Police brutality is defined as deliberate use of excessive force against the population carried out under the banner of law enforcement activities. It is categorized as one form of police misconduct.
The word brutality in this context means “savage cruelty”. In the case of police the population might see them as oppressors and brutality is often in context to groups that are powerless, such as minorities or disabled civilians, the poor or the young.
Causes Of Police Brutality
Researches have been done in to the causes of police brutality and why are police officers excessively aggressive. It is thought that some personality traits make officers more susceptible to usage of excessive force. One study that interviewed officer that used excessive force concluded 5 major causes including: previous job related PTSD, personality disorders, inexperienced officers, officers with personal problems and officers learning inappropriate patrol styles.
How Is It Measured?
Police brutality is not defined by any hard and fast standard. Usually it is based on the interpretation of the public that either saw it or experienced it themselves or in the case of trials by the judge or the juries. There is no known quantifiable measurement for police brutality. Due to the relativity it should also be taken into account that the definition of brutality can greatly vary among race gender and ages. Commonly, African Americans, the younger population and females are more prone to consider actions as brutal compared to men, middle aged people and the elderly and Caucasians individuals.
Independent Oversight Agencies
Due to the heavy criticism of use of brutality, various groups have deemed a need of an oversight agency or board comprising of independent civilians to ensure accountability.
Umbrella organization and committees as well as official organizations such as Amnesty international are active where police brutality is concerned. Most of these organizations use tools such as but not limited to video recordings. These are in some cases broadcasted online on YouTube and other social media websites
Cop Watch programs are also cropping up which are basically civilian independent project that monitor the activities of the police department in a certain area. Proper supervisions by supervisors and administrative department dedicated to curbing misconduct is also on the rise.
Policy brutality is one of the major problems in present times, and should be curbed using appropriate oversight agencies and proper training programs that ensure that the police can tell the difference between right or wrong conduct when dealing with civilians.