Police Brutality: What Is It And How To Fight Against It

Over the last year, we’ve heard a lot of the term ‘police brutality.’ It is defined as the use of excessive or unnecessary force against a civilian. As George Floyd’s death horrified the world, many saw another side to policing, while others mourned the death of yet another Black man at the hands of those who are meant to protect them. Here are some things that you can do to fight against police brutality.

Advocate For Better Police Culture

Changes in police culture require the redevelopment of existing organizations. The evidence indicates that better training programs can impact police behavior. However, many police education programs are only weeks to months long, and any evidence-based social science curriculum is relatively brief as compared to other social careers.

While education provides a good foundation, there is significant evidence that suggests the implementation of new policies has led to a decrease in violence and deaths of civilians caused by police. These were recognized in departments with at least 4 policies relating specifically to the use of force, and requirements of alternative de-escalation techniques.

Protect Yourself

Your safety is the most important thing and understanding what to do if you’re stopped by the police is the best way to protect yourself. If you find yourself in this situation, keep your hands visible so that the officers do not perceive any threat or misconstrue your actions. Know your rights beforehand and calmly express them to the officer if you feel they are being violated. You can deny a property search, but do not resist if they ignore your denial. Do not try to talk your way out of anything or warn them you’ll file a complaint. What you say can be used against you. Remember the officer’s name and badge number if you can, and write everything down afterward as this can serve as a record of what happened.

Being the victim of or witnessing police brutality can be traumatizing. It is normal to feel scared, angry, alone, and upset. You may find it helpful to speak to a counselor or join a support group.

Protect Others

If you are a witness to police brutality, you can legally film the altercation, but keep your device close to your body so that the officer cannot grab it from you. Keep your phone screen locked and disable fingerprint or facial recognition. Officers cannot confiscate your device or view content without a warrant.

If you are a minority, be aware of your own increased risk. If you are a white person, you are less likely to be a victim of police violence and can use this power to intervene. Keep your own safety in mind; do not become physically involved. The sad reality is that police have often shown themselves with unruly behaviors, and the information on https://www.wilsonlawgroupsc.com/blog/why-do-police-officers-use-excessive-force/ points out that it often leads to excessive force, and that it is minorities who are more vulnerable to police brutality. Calmly but clearly state the rights of the victim, and yourself if necessary. If you can, stay with the victim until there is some form of resolution.

If there are other witnesses, ask them to call 911. It may seem counterintuitive, but calls to 911 are recorded, an ambulance can be sent, and the officers may be deterred from causing further harm.

Call Upon Your Politicians

Voting is one of the most important ways to use your voice. However, it doesn’t stop when the polls close. It is important to communicate with your local politicians and tell them what you want to see happen in your community. Since the death of George Floyd in 2020, there have been increased calls for police departments to be defunded. This means redirecting large portions of police funding to other social programs, and reevaluating and changing how police forces are used in communities. Get to know the situation in your community and where pressure can be applied.

Support Local Alternatives

In many places, especially in larger cities, there are alternative organizations to call upon when there is a crisis. You can reinforce them by advocating on their behalf with regards to asking the government for funding, donating yourself, and even volunteering in some cases. Most of these organizations are non-profits that hire trained professionals, such as social workers and psychologists, who are trained to de-escalate in situations of mental health crisis and can provide alternative methods of resolution.

It is an undeniable fact that police have an important job, that they inevitably face critical and scary situations, and that they are human. However, in reality, police are meant to serve and protect and are authority figures in the eyes of the public. While we cannot dismantle the system overnight, we can take steps to make our communities safer.

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