To serve and protect, this is what the police force is supposed to do. But in the recent past, police brutality has been highlighted in various high profile incidents, from Ferguson, to New York and recently to Philadelphia.
Najee Rivera was framed by two officers of Philadelphia PD. They charged him for aggravated assault when they were the ones who assaulted him. A video found by his girlfriend proved beyond a shadow of doubt that the police officers had falsified their report and brutally beaten up this man.
Najee settled with the PD for $200k and the DA has committed to prosecuting the police officers to the full extent of the law. Despite the damning video evidence, the police officers through their lawyers are looking to prove their innocence in court.
I understand that the police has to deal with an extreme amount of pressure on the streets. Gang wars, drugs, thieves and carries, however that is no excuse to mistreat the very people they have sworn to serve. To be fair, till date I haven’t been on the receiving end of mistreatment from the police, however these instances leave me unnerved.
Citizens shouldn’t have to feel unnerved when dealing with the police. They need to be comfortable enough to approach officers for help when required. To me the problem is proper recruitment, psychological assessment and training. This can ensure that only people with the correct mental makeup are ever made officers. The other part is complete transparency. Cops should wear cameras at all times, that record their encounters with everyone they come in contact with.
In today’s advanced technological age, accomplishing this is not difficult, it just needs willingness. From our politicians, from the police department and commitment from the good officers who are sullied by the actions of the few rogues out there.
The other part towards a better situation is interaction with the community. An ongoing outreach program encouraging dialogue between cops and community will also go a long way to fostering goodwill.
We really need a police force that respects the citizens that actually employ them. Let’s make a change.