African Americans

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AfricanAmericans

CommunityProblems

  • The tension between and the police force has existed for a number of decades.

  • A recent study by Pew Research (2015) established that, compared to the whites, the people of color expressed less confidence in the police force to treat all races equally.

  • The Associated Press and NORC (2015) also reports that over 80% of the people of color indicate that the police officers are very quick to use excessive force when dealing with them.

  • The findings point to the fact that the perception of the lack of legitimacy and lawfulness in the police force is quite high among the , a fact that has led many to have little trust in the police force.

  • Misconceptions of what law enforcement entails are quite rife among the African American communities given the long-lived tension that has existed between the black community and law enforcement agencies.

  • Most understand law enforcement as an oppressive system, with those tasked with enforcing the law being racists and ready to utilize excessive force when handling the African Americans.

  • Most acknowledge the fact that their local police forces are not racially diverse. The past few years have witnessed increased calls for an inclusive and diverse police force.

  • Reports indicate that black communities have often expressed a desire for police agencies that match the demographics of the community.

  • Calls by for equal treatment of all citizens by law enforcers have also increased in the past few years a perfect example is the Black Lives Matter campaign, which emerged in the wake of several incidences of the police officers killing unarmed .

  • Studies have also established that minorities, including , are very concerned about crime, but at the same time skeptical of the efforts by law enforcers to control it. More involvement of minorities such as in real problem solving and crime analysis is likely to end the skepticism.

  • Most do not think police officers are transparent. One of the solutions that most of them agree would help boost transparency is the utilization of body cameras on police officers while on duty.

  • Most believe that the increased incidences of police violence against them show a lack of accountability, a factor that has widened the rift between law enforcers and the black communities further. The responsibility of enhancing the police officers’ accountability largely falls on the individual police officers.

  • African American leaders have recommended citizen oversight of the police force as another solution to the increased police violence against civilians as well as rebuilding the deteriorating trust between the police force and black communities (Beddilion, 2016).

LawEnforcement Issues

  • It is important for law enforcers to be involved in other community-based activities other than solving crime issues. Engaging the local community members in sporting activities and coming to the aid of the less advantaged are some of the ways the public perception of the police force as just a crime solving entity can be reversed.

  • The tension among minority groups such as and the lack of trust for the law enforcement agencies has dire implications as far as local communities’ willingness to support the police force in the fight against crime is concerned

  • Community involvement in the fight against crime is very important since most of the community members are well aware of the criminals residing within the neighborhoods. The failure to involve the community would render the fight against crime in the African American neighborhoods futile.

  • Community accountability seems to be one of the best ways through which the African American community involvement in law enforcement can be achieved. The process involves the utilization of a community-based strategy as opposed to a police-based strategy to counter crime and violence in the community

  • The increased mistrust between the police and has also led the law enforcers to believe that the society as a whole does not appreciate their efforts to bring law and order, and that it is disrespectful.

  • Law enforcers believe that a strong partnership with the local communities will strengthen the relationship between them and the minority groups

  • Additionally, a diverse workforce, which incorporates officers from minority groups, is believed to be one of the ways through which the minority communities can be compelled to develop a positive attitude towards law enforcement.

JusticeSystem Issues

  • The relatively high number of in prison makes the justice system appear as one full of discriminatory practices.

  • Many have a negative attitude towards the justice system and believe that it is still based on archaic laws.

  • A significant number of believe that they are likely to get harsher sentences for committing the same crimes as their white counterparts. To help address the overrepresentation of the people of color in the criminal justice system, better sentencing guidelines that promote racial equality are necessary.

  • The perception that are likely to receive harsher penalties points to the difficulties within the justice system to balance punishments fit for a crime. The system needs to ensure that it is mindful of the rehabilitation needs of the offenders when fitting the punishment to the crime.

  • A significant number of who are given the option of a fine during sentencing are often unable to raise the money, a fact that also contributes to their misrepresentation in prisons. A policy that would abolish the need for a jail term due to the failure to clear fines would go a great way in addressing the issue.

  • The justice system also has to grapple with the high number of minor crimes committed by . Alternative programs for such types of crimes will not only reduce the current burden on the justice system, but will also address the overrepresentation of the people of color in the prison system.

  • Similar to law enforcement, community oversight programs are also needed in the justice system. The move will help address the grievances that the people of color were subjected to over the past years, including harsher penalties.

References

Bedillion,Caleb. 2016. &quotBlack Leaders Urge Civilian Oversight Of Police -Daily Journal.&quot Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.http://djournal.com/news/black-leaders-urge-civilian-oversight-police/.

PewResearch Center. 2015. &quotDivide Between Blacks And Whites OnPolice Runs Deep.&quot Pew Research Center.http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/28/blacks-whites-police/.

TheAssociate Press-NORC. 2015. &quot© Copyright 2015. The AssociatedPress and NORC August 2015 1 law enforcement and violence: the dividebetween black and white Americans&quot. Issue Brief.http://www.apnorc.org/PDFs/Police%20Violence/Issue%20Brief_PoliceFinal.pdf.

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