Many are protesting and speaking out about the highly publicized cases in Ferguson, New York, and Cleveland. It is drawing attention to a problem that exists throughout the country, whether you live in a rural, suburban, or urban community. If you are involved in criminal and/or juvenile justice, you have seen the book-in photos of the battered and bruised accused after allegedly resisting arrest or allegedly being disorderly. Many have sat in the courtroom with children and adults who look like they went into a boxing ring and lost a prize fight after their arrest. And, yes, it happens to children too. Many have participated in hushed conversations in the corners of the courthouse about what the accused person is saying happened during the arrest versus the police reports.
Certainly, sometimes there are legitimate reasons for the use of force. The blatant disregard for human life and the safety of others can be seen in the way that some of the accused behave while committing their crimes, and the police must protect themselves and the public. But, that is not always what truly happens. Not always.
All of us have a responsibility to speak out in our own communities when you question whether harm has been caused unnecessarily. We can help shed light on the magnitude of the problem and participate in finding a solution to prevent more harm. If some officers would be better suited to another profession, they need to be relieved of their duty to keep the community safe. If the officer has committed a crime against an accused person, they need to be prosecuted. Every member of our community needs to feel comfortable calling the police for help and interacting with police when an emergency arises. We can do better.