Police Brutality? Essay

1170 words - 5 pages

Police Brutality?

In the criminal justice field one of the most debated issues centers on the use of certain techniques when trying to subdue combative suspects. Since incidents like the Rodney King beating, people have started paying more attention to how the police handle suspects. Questions concerning the deaths of people after a tazor was used or the choke hold had been applied have been raised recently.

The use of tazor guns, which were first introduced in the 1970's and put out a jolt of 50,000 volts, has been questioned recently by groups like Amnesty International who claim that police using the tazors have been responsible for killing more than 70 people since 2001. This is just the latest of several reports claiming that law enforcement officers are using unsafe means when contending with combative suspects. Tazor guns were intended to be used as a last resort when all other methods of control had failed. It appears however that it has actually caused a rise in the use of force by police. In a study done by the Orlando Sentinel, it was shown that the use of force against suspects in the city of Orlando, Florida, had "nearly doubled since Tazors were issued to police", although they arrested fewer people. The same study also showed that the incident of officers getting hurt has decreased where as injuries endured by suspects has stayed the same. The data seems to suggest that officers may be using tazors in situations which would previously have been resolved without the use of force. Issuing such weapons to all patrol officers could increase officers' readiness to resort to such force, given the ease with which tazors can be used, and the temptation to use them at the first sign of resistance. A sheriff's office in Michigan seems to have come up with a possible answer to some of the problem. They required that their officers get zapped with the tazor once during training so that they would know what it felt like and hopefully think twice before using it. They responded by claiming extreme pain and stating that it was the longest five seconds of their lives. It can be argued that it's like using a cattle prod on animals or using electric cables to torture prisoners of war. It's also like getting punched 100 times in a row or for men getting kicked in the groin. The use of tazors could be said to be cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment however I believe to be better than any other option currently available.

The "choke hold" known as shime-waza used in the sport of judo is another common method employed by police. It has been taught and used by law enforcement officers to subdue violent suspects for several years. Recently, however, there have been reports of deaths allegedly caused by the use of choke holds, leading to law suits against its use. When properly applied, the choke hold causes unconsciousness in 8-10 seconds and once released most suspects regain consciousness within 20 seconds with no lasting effect....

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