You've heard about it, read about it, and maybe even seen live footage on the news. Still, the question always seems to linger - what is police brutality? Is it even real, or is it just the result of a victim's grieving family trying to place the blame of someone (usually the police)? The sad truth is that police brutality is real and has been a major problem, especially in the United States, in recent years. We are supposed to trust police to protect us, not abuse and take advantage of the power we, the people, have invested in them.
Many place blame of the sudden rise of police brutality incidents on the lack of a national database with records of when, how, or why a police offer determined deadly force was the appropriate method of resolving the issue. These incidents pop up almost every week, and in many cases, every day. Yet, there is not concrete data concerning the incidents. Outside of the police reports which are filed separately to each precinct, there is little to no information regarding the event or why it happened. While this is a major problem in itself, this leads directly into the next issue that many had raised over the year.
There are no national standards or binding state policy to which these officers are forced to abide in the use of deadly force. Our nation's law enforcements are left to set their own terms, or more crudely, make their own rules. It also doesn't help that the legal system (our courts) cannot seem to make up their mind, ruling ludicrously inconsistent verdicts in these types of cases.
But, we can't simply wait for the law to fix this. We, the people, need to take a stand and demand that our officers be held to a higher standard than the average person - that's why they're protecting us, and not the other way around. Data needs to be recorded and kept safe and made accessible by the public (they have data on how many law enforcement officers are killed or assault by civilians, but not the reverse? Something seems wrong there).
Police Brutality isn't going to get better with a band aid. The government needs to make a serious structural reform, and recognize this. Officers don't get to interpret the law or decide what is excessive and what isn't. Rules should do that.