Police Brutality

file_000-3 In the past year or so, the news has been blowing up with stories of shootings and police brutality all over the country. Many questions have been circling around the States regarding the recent incidents. A lot of people think that it may have to do with race and the corruption of police officers. Though both of those may be true, one can not exactly state those as the only main reason for the recent uprising of brutality occurring in the United States. The debate between the causes for this brutality is split down the middle. Some people are against what these officers are doing; other people feel that they are just doing their jobs. Police are people too, afraid for their lives and just trying to make the best judgment and call in a short amount of time.
Just in the first six months of 2015, 465 people were shot and killed by police and 491 people were shot and killed by police in the first six months of 2016. These large numbers show the increasing rate of brutality occurring in the United States. This is just a portion of the incredible statistics based on police shootings and brutality from the past two years. It is amazing to see these numbers and that this many fatal scenarios happen all around The United States. We decided to see what people thought on this topic.
Ipswich High School student and daughter of Ipswich Police Officer, Kelsey Daly and IHS teacher Mr. Krieger, each had a different opinion on the matter. This gave us a new perspective of the situation. The first thing we asked was a simple yet broad question, whether or not they think police brutality is an issue. Kelsey’s response was, “No I don’t think it’s a problem,” yet Mr. Krieger’s response was, “Yes it is a problem.” When going over the interviews these two had a different answer to almost everything. For example, we also asked if they feel police brutality has to do with race. Kelsey answered by saying, “Yes, I think our country is very divided right now by race and people are too focused on whites versus blacks a lot in the media, which makes the issue worse.” Mr. Krieger simply stated, “Every case is different so it’s hard to say.”

Although they answered differently on these questions there were some that they agreed on. Social media is such a powerful influence nowadays. The majority of the population has a smartphone or some way of connecting to people and the news. You see police brutality on almost every social media app such as twitter, instagram, facebook, news apps, television; it is virtually everywhere. There is no getting away from it. We hear about it so frequently; it makes you feel as though it actually is happening at every place you go. Statistics show that police shootings aren’t happening any more now than they did twenty years ago; there was just less social media to inform everyone.

We decided to ask Kelsey and Mr. Krieger about this. We asked them how they felt social media portrays police shootings. Kelsey responded by saying, “Social media portrays the police officers as the criminals instead of showing the actual criminals.” Mr. Krieger’s response to the question was, “All crimes are dramatized by social media.”

We then asked why police shootings seem to be on the rise. Kelsey answered that with relating it back to social media, “I don’t think they are, I think because so many people have phones and social media, it seems like there’s more when there really isn’t.” Mr. Krieger had a similar answer saying, “It’s not happening more often; social media is bringing it to attention more.” We believe it’s safe to say that social media has an incredibly powerful role in bringing police brutality to the world’s attention.
Although police do, in certain cases, have the right to shoot someone, does that make it alright? We decided to ask if police should have more consequences when taking someone’s life. Kelsey gave an answer stating, “If the shooting wasn’t justified, I think they should have the same consequences as any other person. Police are not above the law.” Mr. Krieger said, “They make decisions in a split second; police are allowed to kill somebody if it’s justifiable but they need to face justice like everyone else.”

People also need to put in perspective the amount of training police officers receive before entering the field. According to Judd Daly, a police officer in the town of Ipswich, police officers only receive four hours of shooting practice a year. With how difficult it is to shoot a gun, having only four hours to practice their aim, it really is not enough time to learn to shoot at someone or something who is possibly running from you. Officer Daly also stated, “Police officers are scared for their lives just as much as anyone else; we’re all human.”

Some people feel that police react to using lethal force instead taking the time to think about all of their options. Kelsey did not agree with that; she said, “Police have a split second to decide what’s going to happen; they also have to think about their own lives and their families and sometimes they need to put themselves first.” On the other hand, Mr. Krieger just said, “They have options; I wouldn’t judge a scenario without knowing all of the facts, but police do not shoot to kill. They shoot to stop.”
It’s good to look at a topic through different views and angles. Police brutality may or may not be an issue depending on your point of view. Whether you think it is a problem or not, it is a relevant topic in today’s society. What do you think about it?