Who watches the watchmen?

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Whether you love them or hate them, the police are there to “help” enforce the law. But over the years the police have been using brutal and aggressive methods to enforce it, going as far as hitting and using racial slurs against their alleged “suspects.” According to the National Police Brutality Statistics, from April 2009 to June 2010, there have been nearly 6,000 reports of misconduct, 382 fatalities linked by misconduct, and nearly $350 million have been spent on related settlements and judgments.

In March 2013 a video of a person witnessing his neighbors being attacked by police officers in Omaha, Nebraska was uploaded to YouTube. In the video you can see one officer pushing a suspect, Octavius Johnson, down to the ground, and then being subdued by two other officers while another officer shoved the suspect’s brother away, Juaquez Johnson, who was recording the incident on his phone. In the video, Juaquez can be heard yelling “That’s abuse! Get your knee off his neck!” A few minutes later, you see six officers chasing Juaquez into his home, while another officer is seen striking Octavius repeatedly despite him already being handcuffed. These two men, more importantly, these two African American men, are not the only minority races being targeted by the police. African Americans, Hispanics, Jewish people: there are instances of officers targeting each group.

In another incident in late 2012, Ehud Halevy was charged with a felony count of assault on police officers along with a list of other charges. The police officers claimed that during an October 8 encounter inside the Alternative Learning Institute for Young Adults on East New York Avenue in Crown Heights, Halevy attacked them, causing one of them to suffer a sprained wrist. But a video only showed Halevy twisting and turning his arms to avoid being arrested, while Officer Luis Vega punched him repeatedly and his partner, Officer Yelena Bruzzese, hit him with a police baton. The charges against Halevy were dropped.

Mr. Fee, husband of A.P. Ellen Fee, recalled an incident where he and a group of friends, including one who has had previous encounters with the law, went to a football game and was approached by officers who assumed that his friend had something to do with illegal activities in the area. “They started roughing him up,” he said. “That’s something no one wants to witness.”

I find it ironic that the ones who are supposed to be helping you the most are part of the problem. They lie about the situation and make it seem like they are right, but when evidence proves their story wrong, they suddenly realize that they shouldn’t have twisted the stories they heard in the interrogation room to best support their case. When police officers brutalize their suspects, guilty of a crime or not, it’s hard for people to feel safe. Who knows? You could be the next victim of brutality. Can you trust the police when they break the laws they’re sworn to protect?

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