Sample Criminal Justice Paper on Police Brutality

In the recent years, there has been an increase in the police brutality involving African-Americans. This issue has gathered national attention. This is because many people believe that the police are treating the African-American people unfairly. There has been a series of brutal killings by the police and this has led to increased racial tension in the America because most of the victims are African-Americans if not all of them.

In February 26, 2012 and male black aged 17 years old was shot and killed in Florida. This was a young African American who was a high school student in Miami gardens. The name of this boy was Trayvon Martin and the police who shot him dead was called George Zimmerman. He was a watch captain in the boy’s neighborhood (Walen, 2001). Zimmerman was ordered to report a suspicious person by the 911. Instead, he just decided to single out the boy because of his color. He concluded that since the boy was black and was not walking objectively in the area with a hoodie on, he qualified to be a suspect automatically. Zimmerman was ordered not to approach the boy or even leave his vehicle but he decided to go against those orders and decided to single the boy out. This act led to Zimmerman shooting and killing the innocent boy. Zimmerman admitted that he shot the boy and claimed that he did that in self-defense (bazemore, 2006). The parents of the boy tried to seek justice but the police officer was set free in the year 2013 since he was not found guilty.

In the year 2014 august 9, another young black boy by the name Michael brown aged 18 years was shot dead by a white police officer. The name of the police officer who shot this boy was Darren Wilson (Van Brunschot, 2002). The boy was shot at a place known as Ferguson in Missouri. He was with his friend Johnson as they were leaving the market. The surveillance cameras showed the boy stealing some cigarillos. Upon the capture by the surveillance cameras, the police took action. When the police officer arrived he saw Michael was fit to be described as a thief and decided to shoot him at the back. The reports show that that Michael was shot at the back as he had turned around with his hands up showing that he had surrendered. The reports further show that the statement, “hands up, don’t shoot” by the police was a lie because the boy raised his hands up and was still shot. Even there is enough evidence that the boy did not have a gun because he said, “I don’t have a gun, stop shooting” but the police went ahead to shoot the boy which was very wrong (Reitzel, 2003). This shooting of Michael showed that the police officer profiled the boy racially based on his color of the skin hence the assumption that he was a thief.

In the year 2014 July 17, a man by the name Eric Garner, who was unarmed was choked to death by an NYPD police. This man was aged 43 years, married, and father of 6 and had 2 grandchildren. It is reported that this man was asthmatic and he was subjected to a chokehold by the police as the other colleagues hit his head against a beauty supply sore in Staten Island in New York. This was a brutal killing as the man repeatedly screamed, “I can’t breathe I can’t breathe” but the officer continued to press him in the same chokehold position until he became unconscious and finally died (Monell, 2013). Upon the killing, the police officers documented a fake evidence to show that the man was a suspect. They produced records which showed that the man was to appear in court in October the same year for three charges. He was to answer cases concerning possession of pot, possession and selling of untaxed cigarettes (Johnson and Kuhns, 2009). All this proves that the police system is America can find any dubious way to make an innocent black man to look bad so that they can cover up their own brutality and inhumanity. In the year 2015 December 12, the police shot Keith Childress. It is claimed that the US marshal were conducting surveillance on this man. They requested for help from the metro when he fled but eventually caught up with him. The police claimed that the man had an unknown object in his hands and they assumed it was a gun hence shot him to death. In future the object turned out to be a cellphone. However, no police officer was charged with the killing of Keith (Levin,Jack and Alexander, 2005).

There has been a very close connection between the killing of the African-Americans and the element of racial profiling (Darby and Saatcioglu, 2014). This is because many people who die in America are blacks who are not even criminal. According to analysis, it shows that in the year 2015 the young black men in America were 9 times likely to be shot by the police than the other Americans. Moreover, it shows that 1134 deaths of the blacks that occurred in the year 2015 were at the hands of the police officers and other law enforcers. This is a biased killing because despite the fact that the African-Americans make up only 2 % of the American population, 15% of all deaths recorded in the year 2015 comprised of African-Americans aged between 15 to 34 years.  Moreover, all those deaths were as a result of use of brutal approach by the police. It further shows that the rate of black’s death as a result of police confrontation was five times more than for the white people of the same age (Darby and Saatcioglu, 2014). This killing by the police is disproportionately affecting the black race alone and the biggest question among the human rights activists is whether it is only the blacks who are criminals.  It is also funny how those white police officers get acquitted easily after killing a black American. This has led to a series of strikes and protests which accuse the officers of being very fast in using brutal approach when dealing with unarmed African Americans. According to my opinion, I think that the police officers, who are mostly white together with other white law enforcing officers have a racial prejudice when it comes to handling cases concerning the African Americans and the other races. There has been many serious reports about the police biased brutality when dealing with the blacks. However, majority of this cases do not receive the required attention that is necessary to end such kind of practices. It is also very clear that this is a racial profiled killing because of recent black movements that have emerged in an attempt to voice this injustice. One of those movements is the black lives matter movement.



  Bazemore, G. (2006) “Book Review: The Contexts Of Juvenile Justice Decision Making: When Race             Matters”. Criminal Justice Review ,31.1: 82-84. Web

Darby, Derrick, and Argun Saatcioglu. (2014) “RACE, JUSTICE, AND DESEGREGATION1”. Du Bois    Review: Social Science Research on Race ,11.01: 87-108. Web.

Johnson, Devon, and Joseph B. Kuhns. (2009) “Striking Out: Race And Support For Police Use Of   Force”. Justice Quarterly ,26.3: 592-623. Web.

   Levin, Jack, and Alexander R. Thomas. (2005) “Experimentally Manipulating Race: Perceptions Of        Police Brutality In An Arrest: A Research Note”. Justice Quarterly ,14.3: 577-586. Web.

Monell, J. S. “Book Review: Hispanics In The U.S. Criminal Justice System: The New American    Demography”. Race and Justice ,3.4 (2013): 358-361. Web.

 Reitzel, J. (2003) “Book Review: Race And Justice”. Criminal Justice Review ,28.2: 439-440. Web.

Van Brunschot, E. G. (2002)”Book Review: Lethal Imagination: Violence And Brutality In American    History”. Criminal Justice Review ,27.2 : 386-388. Web.

Walen, Alec. (2001) “Reasonable Illegal Force: Justice And Legitimacy In A Pluralistic, Liberal         Society”. Ethics, 111.2 : 344-373. Web.