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Essay/Term paper: Police brutality

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Narrative Essays

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Police Brutality

By Matt Howard
Peroid 1
Mrs. Kolar
December 20, 1996

"We were following are training as L.A.P.D. officers," said officer
Stacey Koon who was one of four officers accused of using excessive force
against Rodney King. {Brutality in Los Angles 7 } Koon along with fellow
officers Timothy Wind, Lawrence Powell, and Theodore Brines chased King through
downtown Los Angles. King had allegedly committed numerous traffic violations
and was thought to be high on PCP. After a hour King pulled his car over and the
officers swarmed in to arrest him. King began to struggle then the beating began.
Little did the officers know a bystander was filming the whole thing.{Brutality
in Los Angles 8}

The officers were tried for using active force and the tape were
reviewed by experts who found that king was struck with over 50 blows to the
body by the officers. {Brutality in Los Angles7} The officers were found not
guilty of using excessive force against Rodney King. This sparked a week long
riot in Los Angles. There was looting and building being torched. {Burning 14}

Following the riots it was announced that two officers Stacey Koon And
Lawrence Powell would stand trial yet again, but this time in federal court for
violating Rodney Kings civil rights. Both were convicted and sentenced to prison
terms {Brutality In Los Angles 7} The Rodney King video and trial sparked a
question in many peoples mind through out the nation, "How big of a problem is
police brutality? Little did they know that this would be the beginning of a
streak of police related violence.

Sandra Antor a Miami, Florida residence was driving through South
Carolina heading north on vacation. When she was stopped by a South Carolina
Highway Patrol officer. {Bruning 15} He dragged her from the car and cursed at
her. Once she was out of the car He forced Ms. Antor to lay on the pavement
handcuffed like a common thief , all because she had had failed to see him with
his lights on behind her . His on board camera recorded the whole incident. {
Bruning 15}

A couple weeks later we saw a example of police brutality again. This
time a truck full of illegal aliens from Mexico. Deputies in Riverside chased
the pickup on the freeway. The illegal immigrants threw beer bottles at the
deputies. When the truck finally stopped, the immigrant in the back of the truck
fled. Three Riverside Deputies then went after the driver and his passenger. The
driver was thrown against the hood and handcuffed. The passenger, a pregnant
women was grabbed when she did not stop running, was clubbed repeatedly with a
nightstick. The officers didn't even notice that a news helicopter was hovering
above them recording everything live on television. {Streisand 10}

Not every police beating is fortunate enough not to end without any
major injuries. Take Jonny Gammage for example, a cousin of Pittsburgh Steeler
Defensive End Ray Seals. Gammage had just finished having lunch with his cousin
Seals. Seals let Gammage borrow his brand new Jaguar to pick his mother up in
Pittsburgh. While driving through downtown Pittsburgh Gammage got out of the car
and began to argue with the officers. He allegedly was beaten to death by them.
What makes it ironic is the only reason Gammage was stopped is because he was
riding his brakes to prevent from speeding. {Daher 1}
A tow tuck driver named Frank Beljack was a eyewitness to the beating.
Beljack said " I noticed they were hitting on him. It looked like one of the
officers was on his back hitting him. The officers are on trial now for
involuntary man slaughter. {Daher 2}
Although police beatings like this have no logical explanation why they
happen, some cops have described a feeling of excitement during a high speed
pursuit. This feeling now has a name. It is called High-Speed Pursuit Syndrome.
High-Speed Syndrome is described as a mix between fear, excitement, and
adrenaline. This syndrome cause the officer to vent all these emotions on the
suspect at the end of the pursuit.{A.C.L.U. 1} Police departments now are
training their officers how to control their emotions in the event of a high
speed chase.{A.C.L.U. 2} Three of the four police beatings above involved high
speed pursuits.
The purpose of this research paper is took look at some police brutality
cases and try to determine how big of a problem it is. This is just four cases
of thousands of cases all over the world. So the answer is police brutality is
a big problem and should be stopped by whatever means necessary.

Work Cited

Brancato, Gilda and Elliot E. Polebaum The Rights Of Police Officers New york,
A.C.L.U. 1981

Streisand, Betsy " L.A. Chooses Sides : Cops vs. Aliens " U.S. News and World
Report Aprill 1996 10

Bruning, Fred " Rogue Cops and Civillan Beatings" Newsday April, 1996 : 15.

Daher, Kate "Justice For Jonny" {htpp://www.cs.cmu.edu/~
~pshell/gammage/flyer.htlm October 1995.

Winters, Paul A. Policing The Police Greenville: David Benner,1991



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