To protect and serve, It’s a trap!

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To protect and serve, It’s a trap!

Stephanie M. Lopez, Staff Writer

A recent protest sparked outrage in the streets of downtown Los Angeles when a group of individuals including students were arrested for blocking a blue line train on April 14, at around 5 p.m. According to the main stream media the protest was against police abuse against citizens, and started from the LAPD Central division in downtown Los Angeles. The end result was 15 protesters were arrested.

From a young age we are taught that if we feel doubtful about a situation to look for an officer because he knows best. The police officers know the right thing to do, they follow all orders, and we should always obey to what they say. Some elementary schools even have police programs such as DARE in which an officer attends a class and talks about how to stay out of trouble and educate students on drugs. Therefore why would we ever feel the need to riot against those we were taught will protect us in any circumstance?

“To Protect and Serve” seems more like a joke now-a-days then the standards all police officers have to practice. School programs have brainwashed people to believe that officers recognizes malicious activities and take any actions in order to protect the well being of others. However, actions speak louder than words and when citizens see brutality induced by officers, people revolt. Here’s my take on it, we still have an ethnic inequality in America. The numbers say it all when we face the statistics of arrest made against the African American community verse the White community. According to a report published by People Press on October 2014, 70% of Blacks say police departments around the country do a poor job in holding officers accountable for misconduct and treating racial and ethnic groups equally, 57% also think police departments do a poor job of using the right amount of force. Officers are more likely to use a higher level of force when working in higher-crime neighborhoods. That puts law-abiding citizens at a greater disadvantage simply because they happen to be in that area.

Since the beating of Rodney King in 1991 the citizens of Los Angeles have been rioting against allegations of excessive force by police that prompted law enforcement to reform. Citizens have spoken out when unlawful treatment is taking place by those that are meant to “protect”. The killing of black citizens has been occurring for a while; the media simply hadn’t put the spotlight on it. Not until we heard about the unarmed killing of Trayvon Martin in February 2012 that it spiraled justice for those treated unrightfully. Following Martin was Michael Brown who was shot while protesting the relationship we face with officers today. This let out an outburst by Ferguson civilians (Browns home town) who protested, looted stores, and took over the streets to prove the anger and frustration they felt against law enforcement. The most recent death is of Freddie Gray on April 19th in Baltimore. According to CNN Grey was arrested after he began to run when two police officers saw him on a corner. When the officers caught up to him, all they found was a switch knife (which is legal in Maryland). They then put him on the ground, detained him in handcuffs, threw shackles on his ankles, and tossed him in a police van where they didn’t put a seatbelt on him. The officers made five stops over the course of the approximately 40-minute ride. While being transported he feel into a coma after suffering injuries to his spinal cord. A week later he longer could fight for his life. There is no way that someone could inflect such injuries to themselves to the extent to where they fall into a coma. Even so wouldn’t the officers hear the noise and stop Gray from continuing? The whole story is inconclusive yet the cruelty is clearly prominent. We can see that officers put themselves above the law and are capable of doing horrific acts against others.

Those that are in this work force have an enormous amount of power over citizens making it a huge problem when officers commit crimes. They have an army of people working in the judicial system that will back them up in cases and minimal charges will be taken. I believe that if someone chooses to follow the criminal justice path, they will reach it in no time. Some agencies expect a high school diploma or a GED; hence learning a couple codes, following orders, having a clean record and being somewhat fit isn’t so difficult. With technology constantly improving it’s become easier to video tape, take pictures, and spam the internet with current news. As we advance we have the chance to share the brutality with others and raise awareness to the cause. We will protect our rights in this country and no matter what shade we come in—we are all the same.

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