In February of 2012, a 17 year old black boy by the name of Trayvon Martin was on his way back to his father’s home from a local convenience store where he purchased a bottle of Arizona and a bag of Skittles. While on his way home, he was followed in a car by neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman. Mr. Zimmerman thought that he should follow Trayvon because he had on a hoodie which Zimmerman deemed suspicious. While Zimmerman was following this young man home, he called the police and they told him to remain in his car.
Despite being told to remain in his vehicle, Mr. Zimmerman went against police orders and left the vehicle. When he Zimmerman his vehicle, he attacked Trayvon, which resulted in a scuffle. During that scuffle, Mr. Zimmerman shot Trayvon in his chest, which lead to his death. Mr. Zimmerman was put on trial, found not guilty and he was also acquitted. Tracy Martin, Trayvon Martin’s father, said “my child was profiled. He was stereotyped. He did nothing wrong and we’re not going to let our son die in vain” (Louviere, 2016).
His opinion influenced many others to take charge and take some action. After the verdict, many black parents began to fear for their children, especially their young boys. They believed that this situation could happen to anyone no matter the age of the victim. Also in most cases, offenders were not prosecuted. Although incidents similar to this occurred, the killing of Trayvon Martin sparked a media frenzy among the youth, thus raising awareness within the black community to take a stand against racial discrimination.
From this issue, many people in the black community and other communities as well began to protest and take a stand against racial discrimination. Although the killing of Trayvon Martin occurred four years ago, the issue of racial discrimination influencing racial policing is still ongoing. According to U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commision, racial discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because he or she is of a certain race because of personal characteristics associated with race such as hair texture, skin color, or certain facial features.
The most prevalent instances of racial discrimination exist in America. Racial discrimination mostly affect Afro-Americans in America. The istence of racial discrimination in America originates from colonialism when Africans were brought over by Europeans. When Africans arrived to America, they were forced into slavery and were forced to work under strenuous conditions. After slavery ceased in 1865, America went through the Reconstruction Era where laws were put in place in the south to restrict blacks from progressing in America widely referred to as the “black codes”.
In 1893, Philadelphia’s court officials gave police legal authority to stop and detain any Negro,freed or enslaved, seen wandering around on the streets (Staples,41 ). These discriminatory practices continued through to the Jim Crow era in 1965. After these laws were enacted, black people in America were treated and seen as inferior to white people. As a result of the racial discrimination in America, it has influenced racial policing within the community by enforcing and using oppressive and unethical practices that prevents Afro-American progress people here in America.
Racial discrimination has influenced racial policing within community by using law enforcement to justify prejudice practices. Bruce M. Wright, an American jurist who served on the New York State Supreme Court, described his experiences with policing in America in the court and how oppressive the practices were. He described an encounter in November of 1976 where a white police officer by the name of Scott shot a 10 year old black boy named Glover. When officer Scott was asked why he had shot the boy, he said that he figured the boy was an adult robbery suspect.
He was then asked how could he see the difference between a fully grown adult and a little child from a distance, he replied that all he saw was the color of his skin. To add more fuel to the fire that was not all he did to show that his actions were influenced by racial discrimination: Another point that illustrates Scott’s false testimony is the remark at 5:04:50, as recorded on the tapes transcription,” die you little fuck. ” Scott denies making this comment. But only Scott had access to the walkie-talkie. Scott admits the walkie-talkie transmissions on either side of this remark were his.
It must be assumed that Scott, while waiting for help to arrive, inadvertently left his walkie-talkie on and it captured his senseless utterance(Jackson and Pohl 256). After this evidence was discovered, Officer Scott was acquitted (Jackson and Pohl, 2001). This one incident is similar to many others and consequently has caused a rift between the black community and police. During the 1990’s, the relationship between the black people and the patrolling officers were toxic and intensified even more explosive after the brutal, inhumane beating of taxicab driver Rodney King after a video tape surfaced.
He was beat by three officers while the police sergeant and 17 other officers watched. Rodney suffered many injuries including broken bones and brain damage. Two of the four officers in this case were convicted and the other two were acquitted. After the case, King filed a civil lawsuit and was awarded $3. 2 million (Mydans, 1994). His beating started a serious war against blacks and the police that has been a never ending issue. The discussion of his beating is still seen as controversial within the black community.
Despite the Rodney King incident being over 20 years ago, it still is a fresh wound. Most often in black urban neighborhoods, officers are seen as a threat and as untrustworthy people who abuse of their power. One of the ways that police officers abuse their power is by performing “stop and frisk”. “Stop and frisk” is a term used by the justice system to apprehend minorities based on the idea of probable cause. Probable cause is the ability to have reasonable grounds for searching a person or property.
On August 12, 2013, a federal judge found the New York City Police Department liable for a pattern and practice of racial profiling and unconstitutional stops (Goldstein, 2014). After that, the NYPD was ordered to make a written racial profiling policy that complies with the Unites States and United States constitution along with a database of recorded stops but the NYPD did not comply. To further the punishment of the NYPD, the CCR primary supplier database of U. S. Government, filed a Floyd. According to Sentencing Project for Research and Advocacy for Reform, one in three black men have a likelihood of going to prison.
A recent poll done by CNN and the Kaiser Family Foundation found that one of five black people were treated unfairly because of their race compared to 3% of white people(Drash). In July of 2014, a man by the name of Eric Garner was stopped by the police under the suspicion that he was selling untaxed cigarettes. When the cops approached him, Garner told the officers that he was tired of being harassed. The officer involved choked him to apprehend him even though he was not resisting. Eric told the officer that he could not breathe, but the officer did not listen to him.
He died from a lack of oxygen. After his death, his wife described many instances of where he was being harassed everyday such as the grocery store and similar to how he was stopped on the fatal day that he died (Demby, 2014). She also spoke about how she begged him everyday to not let the cops be careful and not kill him. She checked on him everyday to see how he was and sadly 30 minutes before his death, he let his wife know that he was okay. Comparable to Rodney King, Eric Garner’s death was caught on video. Although video evidence existed, the officers were not convicted.
His family was awarded $5 million from the state of New York. It is sad that the government thinks that a certain amount of money can take the family’s greiving away and bring the person back when it can’t. Although Rodney King and Eric Garner cases are they are 20 years apart, it is truly ironic how comparable they are. For those who argue that racial profiling is not prevalent in America, statistics show that the issue of racial discrimination is repeating itself and it is becoming an even more immense issue.
In connection with stop and frisk, police brutality is an important example of how racial discrimination influences racial policing. People like Keith Childress, Bettie Jones, Kevin Matthews, Leroy Browning, Roy Nelson, Tiara Thomas, and about 95 others lost their lives in 2015 to police brutality. What many don’t know about these individuals is that all of them were unarmed. Statistics show that police killed at least 102 unarmed black people in 2015, nearly two each week(http://mappingpoliceviolence. org/unarmed/).
Only 10 of the 102 cases in 2015 where an unarmed black person w killed by police resulted in officer(s) being charged with a crime, and only 1 of these deaths (Matthew Ajibade) resulted in convictions of the officers involved. Only one of the two officers convicted received jail time. To add more fuel to the fire, the officer only has to serve his sentence exclusively on the weekends. This officer received freedom, while his victim can no longer breathe which supports how the racial discrimination has an immense influence on racial policing (discrim).
It is completely absurd that less than ten percent of these cases involved an officer being convicted and only one of them involved an officer being convicted. Very few of them are convicted because of the influence that racial discrimination has on policing. According to police misconduct and Civil Rights, the defense use many unique techniques to help the officers become acquitted: Defense attorneys representing a police officer for any of these claims will raise a defense of qualified immunity. This defense exists to prevent the fear of legal prosecution from inhibiting a police officer from enforcing the law.
The defense will defeat a claim against the officer if the officer’s conduct did not violate a clearly established constitutional or statutory right. In other words, the specific acts the officer prevented the individual from engaging in must be legally protected, otherwise there is no civil rights violation. In order to win a civil rights claim, an individual bringing a police misconduct claim must prove that the actions of the police exceeded reasonable bounds, infringed the victim’s constitutional rights, and produced some injury or damages to the victim (Finlaw 2016).
As long as racial discrimination exists, racial policing will exist. The influence of racial discrimination on racial policing is deeper than a lot of people realize. People have even raised the question of if less than ten percent of cops are convicted for killing black people, why can black people be sentenced to 35 years for killing a dog. Has the killing of an animal become more valuable than a human life because of racial discrimination influence on racial policing?