Sociological Perspectives on Police Shootings

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An article from the New York Daily News on November 9, 2018 portrays the shooting of an unarmed black adolescent. Fifteen-year-old Jordan Edwards was shot by a white cop while riding in a vehicle with his two siblings. Officers Roy Oliver and T. Net stopped the victim in a police road block on November 9, 2018.While the officers were moving toward the stopped car the officers heard ‘quick and loud sounds’ and Officer Oliver continued to the officer’s squad vehicle to recover his weapon. Officer Gross moved toward a dark Chevrolet Impala.

While the vehicle kept on moving gradually in turn around, he showed his weapon and asked for the adolescent inhabitants to stop and leave their vehicle. The vehicle quickly ceased and after that started to gradually push ahead. Officer Gross approached the traveler side window and punched out the back window with his weapon. Now, Officer Oliver touched base with his rifle and discharged a few shots at the Impala as it drove past. Jordan Edwards was shot in the head. Officer Oliver guaranteed that he started shooting at the vehicle in light of the fact that the vehicle was speeding down a road towards an officer in a ‘forceful way. “after being stopped.

From a sociological perspective, racism appears to be a factor in this altercation and crime. Violence against black males is a frequent social problem in this society. ‘Young black male were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by the police last year’ (Swaine and McCarthy, 2017). In the black community, there is often a sense of fear and distrust towards police.

These incidents of police brutality are examples of a police tactic of ‘broken windows’ policing. ‘This policing strategy was developed by George R. Kelling and James Q. Wilson. The idea is that you crack the whip with small offenses ranging from loitering to vandalism to even jaywalking in a community, and this will decrease crime of all types. However, this policing tactic has been shown to lead to racial profiling as well as targeting of poor people in general’ (Foster, 2014). From a sociological perspective, I believe that extreme policing leads to the conflict. Conflict may occur when police may approach someone who is usually harassed by the police on a regular basis and may talk to the police in a disrespectful manner. ‘As a result, the police officer reacts as if he’s the offended party and escalates the situation until a violent outcome is achieved’ (Foster, 2014). With the rise of the movement, ‘Black Lives Matter,’ we are already seeing social change arising from this conflict.

From a sociological point of view, bigotry has all the earmarks of being a factor in this squabble and wrongdoing. Viciousness against black guys is a successive social issue in this general public. ‘Youthful black men were multiple times almost certain than different Americans to be killed by the police a year ago’ (Swaine and McCarthy, 2017). There is frequently a feeling of dread and doubt towards police among the black community. Police shooting of black male are instances of outrageous policing. These instances of police severity are instances of a bad police strategy of ‘broken windows’ policing. ‘This policing procedure was formulated by George R. Kelling and James Q. Wilson.

From a sociological viewpoint, I trust that extraordinary policing prompts the contention. Shooting may happen when police approach somebody who is generally explaining facts to the police, all the time this conversation goes bad. ‘Therefore, the cop responds as though he’s the offended party and raises the circumstance until a rough result is accomplished’ (Foster, 2014). This has led to the popular slogan, ‘black Lives Matter,’ we are now observing social change emerging from this contention.

I believe that the history of how the police have interacted with people of color has strained the relationship between both parties. For example, when peaceful protestors were being attacked by officers and police dogs during the Civil Rights Movement, this caused for the black community to distrust the police. ‘Conflicts occur because such things as power, wealth, and prestige are not available to everyone; they are limited commodities, and the demand exceeds the supply’ (Basirico, Cashion, Eshleman, 2014). Based on this description of the conflict, I believe police shootings against unarmed black men and women may occur because police may use extreme policing against certain social groups.

The Stop-and-frisk programs in New York are a prime example of extreme policing. This police tactic has created conflict between blacks and whites. This program has stopped and searched thousands of people, however, white people only account for 11% of searches. ‘The rest of the time, it’s African Americans (a whopping 56% which is actually a decline) and Latinos (29%). Unless you’re truly bad at math, you can immediately calculate that as a group, African Americans, who are 25% of the city’s population, are being stopped twice as much as they would be if officers were targeting citizens at random for stop-and-frisk.

Racial profiling is a given fact to black male, this program has led to increased racial profiling and unfair treatment of African Americans, who are largely the victims of police brutality. I think about how young black men must feel watching so many young men in the news who are killed as a result of racial profiling and prejudice. (Foster, 2014). Perhaps, the teenagers in the car were so afraid that all they can think about is fleeing from the officers so that they might live to tell their sides of the story. Racial profiling is guaranteed to the black male’ (Foster, 2014). This program has prompted expanded racial profiling and out of bad treatment of African Americans, who are to a great extent the casualties of police fierceness. (Swaine, J., & McCarthy, C. ,2017)

According to Karl Marx, the conflict theory claims society is in a state of perpetual conflict due to competition for limited resources. It holds that social order is maintained by domination and power, rather than consensus and conformity. The government, or state, provides their citizens with many services such as police. In turn for providing police, citizens pay their taxes which allows the state to keep running. Citizens expect to be able to rely on the police to fairly protect and serve. (Basirico, 2017)

The police force should be here to keep law and order. Citizens should feel safe when dealing with these public servants, and also should be treated fairly. ‘Instead of feeling protected by police, many African Americans are intimidated and live in daily fear that their children will face abuse, arrest and death at the hands of police officers who may be acting on implicit biases or institutional policies based on stereotypes and assumptions of black criminality (Cole, 2017).

African Americans battle for quite a while as individuals attempting to keep up and enhance their situations in their lives. At the point when history has demonstrated African Americans have dependably been abused by the police, it might be difficult to have a ‘typical’ cooperation with police. As indicated by Karl Marx clashes, for example, strain between races prompts social change. In spite of the fact that change has happened very gradually the status of blacks has gradually moved in this nation. (Basirico, 2017) When Rosa Parks declined to move to the back of the Bus in Selma, Alabama, laws changed which disallowed white seating arrangement in the bus. ‘Separate yet equivalent’ school strategies were abrogated because of challenges.

In conclusion, a committee must be formed that provide a clear roadmap for resetting community-police relations with the public in a way that grants oversight power to residents.’ (Cole, 2017).This will improve how citizen will view the police and give ‘Immediate assurance from law enforcement authorities and the federal government that constitutional rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of the press will be protected.’ Like segregated buses and schools, it is my hope that the resolution of racial conflict will lead to the elimination of violence against black citizens.


  1. Basirico, L. A., Cashion, B. G., & Eshleman, J. R. (2014). SOCI 200 (Vol. 6). Redding, CA: BVT Publishing.
  2. Cole, P. N. (2017, March 02). Sociologists Take Historic Stand on Racism and Police Brutality. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/06/psychiatry-handbook-linked-to-drug-industry/?_r=0
  3. Cole, P. N. (2017, March 02). The Black Civil Rights Movement is Back. Retrieved June 02, 2017, from https://www.thoughtco.com/the-black-civil-rights-movement-is-back-3026215
  4. Foster, D. (2014, August 15). ‘Guaranteed Conflict Theory’ As An Explanation For Why The Police Keep Killing Black People. Retrieved June 02, 2017, from http://www.politicususa.com/2014/08/15/guaranteed-conflict-theory-explanation-police-killing-black-people.html
  5. Swaine, J., & McCarthy, C. (2017, January 08). Young black men again faced highest rate of US police killings in 2016. Retrieved June 02, 2017, from https://www.theguardian.com/us- news/2017/jan/08/the-counted-police-killings-2016- young-black-men

Cite this paper

Sociological Perspectives on Police Shootings. (2021, Oct 30). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/sociological-perspectives-on-police-shootings/

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