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Policing of America

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Submitted By melodie40
Words 897
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There are three amendments to the United States Constitution that are directly related to police and the American people. The Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments cover probable cause, exclusionary rule, arrests, search and seizure, electronic surveillance and lineups; confessions, interrogation, and entrapment; and the right to counsel and interrogation respectively (Peak, 2012). The goal of the Fourth Amendment is to protect the people from the police illegally performing searches and giving the court system and other agencies the power to protect an individual’s rights and privacy. The Fifth Amendment is most known for giving the people the power to avoid self-incrimination and protecting ones right to remain silent in accordance to the Miranda rights. The Sixth Amendment gives the people the right to counsel during interrogation and at trial whether they can afford the attorney or not they are entitled to representation. With the Amendments in mind and the rights of individuals protected some may argue that the work police can do is limited but with the safeguards in place for not only protecting those suspected of criminal activity the laws and policies protect the police as well. When my nephew was 15 he and a friend were shooting at cans with a bb gun and got the not so bright idea to shoot an aerosol can of hairspray the can exploded and shrapnel cut my nephew’s best friend very badly. When the boys got to the emergency room the hospital called the police because the way the can cut the boy they believed they were lying about what had occurred. The injured young man, Mark called his parents up to the hospital and they were with him while the police questioned him unfortunately my nephew was not as lucky. My nephew was placed in a separate hospital room for four hours where he was repeatedly asked if he had stabbed or sliced Mark. Zachary being only 15 did not realize he had the right to ask to call his mother it was not until Mark’s parents realized that Zach was in another room being questioned that they told the police to stop interrogating him and they called my sister. Now I know everyone is probably wondering why Zach did not call his mother and tell her the police were questioning him the answer is he was terrified. By the time my sister was called and got to the hospital the police had left and the incident was over. In this case the police were completely out of line for the scare tactics they used and fortunately neither boy suffered any further consequences and learned a valuable lesson. Right now we are at a very difficult time in society with regard to police and the American people. The Michael Brown case in Ferguson Missouri and the Eric Garner case in New York have tensions high and the police under scrutiny. Finger pointing is taking place on all sides and deservedly so, the lack of grand jury indictments in these cases have triggered an outcry for changes in police policy and procedure. At the heart of the matter is whether deadly force is always justifiable and when does it stop being acceptable. A Dallas police officer, Cardan Spencer, has been fired for shooting a mentally ill man and is facing prosecution for aggravated assault in the Oct. 14 shooting of Bobby Gerald Bennett. Officer Spencer was fired because surveillance video captured the shooting that occurred and from start to finish the event was 27 seconds long. Bennett’s mother had called police because he is mentally ill and she was having problems controlling him when police arrived he was sitting in an office chair, holding an open pocket knife. When police arrived Bennett “initially rolled away from the approaching officers. Then he stood up, and officers drew their weapons. Bennett froze with his hands at his side. Seconds later, Spencer fired, and Bennett fell to the ground” (EISERER, 2013). Bennett was charged with assault of a public servant based on a report from another officer that was not even at the scene. The Dallas Chief of Police officer David Brown ordered the charges against Bennett to be dropped immediately. This case is tricky because it appears to have two separate crimes initially but centers around the main crime being committed by the officer that shot Mr. Bennett. In this particular case the police officer was found to abuse his authority and power. The difference between the Dallas officer involved shooting and the shooting of Michael Brown and the choking death of Eric Garner is that the Dallas Chief of Police used his power and the surveillance tape told the story. Even with the incident with Garner being videotaped the grand jury still failed to indict the officer for choking the man which is where the public outrage stems. The police are given great power and authority over the people and should be held to the highest standards and be held accountable for their actions in regard to the law and enforcement of the laws.
References
EISERER, T. H. (2013, October 24). Dallas Morning News. Retrieved October 24, 2013, from Dallasnews.com: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/metro/20131024-dallas-police-chief-fires-officer-accused-of-shooting-mentally-ill-man.ece
Peak, K. (2012). Policing America: Challenges and Best Practices, Seventh Edition. Upper Saddle River New Jersey: Pearson.

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