Always Another Side…

Deven MacIntosh, Author

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The night of November 24, 2014, the grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Ferguson, Missouri turned into chaos as protesters and police officers clashed in the streets over the killing of Michael Brown. Not only were the protesters completely out of control and reckless, but they were extremely violent in how they took out their frustration towards law enforcement.

 

In today’s world, the bad guy seems to always have more support and glory then the good guy. Police officers have bore the brunt of a new social movement that condemns law enforcement killing young unarmed black men. The victims of these shootings such as Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Freddie Gray all had massive turnouts for their funerals, international recognition and support, and large violent protests.

But, there’s always another side to a story, and there’s always different perspectives and views that must be taken into account when dealing with these social issues. Police officers are everyday people like myself and the person reading this article. They are husbands, fathers, sons, daughters, mothers, and wives. Only difference is they put on the uniform everyday and answer the call to protect and serve the citizens of the United States. They are the only law and order that keep humans from becoming barbaric savages. Without them there would be no infrastructure at all! But yet, they have been condemned and punished for their actions.

When asked about the job of a police officer, Kris Desmond, a senior at IHS, stated, “I feel it is a very dangerous job and the people who serve are very, very, very tough. There good citizens and live life to the fullest.” Officers have to make split second decisions in a matter of seconds, for everything. They must face situations that nobody else could handle. Reasonable measures have been taken to help determine who was at fault, such as body cameras, to protect the officer and his actions from scrutinization. Traffic stops have been found to be the most dangerous and stressful calls, since the officer is often alone, outnumbered most times, and unaware of who the people in the car are. Nighttime can be even more stressful. It’s dark, there are less people around, and the occupants could be hiding a weapon more easily. Often times people don’t cooperate, further escalating the situation, making the officer feel threatened. A Mint Press News article stated that in 2015 alone, 120 police officers were killed. The article continues to state that 776 people died from police officers in the United States. Yes, there is a big gap between the two. But out of the 776 deaths of people by law enforcement, 528 were armed with a firearm or knife at the time of their death.  Police officers should have the right to defend themselves when being threatened by a suspect armed with a gun or knife. Shooting someone is never the first response for police officers, even in hostile situations. It’s always the last resort, when their life or another officer’s life is in jeopardy.

Yes, there are bad police officers who abuse their powers and don’t do the right thing. An example would be the mistreatment of Freddie Gray by law enforcement. The murder of Freddie Gray on April 12, 2015, under the custody of Baltimore Police Officer’s Brian W. Rice, Edward Nero, and Garrett E. Miller, was absolutely wrong. Denying medical care to a suspect was cruel and inhumane, and they are currently being investigated for their actions. But with every profession there is going to be bad people who abuse their positions. In essence, a bad person doesn’t make the whole establishment bad.

“The media unfortunately tends to sensationalize things. So I think it’s a much bigger story, unfortunately, if a white officer kills a young black man in the line of duty,” stated IHS Resource Officer Perna. “It’s not a big story if a police officer loses his life. It’s not going to get as much attention and sell as many advertisements in newspapers and magazines and things like that if they cover police officers who lost their lives.”  The media is a contributor to the glorification of violence, portraying the police as a hostile military occupying force during Ferguson and Baltimore riots. Media coverage of the murders were continuous and unrelentless. Yet whenever a police officer has fallen in the line of duty, media coverage is minimal compared to the victims of police shootings.
Police officers should be respected and treated better. Actions against them should be condemned, not recognized. Bad systems and policies have led to police officers being targeted as the enemy. It is our job as citizens to recognize all they do, for what they do.

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