Recently in America what starts as a routine traffic stop can turn deadly for mainly minority individuals. Perkins (2000) illustrates that the natural mistrust our community has developed for law enforcement is rooted in our knowing that racial stereotypes-factors promoting perceptions that Blacks and Hispanics are violent criminal offenders are institutional and manipulated for political gain. Police officers use their authoritative stance more forcibly upon people of color rather than people of non-color. The amount of individuals that have already succumb to the nature of this age-old epidemic is growing at an alarming rate as many people take to videotaping the police as they make routine stops with minority individuals.
Scott (2015) points out that the public has been filming and broadcasting egregious acts of police violence since 1990s when a motorist filmed Los Angeles police brutalizing Rodney King (p.1). As the minority youth take action against the injustice system of racial profiling and excessive force they began to ban together to create what is known as the Black Lives Matter movement that is sweeping across the country. This shows that mistrust for the police is slow-rolling to an all-time high. This review of literature leads me to this research question how is race and residency related to mistrust for the police.
According to the American Heritage Dictionary (2011) race is distinguished by a group of individuals that are identified from other groups because of their supposed physical or genetic traits shared by a group (p.1). The color of someone’s skin has become the target for police in America. Many people of the African or Hispanic descent has been sought out and treated differently, even after the end of slavery in 1865. The police use unnecessary force on minorities daily, according to (Gutting, 2016) much of this unjustified violence is due to racial bias (p.1). The police are killing black people at an alarming rate, as determined by the many videos that have gone viral in the last several months.
According to the Word Net 3.0 (2003-2008) residency is defined as a dwelling or someone living at a certain place for a long period of time. Many minorities live in the poverty-stricken areas of America, therefore police deem these people a menace to society just because of their environment. Drug deals occurring, snotty noses babies crying, strung out crack heads walking around asking people to purchase stolen goods, the smell of death, and feces in the air. According to Perkins (2000) on the streets of Harlem Fort Greene in Brooklyn and in the housing projects of the South Bronx, blacks and Hispanics are much more likely to be stopped and searched by suspicious New York City police officers acting on vague reports of suspects committing crime (p.1). Typically, that is what the average minority faces every day, the police patrolling and looking at each individual as a criminal.
There is no concrete definition on excessive force. According to Segan (2016) experts say it is any force beyond what is necessary to arrest a suspect and keep police and bystanders safe (p.1). Police in America have a right to use the amount of force necessary to detain a hostile individual, but when does the right amount of force become too much force and that is the grey area that each police officer has used to justify their actions against the multitude of minorities that have been victims of the use of excessive force or police brutality. According to Crump (2015) an attorney states that “I’ve represented dozen[s] of families of unarmed people of color who have been killed by police officers.
And if I had a dollar for every time the reason given by the police was that ‘they reached for my weapon’ or ‘they attacked me and I felt in fear of my life,’ I wouldn’t have enough room in my pockets (p. 1). The inequality of the justice system is prominent in the African American culture and it continues to show with each case that is brought before judges and dismiss because of the grey area of the use of the statement excessive force. I hypothesis that the level of mistrust that an individual has with police officers will be closely related to the race of the person and where the person resides.