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Black Lives Matter and Police Brutality

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Black Lives Matter and Police Brutality

After reading “ The Paranoid Style of American Policing” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, I began to think about how police brutality against African Americans is a critical issue that affects many states across the United States. Coates, an African-American male, questions the authority of the United States by addressing the approach in which the act in response to cases of crimes. The author mentions multiple incidences that show how the rate of death of African Americans caused by police shootings have raised. This has led to the creation of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. In my paper, I will discuss the themes presented in Coates’ article and compare them using outside readings and texts. I would like to explore the connection between Coates’ article and police brutality against African-Americans in today’s society. I also would like to focus on how the Black Lives Matters movement relates to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ article.

The Black Lives Matter Movement is an activist movement that originated in the African American community that protest and fights against violence and racism towards black people. Its aim is to end racial oppression that is present in today’s society and change the structures in American society in general. The movement was created to help raise awareness of the anti-black racism across the United States. The movement was a response to the acquittal of the Trayvon Martin Murder case and other police shootings of black males. In Martin’s case, a neighborhood watch volunteer named George Zimmerman thought that Martin was a criminal and was in the wrong for being in his neighborhood based mainly on his appearance and his ethnicity. Zimmerman stalked Martin and confronted him even though he was advised not to. Zimmerman disobeyed that order and shot Martin killing him instantly. Later on in court, Zimmerman claimed that he thought that Martin was carrying a weapon and reacted in self defense. Even though Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder, during the trial, he was found not guilty. This is one example of people who are not of color or police officers getting off for a crime they committed against African Americans without any punishment or consequence.

Coates mentions police violence against young children, teens and people with mental illnesses. Coates states “ a Chicago police officer killed 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier…. LeGrier had struggled with mental illness. When LeGrier attempted to break down his father’s door, his father called the police, who apparently arrived to find the 19-year-old wielding a bat. Interpreting this as a lethal threat, one of the officers shot and killed LeGrier and somehow managed to shoot and kill one of his neighbors, Betty Jones”. LeGrier’s father called the police with the intention that they would diffuse the situation and get help for his son but instead they shot him seven times and also shot an innocent bystander which was unnecessary and unnerving. Instead of relying on a gun, they could have tased LeGrier and apprehended him.

Just days after the death of LeGrier and Jones, 12 year old Tamir Rice was shot twice just after two seconds of the police arriving to the scene after receiving a report of a African American male pointing a gun at bystanders. The caller mentioned in the call that the person was "probably a juvenile" and that the gun was "probably fake”. However, that information was not relayed to the officers. The officer that shot Rice was fired for being untruthful on his job application. He had been deemed an emotionally unstable and unfit for duty after he failed the written exam while applying for a job with police force. His partner was suspended for only 10 days for violating tactical rules. Neither officers were properly disciplined for their conduct or charged. police officers will do anything to point out that most American citizens are killed by other citizens. If officers cannot be expected to conduct themselves better than ordinary citizens, why should someone call them for help if there is a chance of someone being shot and killed?

It is impossible for policing to be happening if the citizens and communities can not trust who is supposed to be protecting them. Law enforcement and people who citizens trust with their lives are the very same to take it. Citizens depend on the police to serve and protect them but instead are being harmed. If a suspect is resisting arrest, there are other alternatives to apprehend them without drawing your gun and firing shots. Police officers are taught tactical skills in their training that can be used rather than using a gun. They are given taser guns and pepper spray so there is no reason for their first instinct to be to draw their guns and shoot. But due the evidence in cases, police officers rather shoot first and ask questions later to give themselves time to find a cover story to make the situations sound like self defense. Legally, officers are only to fire when they feel their



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