority criminal community provides a necessary intervention given that the majority of the society is guaranteed peace. The majority of the individuals in the society are always against criminal activities, and it is for this reason that the police departments were created. The police departments are inclined towards ensuring that criminal activities are mitigated in the society (McCartney, 2015). The primary role of the police is to prevent all criminal activities. This may require the need to sacrifice a few individuals to protect the society. This would explain why police brutality is widely associated with the minority communities.
The criminals are also aligned towards extending violence on the police. This can be associated with the criminal tendency of gun persons being arrested by the police to attempt the use of their weapons. The police officers are legally empowered to arrest the criminals (McCartney, 2015). In addition, the life of a police officer is considered more valuable than that of a criminal, and that is likely to promote police brutality in the process of arresting criminals. Most officers would argue that they engaged in brutality because they thought their lives were in danger.
If criminal activities were left to thrive in the society, most government initiatives would have been impeded. Given the fact that the minorities in society are more likely to engage in crime, it becomes necessary for the police department to play their role and prevent criminal activities. The majorities in society are less likely to promote criminal activities, and that means the police are required to promote the greater good. Therefore, police violence is intended to promote the greater good, which is associated with the property and lives of the majority in society. Police violence is also often considered a small cost in the war against crime in the larger society (Cobb, 2016). Therefore, cases of police brutality tend to be shelved as necessary occurrences in the larger war against crime. This would explain why many cases of police brutality have gone uninvestigated. The fact that many police officers have engaged in acts of brutality and got away has promoted the same culture by other officers. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
The hatred towards police brutality investigations is further a result of the need to protect the image of the police departments the eye of the public. The public recognizes the police institution as a law-abiding institution that further reinforces lawfulness in the society. Should there be constant investigations into police brutality, then the validity of the police department would be jeopardized. The special “bill of rights” for the police officer was created to ensure that such a culmination would be manifested (Human Rights Watch, 1998). It was intended to ensure that cases of misconduct involving the police officers would be solved in a secretive manner.
In addition, the police unions often negotiate deals on behalf of their clients, and that makes it difficult for the senior police officers enforce accountability to the individual police officers. All these measures are intended to protect the image of the police institution in the eyes of the public. This is the biggest priority and means that the police have an opportunity to get away with their acts of violence (Cobb, 2016). The police bosses’ efforts for accountability are curtailed when the union’s issue demands their members and that gives way for the termination of investigations in the police brutality cases.
The Durkheimian Tradition in Police Violence
The Durkheimian tradition promotes the concept of social forces in determining the functionalities engaged in the subject community (Collins, 1994). This assertion states the duties of the social structures of the society is to encourage social stability in the society. Emile Durkheim aligned himself to the functionalistic view of the society. Therefore, social institutions such as the police department were intended to ensure the protection and reinforcement of peace in the society. The tradition further alludes to the immensity of social forces in the society. Social forces encourage a consistent sense of confusion and disintegration. This confusion affects the minority more than it does the majority and powerful in the society. Such social forces determine the racial disparities in the victims of police brutality. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
In America, police violence is often found in the communities comprised of minority individuals. Based on the Durkheimian tradition, this happens because the overall society is more willing to overlook the issues that affect the minority (Cotterrell, 1991). This explains the media loathe towards examining cases involving police brutality on the minority in the US. The media in extending information appertaining to an act of police violence tend to amplify the breach of social codes rather than the act of the police officer. In assessing cases of police brutality, the media significantly amplifies the criminal act vis-à-vis the subsequent acts of the police, which influences public interest towards the criminal act and not the police response.
Public scrutiny is further inhibited by the social functionalism. The society is inclined towards the determination of the code of conduct that was breached rather than the overall responses of the police officers in the event of a criminal act. The society has established social norms that are imposed on the individuals within a given setting (Cotterrell, 1991). In the event of a functional breach, even the society is willing to overlook the misdemeanors of the police efforts in meting out justice and instead concentrate on the social breach overseen by the recipient of police brutality. This explains the reasons why the public has been disinterested in the police brutalism phenomenon up to recent times. Disinterest from the public curtails the pressure that the police officers have in the solving of cases that involve police brutality.
Most of the reported cases of police brutality originate from the minority communities. This is a culmination of the ritualistic doctrine prevailing in the subject communities. Individuals within a given community tend to converge around a pre-established identity. The minority are aware of the disadvantaged positions they occupy in the society and commonly associate themselves with the victim mentality concerning police brutality. The individuals in the minority communities are more inclined towards supporting each other rather than determining the cause of the violence in the first place. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
The Durkheimian tradition reinforces the significance of rituals in a given community (Cotterrell, 1991). Rituals provide a sense of identity to the individuals in the society. Given that over the years, the minority groups have been at the forefront in the vilification of police brutality, individuals in the minority communities are more willing than not to claim similar complaints even if the police action does not comprise an act of brutality. The need for convergence and solidarity in the society results in curtailed and doctored views of police functions in the society and hence the rise in reported cases of police violence.
The Micro-interactionist Tradition in Police violence
The Micro-interactionist tradition states that the societal units are defined through social interactions (Collins, 1994). Essentially, the roles of the different groups in the society are reinforced over time through constant interactions. The role of the police institution in the society is to protect the community. They are the enforcers of the law and have the power to engage any means to achieve these goals. Therefore, the rise of police violence in recent times is a culmination of the need for increased regulation of criminal activities in the society. Police violence has essentially been influenced by the dynamics of criminal activities. [Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
Increased police brutality is a reflection of the increased nature of the violence in criminal activities. Unlike in the past, criminals are now more willing to engage in gun violence. Therefore, to reinforce the law, the police are compelled to engage similar responses that culminate in increased police violence. This means that police brutality is a result of interactions with criminal brutality. It is a culmination of the need to ensure lawfulness in the community irrespective of the stances taken by the criminal actors. Furthermore, the middle class and the elite in the society fail to reinforce fairness and justice in the society. Friendliness is not reinforced in such cultures (ThyBlackMan, 2015). The responses initiated to address prevailing situations are aligned towards practicability. Given that the majority comprise the heads of many of the police departments, it is this doctrine that is transmitted to the members of the police officers. Therefore, instead of reinforcing friendliness with the public, the police are always aligned towards the extension of the appropriate response in recognition of the weight of the prevailing problem.
Police violence has seen a rise in recent times. The phenomenon affects minority groups than any other groups in America. Consequently, the Black community has been the subject of increased cases of police brutality. There are four sociological frameworks that can be employed to determine the administrative and functions of the police, which lead to increased police violence. The addressed sociological frameworks include the conflict tradition, the utilitarianism theory, the Durkheimian tradition, and the Micro-interactionist tradition. To mitigate police violence, there is a need to address all the social factors that inspire the communal disparities. For instance, I feel that there should be more community sessions between the police and members of the affected minority communities. This will ease the tension that is inspired by increased police violence. There is further need to address the shortage of minority representatives in the justice system. This will serve to preempt feeling of bitterness in the minority communities in their interactions with the majority community.
Cobb, J. (Director). (2016). Policing the police [Motion Picture].
Collins, R. (1994). Four sociological traditions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Cotterrell, R. (1991). Review: The Durkheimian Tradition in the Sociology of the Law. Law & Society Review, 24(5), 923-946.
McCartney, S. (2015). Ethics in law enforcement. British Columbia: BC Campus.
Human Rights Watch. (1998). Shielded from justice: Police Brutality and Accountability in the United States. New York: Human Rights Watch.
ThyBlackMan. (2015, September 27). The rise of police brutality preserves a functionalist american society.