Sample Criminal Justice Paper on Police Brutality and Excessive Use of Force

Police violence and excessive use of force have remained to be a delicate subject over the years. There seems to be contention and ideological differences between law enforcers who resort to using violence and the people who are in the receiving end of such violence or are affected by the excessive use of force. Each of the conflicting groups has reasons for their respective perceptions that are justifiable within their contexts. In this case, this article provides unbiased review on the issue of police brutality by examining the point of view from each side of the argument. Police brutality and excessive use of force are sometimes racialized though there is the extent which uses of police violence intolerable or justifiable.

Police Brutalities from the Perspective of the Law and Law Enforcers

It is essential to understand what police brutality entails as it forms the basis of this article. Police brutality can be defined as the use of unnecessary or excessive force by law enforcement officers when dealing with civilians or suspects. The term is also applicable to the use of force in correctional facilities, military prisons, or penal facilities. Police brutality is used to refer to the infliction of both physical and psychological harm. In most cases, police brutality and excessive use of force under the implicit approval of the local legal systems.

According to Cooper (2015), it is justifiable for law enforcement officers to use force in specific circumstances. Police officers are trained to train on how to force since they encounter many circumstances in the course of their careers that make the use of force necessary. For instance, when making an arrest, some suspects tend to unruly that compelling the use of force. In some cases, police control violent or disruptive crowds, such as the violent demonstration that would not be dispersed without forceful engagements. From the perspective of the police officers, law enforcement work is still dangerous in the US. Ariel et al (2017) argue that America has a rate of homicide compared to other developed countries. Also, the US has a higher number of a gun per capita, which increase the danger for police officers. Given these circumstances, police officers are consistently exposed to extreme stress. It is important to note that a police officer would seldomly display restrain or hold themselves ack under these situations.

In some cases, a police officer uses brutality and violence in split-second decisions to efforts to defend themselves against potential attacks from the suspect. According to Worden. (2015), even well-trained police officers are sometimes caught off guard and are not able to fire their weapons before armed suspects draw theirs and fire first. Under these circumstances, even split-second reactions from police officers may be complicated. The underlying point, in this case, is that the use of police brutality is applied reasonably.

Police Brutalities from the Perspective of Victims of Police Brutality

As noted earlier, police brutality and excessive use of force are determined by the marginal end of the justifiable use of force continuum. This implies that though the society authorizes a considerable use of force by law enforcers, there is lack of clarity as to the extent to which the use of coercion is permissible and beyond which the use of force is considered excessive. This could be one of the reasons why police brutality or excessive use of force goes unchecked, especially in communities that do not have the capacity to advocate themselves. In this context, the subject of brutality can be viewed in terms of racial inclinations or implicitly on the theory of police behavior.

There is a thin line that divides the acceptable and unacceptable use of police force. Racialization of police brutality has received numerous attentions among scholars. Racialization of police brutality is observed when police officers engage in practices that can be perceived to be racially inclined. Some scholars argue that police in the US tend to have high suspicion threshold for African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans than white individuals. As mentioned earlier, police brutality and excessive use of force are justifiable when apprehending unruly suspects. However, the use of violence may not be tolerable when excessive force is used against unarmed suspects that are not resisting arrest. According to Gerber & Jackson (2017), cases of civilians dying in the hands of police officers even after cooperating or surrendering to arrest have been on the rise in recent years. In other words, police brutality attracts the anger of the public if it is used against non-threatening individuals or when it is inclined towards one ethnic group community.

The reasons for police violence can be associated with both the police’s and suspect’s behaviours. The use of force can either by or against a police officer. The excessive use of force by police is in most cases associated with, but not necessarily limited to, use of sever forms of force, that can result in injury or death. According to Schwartz (2020), the African-Americans is the most affected minority community victimized by police violence.



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Cooper, H. L. (2015). War on drugs policing and police brutality. Substance use & misuse50(8-9), 1188-1194.

Gerber, M. M., & Jackson, J. (2017). Justifying violence: legitimacy, ideology and public support for police use of force. Psychology, Crime & Law23(1), 79-95.

Obasogie, O. K., & Newman, Z. (2017). Police violence, use of force policies, and public health. American Journal of Law & Medicine43(2-3), 279-295.

Worden, R. E. (2015). The causes of police brutality: Theory and evidence on police use of force (Vol. 2, pp. 149-204). Routledge, New York, NY, ed.

Schwartz, S. A. (2020). Police brutality and racism in America. Explore (New York, NY).