Historically, the police have used excessive force on individuals who participated in the significant political and social justice movements, including the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the antiwar demonstrations, and the war on drugs. However, research shows that this excessive force continues. Statistical data released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics showed that from 2003 to 2019, at least 4,813 people were arrested by the local police. There were 2,876 deaths; 1,643 or 57.1% of the deaths were "people of color." In 2014, the UN Committee against torture condemned police and excessive force by law enforcement in the US., highlighting frequent and recurrent fatal police shootings of unarmed black men. The United Nations Working Group of Exports on People of African Descent's 2016 Report noted that recent United States' police killings and the trauma are reminiscent of past racial terror of lynching. An FBI homicide report from 2012 showed that while blacks represent 13% of the US population, they amounted to 31% of those killed by police. Some possible solutions are community policing body-worn cameras and replacing police officers with mental health experts for non-violent crimes.
Several social science disciplines, including psychology, have researched police violence against racial minorities. Leroy Barnes Jr., Kendric McDade, Reginald Thomas Jr, Matthew Jonathan, Luis Hurtado, and Anthony McClain were all killed by the Pasadena Police Department officers who suffered no consequences? Also, why are the arrests by police officers so violent that it results in permanent injury? The United States has developed a reputation for police brutality and has reported far more police officers' incidents than the rest of the Western World. United States police killed 1,093 people in 2016 and 1,146 people in 2015. Why do American cops kill so many people compared to European cops?
Racism helps explain why African-Americans and Native Americans are vulnerable to police violence. George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, and Daunte Wright are but a few names of some minority populations who have recently appeared in the news media due to their untimely deaths at the hands of police officers. There is a severe problem when police officers have to apply a knee to the neck, break down the door of the wrong person's home, shoot someone who wants to walk to his sister's house, or confuse a taser with a Glock and shoot a 20-year-old at point-blank range. These individuals died under questionable circumstances and were ultimately brutalized or shot to death by police.
There was a missing ingredient when Reginald Thomas, Jr called the Pasadena Police on himself because he had a mental situation. However, instead of helping him to a hospital, the six police officers responding to Mr. Thomas' call beat him, tasered him, kicked him numerous times in the head, hog-tied him, and laid on top of him so that he could not take air into his lungs and let it out again. This torture was done in front of Mr. Thomas's eight children.
Not only do the children suffer from nightmares, numbing, and avoidance, the community is in agony as well.
In the words of Jerry Blackwell, "You were told that Mr. Floyd died because his heart was too big. And after hearing all the evidence and seeing all the evidence. You know the truth. The reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr. Chauvin's heart was too small."
The next section will review the history of police violence and exactly what is police violence.