Police Killings of Unarmed Blacks
According to Fox News, the recent Baltimore riots following the controversial
arrest and death of Freddie Gray has left the city with an estimated $20 million in
damages (FoxNews, May 28 2015). Besides these damages caused by Baltimore riots,
the long-lasting economic impact in Baltimore is even larger than that of natural
disasters since businesses see Baltimore as a less attractive place to invest.
Additionally, earlier in 2014, after Michael Brown’s shooting and Eric Garner’s
chokehold death, violent protests against police killings of unarmed blacks had
already taken place across America in many cities. Those outbursts led to ...view middle of the document...
In fact, the Baltimore riots started as large, peaceful demonstrations, while after a
few hours, some protesters began smashing car and businesses’ windows and the
protests eventually became violent. The residents aren't lashing out in violence just to
take advantage of the situation, but they're unleashing anger that's long existed in their
communities because of racial and economic disparities. As Vox reported, Darnell
Hunt, a UCLA professor who studied the 1992 Rodney King riots in Los Angeles said,
"It's not just people taking advantage. It's not just anger and frustration at the
immediate or proximate cause. It's always some underlying issues."Hence, it is
necessary to take the problem seriously and take actions to improve it.
According to the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau,
Baltimore is 63% black, and the unemployment rate for black men between 20 and 24
was 37% in 2013, which was dramatically higher compared to 10% for whites of the
same age. The low socioeconomic status of African Americans also imposes a
disadvantage on their children’s education, and lack of education makes the youths
become as poor as their parents. What’s more, low socioeconomic status often leads
to little parental attachment and more youth participation in risky behavior and
delinquency. In the book Delinquency Among African American Youth, the author
Carswell described that urban African American youth “are represented among the
chronically poor, are disproportionately exposed to stressful life conditions, and
frequently witness and eventually become involved in illegal activities, such as drug
use and drug trafficking (Carswell, 118).” Therefore, it is essential to improve the
economic and educational status of African Americans by adopting policy involving
federally funded job training or public works programs and providing more
scholarship aid to black low-income students.
However, eliminating racial and economic disparities of African Americans is
not easy, because racism has rooted in this country for hundreds of years. But
improvements made by department police can prevent officer-involved deaths in a
quicker and less costly way than the governmental policy which to improve African
Americans’ socioeconomic status.
Therefore, I would focus my paper on the aspect of police department and argue
that to prevent future economic loss and social instability caused by racial riots, police
departments should adjust their uses of deadly force against African Americans by
offering police training focused on human rights and less lethal weapons, strict policy
guidance with accountability, and more widespread community policing.
Training Focused on Human Rights and Less Lethal Weapons
According to the book Police Shootings and Citizen Behavior, law enforcement
officers have been told that they have the authority to use deadly force to protect
themselves or another from a threat of death or serious...