The article that I chose was “The dangerous Militarization of Our Police” by David Love. In the article, Love recants the story of the 1985 MOVE bombing that happened in West Philadelphia. During this bombing, that was carried out by Philadelphia’s police department, over 10,000 rounds of ammunition were fired into the buildings that the MOVE group resided in and military grade explosive were dropped onto the property as well (Love, 2015). The time frame that this article is written in exemplifies the extremes that some police forces have gone to when policing minorities and minority neighborhoods. Military grade weapons are being supplied to police forces that are still made up of non-military trained civilians who are tasked to go out into some of the United States’ most dangerous neighborhoods and still return to their families in one piece. I believe that this is a formula that is predestined for failure as police officers can fear the citizens that they are policing just as much as the citizens they are policing fear them. Looking at this construct, the only thing that makes any difference is that one side is fully equipped and prepared to defend themselves while the other is helpless.
During the various racial incidents that occurred in the United States in 2015, American police forces across the nation lobbied to citizens that they had their communities’ best interests at heart and we’re only trying to do their jobs while protecting their fellow officers in the process. The video evidence that was continuously referenced, however, portrayed a different narrative. Minorities in the United States have a just cause to feel fear of their local police forces because there is an overlying theme of control, power, and nepotism that is being showed by the governmental agencies that are tasked to protect them.
In response to my peer who critiqued an article that was related to the treatment of mental health patients in prisons, I would be led to believe that their conclusions of law enforcement personnel being undertrained and law enforcement agencies being understaffed would be two large causes of why citizens continuously receive subpar service and treatment from law enforcement. In the article that my peer chose, it is mentioned how inmates are incorrectly diagnosed or not diagnosed at all before beginning their incarcerations (DeMoss, 2015). On top of this, because inmates are not receiving the proper treatments and medications during their imprisonments, their mental conditions worsen and, in turn, make themselves a danger to the other inmates and guards. Thus, an inmate could have an episode and force correctional officers to physically restrain them before any further damage is done.
In both situations, the media usually tries to paint a picture of one side being a hero and the other side being a villain. For example, whenever a police department holds a press conference explaining why a police officer had to shoot a suspect in self-defense, the media will either try to make the suspect seem like a person who deserved to be treated as a criminal or they will make the arresting officer seem like a heartless murderer who is abusing the privileges of his badge depending on the political slant of the media outlet. Sociologists look at situations from a much broader perspective and attempt to locate the underlying conflicts and situations that could lead to such a disconnect between a police department and the community that it serves.
- DeMoss, D. (2015, March 25). The Nightmare of Prison for Individuals with Mental Illness. Retrieved January 5, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dustin-demoss/prison-mental-illness_b_6867988.html
- Love, D. A. (2015, May 14). The Dangerous Militarization of Our Police. Retrieved January 5, 2017, from http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/13/opinions/love-move-bombing-anniversary/