The Student Voice of Holy Innocents' Episcopal School

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Should We Trust the Police?

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“People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf,” George Orwell said.

In The United States today, the issue of police brutality and injustice has plagued government agencies and caused outrage in millions.

The fragile situation of injustice in The United States that fractured with the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012 all but crumbled in 2014 with situations of malicious wrongdoing by law enforcement officials surfacing weekly.

With the current cycle of violence, students at HIES have begun to ask the obvious question, should we trust the police?

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While 2014 was indisputably a bad year for police; effectively examining the issue of police violence requires a holistic look at the inner workings of the police force.

While problems occurring around police brutality seem to arise somewhat rarely, in our country on average 6.6 percent of officers have a complaint filed against them while 61 percent of officers admit not reporting serious criminal offenses by their peers. With injustice and cover-ups rampant throughout law enforcement agencies, citizens should undoubtedly take caution during encounters with police, whether it is a traffic stop or a more serious arrest.

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In times of trauma, law enforcement officials often lose control of their emotions and in turn abuse their power, breaking constitutional laws. Well many officers seem ethical; demeanor can swing drastically in an instant of fear. This loss of restraint coupled with a militarized police force and a population of Americans unfamiliar with their constitutional rights leads to tragic violence.

While there are certainly countless examples of police violence that occur out of racism and prejudice, a large percentage of violence can be avoided with a few simple steps.

To begin, all citizens must make sure they are familiar with and able to “flex” their rights. These rights can help you work through a police encounter calmly and can assist a defendant later in a court of law. Another simple technique to attempt to avoid an unlawful confrontation with police is simple attitude. Officers may feel threatened if they are faced with a hostile attitude.

In sum, while many negative confrontations with police are inescapable, a few simple steps can help enable smooth situations and assist a lawyer later in court.

Unfortunately, for many Americans, police confrontations frequently turn violent despite any of the surrounding circumstances. Tamir Rice stands as perhaps the most tragic example of unwarranted police violence.

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While playing in his local park, a concerned neighbor called the police with a complaint of a boy with “probably a toy gun”. Within minutes officers pulled up alongside Rice and gunned him down and proceeded to handcuff his sister who came to his aid. They denied Tamir Rice immediate medical assistance and he died the following day. Tragedies like this one, while disturbing, are not uncommon in our country.

As American citizens we must be able to flex our rights and fight against corrupt law enforcement.

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The Student Voice of Holy Innocents' Episcopal School
Should We Trust the Police?