Excessive Use of Force Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1960 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice

Excessive Use of Force

The issues that have been dealt with are first the question as to what use of force by the law enforcing authorities can be viewed as legitimate. Then comes the question of situations when the use of force can be considered as legitimate, followed by explanations from a police psychologist as to the persons among the police who are likely to use force. This is followed by the descriptions of situations where the police have used on general public and finally a discussion on the biggest use of force that is being talked about today - Guantanamo.

It can be said in general that everybody dislikes when he has to do something that he does not want to do, and the dislike increases in a dramatic manner when the force used to make him do it is viewed as illegitimate. As an example let us take the question of police using force to enforce rules against reckless driving as it endangers other users of the road. The individuals who will be caught by the police for reckless driving will not like to be caught, but their anger is limited when they know that they are really guilty. Even to other people around they will know that the persons apprehended are guilty and will not object to the police action. On the other hand, if the police were to just take blind action against all drivers due to their position as keepers of the law, it will not be liked by anybody. (Illegitimate or Excessive Use of Force)Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Excessive Use of Force Assignment

The officers charged with law enforcement always face the possibility of danger when they are on their duties. They also face situations when they are not really able to evaluate the dangers that the situation poses to them and this makes it difficult for them to provide the correct response. The only way that the police can learn how to react is if they have been properly trained. This might involve the occasional use of force when needed. (Use of Force) at this stage it is important to look at differences that make police more violent. Analysis on this started in 1980s when police psychology was being recognized as an entirely separate field of study. Then the duties of the psychologists started going beyond mere screening of applicants for police jobs. It is now recognized that there are three types of police personnel who are more violent than others. (Controlling police use of excessive force: The role of the police psychologists)

The first of these have personality disorders and these people have traits, not acquired on the job, that make them more antisocial, narcissistic, paranoid or abusive. These traits interfere with their judgment and relationship with others and the changes in them happen when they perceive a threat to their authority. These officers do not have empathy for others and they are probably the smallest among the group of officers who are likely to become violent. Another group of officers are violent due to their previous experiences on the job. There are some shootings by the police which are justifiable, but they still put the officers involved in them at risk for becoming more violent. These officers are not unsocial, egocentric or even generally violent. It even seems that their personality has not changed but they acquire an "emotional baggage" from their experience and this makes them violent. The last group of officers are young officers and also called 'hotdogs', or 'badge happy', or 'macho'. They are generally immature and when compared to other officers who are also inexperienced they are seen to be highly impressionable and impulsive with little capacity for enduring frustration. (Controlling police use of excessive force: The role of the police psychologists)

Now let us look at the description of police violence by an individual who has suffered from it. He says he went to a store which operated from 7 pm to 11 pm for a soda and something to eat. He says he had a fresh purchased old car which he wanted to show off and instead of walking, he went in the car to a nearby store. He bought the items which he wanted - a soda and some sandwiches. He then passed some bars that sold alcoholic drinks and he did not enter them as the person he wanted to see had already left the bars. The question to note is about his knowledge about the person not being in the bar without him being in the bar. He says he wanted to show off his new purchase. Anyway as he could not meet the person, he came back home and started to eat his sandwiches in the car before going inside. (When Police should use excessive force)

This again is not normal as a person who has bought some food will generally eat the food inside the house. Then four Police cars came and parked around his car. The police came out with their weapons and focused lights on the person. He was told to put his hands up around his head and asked to stay inside the car. Yet the person chose to come out, and the individual was sprayed with MACE, slammed to the ground and put in handcuffs. Then the person was picked up, put in the police car and asked why the person ran away from the police. The person refused that he had run away from the police. (When Police should use excessive force) This is probably minor violence that the person faced, and what we are getting the report from is only his side, and some parts of it are certainly not the full truth. This is also what happens when police violence is talked about - the 'sufferers' hide inconvenient facts.

Now let us look at some of the reports of violence that have made into international reports. One of them was in the Miami area and organized during the negotiations in the Free Trade Area. At that stage, there was detention of 250 persons and most were then released after being charged with 'misdemeanor' and that involved disobeying orders of the police, unlawful assembly and resisting of arrest. It was said that the people who were demonstrating against Free Trade area of the Americas negotiations were subjected to rubber bullets, beaten up with batons, suffered pepper spray, tear gas and concussion grenades. Some were hospitalized and a greater number just treated for their injuries. Among the people who suffered were journalists and observers as per the reports of Amnesty International. Even the people who were arrested suffered during detention and a lady was supposed to have been strip searched by four male officers and left naked. Even inside the Dade County Jail, the arrested persons were subjected to beatings, pepper gas and high powered water hoses. (USA: Allegations of excessive use of force and ill-treatment of protestors in Miami) This sort of incidences happens as the demonstrators are viewed as 'enemies of the state' by the detaining officers who pride themselves on their loyalty to the state. Thus they are not treated as other citizens but the outlook probably makes them suffer.

A similar situation is seen in Guantanamo Bay. Here even the government is suffering from a 'persecution complex'. As early as December 2001, the Department of Justice sent an order, stating that no District court in U.S. was entitled to looking at cases from that area as Cuba has ultimate sovereignty over Guantanamo Bay. The first incident of the sufferings of the detainees there was actually known to the people there about two weeks later, but it was hidden from the media till the Abu Ghraib torture scandal came out in the middle of 2004. At about the same time, on June 28 it was decided by the Supreme Court that federal courts have the right to look at cases from Guantanamo Bay. But almost a year has passed from the decision of the Supreme Court and there has still not been a review of cases of 500 detainees from 35 nations who are in that camp. Part of the reason is the efforts of the administration to block any reviews very limited and a judicial process for that area impossible. Apart from this there are thousands of detainees in Iraq in the custody of U.S. And Iraq is still "a central front in the war on terror" as per President Bush on 12 April 2005. Hundreds of other detainees are in U.S. custody in Afghanistan and some in the Bagram air base have been detained for more than a year, and the International council of the Red Cross has expressed concern regarding the issue. The treatment of these prisoners makes bad reading. (United States of America Guantanamo and beyond: The continuing pursuit of unchecked executive power)

Let us look at a part of the case of Mustafa Ait Idir who had clearly stated that he was tortured at Guantanamo.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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