The police carry out their activities in strict compliance with the law. Any use of force aimed at limiting natural rights, freedoms and legitimate privileges of public associations, organizations, and officials are permissible only on the grounds and in the manner prescribed by law. The key principle of cops’ activity is the principle of impartiality. In accordance with this principle, the police protect the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of a person and citizen, regardless of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, property and official status, place of residence, attitude to religion, beliefs, membership in public associations, and others circumstances. An officer should remain impartial in any event. He should show respect for the national customs and traditions of citizens, take into account the cultural and other characteristics of various ethnic and social groups, religious organizations, promote interethnic and interreligious harmony. The violation of this principle is manifested in police brutality.
At the end of the last century in Boston, police using excessive force has already become a traditionally serious problem in relations between cops and residents. African Americans initiated 50% of all complaints.
Particular alertness of the public was caused by the facts of intensive use of firearms by the cops since in such cases it is rather difficult to establish the legitimacy of its use. When, during the detention of 4 robbers in restaurants sitting in the car, the special unit launches 227 bullets from pistols so that 19 wounds are found in the body of one of the robbers, there is always a doubt as to whether the cops control the degree of force used to counteract criminality and whether it is out of control of the law.
Zero tolerance policy was adopted in 1997. It meant reacting to the manifestation of any, even minor violations of the law. Experts in the field of police violations rightly believed that the American cops, which decided to reduce the level of crime in society by aggressively pursuing even minor offenses, was obliged to demonstrate the same extreme intolerance to deviations from the law within its ranks. However, this did not happen. Simultaneously with the course to establish strict control over the safety of the streets, the active pursuit of graffiti fans and those jumping over the turnstiles of the subway, the general aggression of the cops also increased, accompanied by rudeness, brutality against people, unjustified use of force, cynicism and poorly concealed racism. The number of citizens’ complaints about unlawful actions increased by 56%.
Among the American cities of that time, San Francisco had the highest annual level of citizens killed by the officers (4 people for every 100 murders), which exceeded the figures of New York and Los Angeles. Most of those shot were residents of poor neighborhoods and representatives of ethnic minorities. Between 1977 and 1997, no San Francisco policeman was prosecuted for using weapons during service, and in 80% of cases when citizens’ complaints were confirmed by internal investigations, the cops were not even punished even disciplinary.
The Atlanta police also fell into sight in 1995. Then, during the detention of the robber, the owner of the store was killed, and the officers were injured by their coworkers.
According to American human rights activists, New Orleans, which has the highest level of citizens’ complaints about excessive use of force, was a kind of record holder of the national survey. During 1993-1997, 50 officers were arrested for committing intentional crimes. According to observers of Human Rights Watch, the problem lay in the low salaries of policemen in New Orleans, which caused not only a high level of offenses but also systematic corruption.
In 1969 Chicago became a symbol of police violence. This became a bulwark of cops arbitrariness after the violent dispersal of the demonstration, for a long time remained a source of serious concern for citizens, as the Chicago police were still leading in terms of the number of known facts of cops abuse and torture. In February 1982, the chief figure of the public scandal was the chief of the police department. Then the detainee on suspicion of murder stated that during a 17-hour interrogation, policemen under the direct supervision of John Barge were beating him, torturing him with electric shocks and keeping him tied to a hot radiator. The name of D. Barge was synonymous with lawlessness. Activists conducted a human rights investigation, during which 65 suspects who became victims of torture by Barge and his subordinates in 1972-1991 were identified. In addition to trivial beating, sophisticated psychological techniques and planned types of torture were applied to the victims. Despite the active protection of the police union, D. Barge was dismissed in 1994.
As an international phenomenon, abuse of authority and abuse of power by US policemen is directly related to the proliferation of criminal and corruption activities in the police. One of the most widespread corruption scandals broke out in the early 1990s when the officers in five urban areas in New York were arrested for selling drugs and beating suspects. The commission came to the conclusion that this case is not a single. Police in New York City widely practiced beating and torture of suspects, mockery of detainees, betrayal of trust, falsification of physical evidence, rape of prostitutes during raids and checking brothels. The internal control system was also corrupted. Internal investigations were conducted in a biased manner, and the leadership in every way covered policemen guilty of committing crimes.
Detective G. Somerville was arrested in Chicago in 1993. After 20 hours of confrontation and resistance, he was accused of committing abduction, three sexual crimes, and abuse of power. During the service, Samuelville stopped female drivers, showed a cop’s badge and ordered them to change seats in a police car, where he raped them under the threat of using weapons. Only after a two-year trial, Somerville was sentenced to four years in prison.
One of the cases police brutality took place in Philadelphia. Around the same time, a group of Philadelphia police officers from 39 districts during 1995 committed a number of crimes including the robbery of persons suspected of drug trafficking, illegal arrests, and falsification of materials. During the raids on the places where drugs were sold, policemen broke into the houses of suspects, took all the money they found out of the drug dealers and beat all those who got in the way. Police Department of Philadelphia fired 82 people.
The following corruption scandal broke out in December 1996, when seven policemen from Chicago’s elite tactical unit were accused by the federal court of extortion and theft of money from drug dealers. The peculiarity of the process was the unproven version, according to which one of the arrested officers himself was a high-ranking leader of the criminal world.
The police reforms undertaken in the US over the past twenty years have somewhat reduced the level of crime among police officers. However, the topic of police crime is still relevant.
- Police brutality – Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_brutality
- Police Brutality | HuffPost, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/topic/police-brutality