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Racial Biases Among Police Officers

Recently racial profiling has become a prominent issue in America. After the incident with Rodney King, more emphasis has been placed on profiling. According to news reports, Rodney King was driving down the street in his hometown of L.A. when several police officers stopped him solely of the colour of his skin. There is much conflicting information that reports that he was speeding doing about 100 mph before they stopped him. When he was stopped, he pulled out of the car, the police to deliver 56 baton blows and six kicks to him. In a period of two minutes, King had 11 skull fractures, brain damage, and kidney damage. A man named George Holliday, standing near the sight videotaped the incident. Several months later, the police officers were cleared of criminal charges in this case.

Racially bias policing exists almost everywhere in this great free country. America the land of the free, home of the brave in this nation people assumed that they have equalled rights, but do they. The declaration states that all men are created equal, but are they. Following the King incident, a new awareness has been raised. What predisposed issues was there that caused them to stop King at a particular time.

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There is not much difference between “racial profiling” and “racially biased policing”. Racial profiling refers to and is frequently defined as law enforcement activities (e.g., detentions, arrests, searches) that are initiated solely based on race, and was limited to activities in the context only of vehicle stops. That in turn ignored the potential abuse of power in the many other activities in which there could possibly be misconduct. Racially biased policing is when an officer uses more than a single factor when conducting biased law enforcement. For example, an officer might make decisions based on the neighbourhood and the race of the person, the age of the car and or type of car and the race of the person, or the gender and the race of the person. Activities based on these sample pairs of factors would fall outside the most commonly used definition of racial profiling.

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Racially bias police come in many different categories. Some racially bias police could be bias against a black man who has a white wife, with a great career a nice car. Another officer could be biased against a person who has an expensive car and is very intelligent. When a situation occurs and a person is arrested, we would like to think that that person broke the law, but that is not always the case. Maybe, could possibly be that the arresting officer had a bad experience with a Hispanic waitress in the restaurant and decided he was going to illegally put drugs and every Hispanic person they see and arrest them. There are no sure ways to tell know exactly why some police re racially biased.

In another situation, an officer might believe that they can correctly predict a person who will commit a crime. The officer may even be an experienced officer and know the area and the profile of the offenders in the area. Giving that the officer may feel that he is being an efficient officer approaching an ever-black man with a white girl. In this situation, the officers would more than likely feel that he was justified in being a racially biased officer.

When an officer detains citizens of America based only on a hunch or having a bad experience with a particular group or gender that officers have violated that citizens constitutional rights. The fourteenth amendment states all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United State wherein they reside. In addition, it says the State shall not deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. The fourth amendment of the U.S. constitution implies that investigative detention, traffic stops, arrests searches, and property seizures by officers will be based on a standard of reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

Although many officers “racially bias police”, the Supreme Court’s has ruled judgment-letting officers know that it is not acceptable. In the case, U.S. v. Brignoni, a Fourth Amendment case regarding a vehicle stop near a border, the Supreme Court held that police could not stop motorists based solely on their racial or ethnic, appearance, even if the officers are investigating illegal aliens.

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On the other hand, the court system gives those “racially bias police” the gas they need to keep the fire lit. As in the case of The Arthur McDuffie case, an African American was riding his motorcycle on the streets of Miami, Florida. The police officers gave chase and eventually joined by more than a dozen Miami patrol cars. Following a brief pursuit that allegedly reached speeds over one hundred miles per hour. McDuffie stopped his motorcycle. Officers converged on the scene, and at last, six officers jumped McDuffie. In a matter of minutes, McDuffie lay motionless on the ground with his head split open. He died four days later because of police-inflicted injuries. Because of inconsistencies uncovered by a departmental investigation, the officer was indicted for manslaughter and tried in Tampa. An all-white jury was selected to hear the charges; in May of 1980, the jury acquitted all of the officers.

No one has identified any simple solutions to the problems that have existed for many years. This problem is very complex and needs more research to fix. “Racially bias policing” has stemmed for hundred of years, of the minority being degraded and not having a true opportunity to advance in their lives. In some police, agencies have implemented new training policies to train there officers not to make stops based on the person race and what kind of car they drive, but rather what illegal facts did the driver violate. In addition, in many police car, they have a video recorder, to record the police action.

This is for the protection of the officers, but mainly this is more for the protection of the citizen who can become a victim of that officer. In recent years, more minority officer has been hired to create a more diverse police force. This diversity could be part of the solutions or part of the problems. In the past, some black officers treat black people worst than a white officer. Many times people say that the black officer is trying to make himself look good in front of his co-worker. In this situation, harsher laws should exist especially for this case. This could possibly be a part of the solution because in general be feel more at ease around there own race.

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In addition, if the officers are guilty of racially biased policing the federal laws should be harsher to prevent this behaviour. As well, the hiring process needs to be more based on the values and the morals of the applicant for the position. In this hiring process, there should be several tests done to determine if that potential officer is racist, if so that person then taken or of the entire hiring process.

In conclusion, I feel that this problem requires the examination of individuals from all races and beliefs to eliminate it. Given the entirely different situation, I feel that the federal courts are also allowing this problem to cultivate. In addition, if America is going to grow as a great nation then they should treat their fellow citizen with full respect and equality.

Works Cited Page

Roberg, Roy. Police and Society. Los Angeles, California:
Roxbury Publishing Company, 2000

Robert Lunney. Police Executive Research Forum. Washington
D.C.: Library of Congress Number 01-13244420, 2001

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Racial Biases Among Police Officers. (2021, Mar 10). Retrieved March 22, 2023, from