This Incident Shows That Police Aren’t Only Acting Violently Toward Minorities
Police have been in the spotlight in recent years for what some call excessive force on minorities. Many high-profile cases have been highlighted, which have sparked protests around the country. But a recent incident shows that excessive force can be wrongfully used on anyone — not just minorities.
Here’s a rundown of the problem throughout the United States. Plus, check out pages 4 through 7 for details about a recent incident that went viral.
Police brutality has become more discussed in society in recent years
Up until a few years ago, the actions of police officers went mostly undiscussed by the general public. While there were some questionable confrontations between police officers and suspects, the problems that occurred were generally kept quiet. But some high-profile cases have led the public to rethink the idea of how much force police should be able to use in certain situations. And race has been at the forefront of the police brutality discussion.
Next: Several high-profile cases have shed light on police force.
In several instances, minorities have been the target of excessive police force
Certain cases of police brutality have made headlines across the country. And most of the time, the issue was attributed to race. In the 2014 case of Eric Garner, a NYPD officer placed him in a choke hold that ended up killing him. There was no indictment, but a monetary settlement was reached out of court. About a month later, Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri when he was shot at least six times. Protests ensued, but no charges were officially filed. Excessive police force has since been a strong topic of protest among Americans.
Next: Some small businesses have taken serious action toward minorities.
Minorities have become so worried, that some private businesses have banned officers from the premises
Some minorities feel that a police presence suppresses their feelings of safety rather than increases them. In one instance, an Oakland, California coffee shop made headlines for its policy that refused to serve police officers. The coffee shop said a police presence hurts the emotional and physical safety of its customers. The Oakland police said they respect the business owners’ right to serve anyone they choose. The police said they’d reach out to the shop to create some dialogue to better help the community.
Next: This beach incident shows excessive force might be used too often, regardless of race.
But 1 video shows that police brutality isn’t necessarily only a worry of minorities
Over Memorial Day Weekend, a video taken on the beach in Wildwood, New Jersey showed a police officer punching a young, white woman in the head. The police officer also reportedly choked the woman. In the video, she says, “You’re not allowed to hit and choke me like that,” and appeared to be resisting two police officers. The video instantly went viral and brought up the conversation of police brutality among white people. Some think the video showed that excessive force is being used more and more frequently and is becoming a problem among all races and ethnicities in America.
Next: The incident started with alcohol.
The incident began with an alcoholic beverage and escalated quickly
The problem began when officers questioned Weinman about an unopened bottle of alcoholic iced tea. She said the bottles belonged to her aunt who was not present at the time. The officers then gave her a breathalyzer test, which she passed. Afterward, they asked for her last name and she refused. That’s when things turned aggressive. Body camera footage showed the officers approach Weinman, who backed away and cursed at them. The body camera footage then shuts off. And the bystander video went viral.
Next: The Wildwood mayor had choice words for the young woman.
The Wildwood mayor defended the actions of its officers
Wildwood mayor Ernie Troiano said Weinman was clearly the aggressor in the situation. He also said the public was trying to paint a pretty picture of her but that she’s on probation, was spitting at the officers, and instigated the aggressive behavior. Weinman’s attorney said the mayor’s comments were irresponsible, and he was appalled that people think she got what she deserved. The investigation was still ongoing as of June 2018. But the officers involved in the incident were only temporary and not full-time members of the force.
Next: Experts have varying opinions of who was at fault.
Experts are torn on who was truly at fault in the situation
The Asbury Park Press interviewed several experts who had differing opinions about the situation. One man, an associate professor of criminal justice at John Jay College, said whoever was right would come down to whether or not the police had a right to arrest her in the first place.
But another expert, a forensic criminologist, said the officers did have the right to detain Weinman since it hadn’t been proven that the alcohol belonged to someone other than her. This means she was legally required to give them her last name, which she refused.
The experts were torn about whether the use of force was excessive. Some said given the nature of the situation, punching her in the head was too far. Others said she would not have deescalated on her own and the use of force was necessary.
Next: Regardless of the situation, it’s important to remember this.
It’s important to remember retaliation against police is not a solution
Weinman is clearly not the only person who has been at the forefront of the excessive police force debate. However, retaliation against police officers will not solve anything. According to CNN, as of April 2018, 21 law enforcement officers had been shot and killed in the line of duty this year. This number means more than one per week. The rising number of police officers being killed has led to protests in defense of law enforcement. In one case, two police officers were shot and killed while eating lunch together during the work day.
Police have been making efforts to bond more with their communities. In Philadelphia, a “Bigs in Blue” mentoring program was started to pair police with youths to help both better understand the other. It’s with the hope it will help end any stigmas between police and younger generations.
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