In 2010, a police officer by the name of Deputy John Ortega was given the opportunity to come into Lake County High School in Colorado. His job was to inform students about tasers and demonstrate what he could. Ortega had different ideas about what those instructions meant. By the time Ortega was done, he had tased around 30 high school students, some several times. As a consequence, he was punished and went a week unpaid and went to trial where his job was in jeopardy. The school had to inform parents of the district what had happened and of course it was a horrendous situation. The police department also apologized, ashamed of Ortega’s actions.
Over the past 19 years now, the topic of police officers and their actions has made its way into conversations around the world. Although horrid, the case summarized above is tame compared to reports today. Innocent people have been killed by police officers, many to most of them innocent and unarmed.
According to the US Department of Justice, on average, in the United States, a police officer takes the life of a citizen every seven hours. That is around three people a day.
61 percent of police officers state that they do not always report serious abuse that has been directly observed by fellow officers and 84 percent of police officers have stated in a recent survey that they have directly witnesses a fellow officer using more force than was necessary.
Not only are officers not reporting what is happening, they also are not being punished for their actions. 97 percent of the cases of police brutality that were tracked in 2015 did not result in any officer involved being charged with a crime similarly to today’s times.
According to The Guardian, people who are African-American/Black are twice as likely to be killed by a police officer while being unarmed compared to a Caucasian/White individual. One out of every three people that are killed by police officers in any given year in the United States is African-American/Black.
On the news, more than ever, we hear reports on police brutality cases. In Queens, Philadelphia, Chicago, and even our own home city of York. It is our normal; we have been desensitized from such activities.
When the article above was written, no such statistics existed. Over the past 20 years, cases of deaths caused by police officers has grown into the thousands per year.
Perhaps it is bias among police, more common situations or citizen behavior. But one thing is for sure, that number is too high.
Police officers around the world have pushed the limits and will continue unless something is done. The trust of citizens has been lost and can only be regained when common sense is as well.