What is behind the police brutality in the United States

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by Anastasia Frank, The Duran:

Freedom, equality, democracy. These words have nothing to do with the United States, as every American knows. Is Trump to blame for all this?

George Floyd and Breonna Taylor became symbols of the American protest movement in 2020. Their killing has become the epitome of brutality and racism in the US police. Their portraits were circulated on social media, painted on the walls and printed on T-shirts. The terrible truth is that their deaths are just the tip of the iceberg.

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Breonna Taylor, 26, was gunned down by police on March 13, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. LMPD officers broke into the apartment of a 26-year-old black health worker during an anti-drug operation. Six bullets were fired at Taylor, as a result of which she died.

46-year-old George Floyd was the victim of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The policeman used a strangulation technique during the arrest. “I can’t breathe”, Floyd’s last words, which became the slogan of many protests.

These two tragic incidents to the whole world showed how imperfect the American law enforcement system is. Even countries like Russia, Iran, and China, where repression is common, have an excellent opportunity to criticize the United States. And here it is important to note that American liberal politicians and the media did not really mind. In an election year, they turned all the popular anger against Donald Trump. Terrible hypocrisy.

Unfortunately, over the past four years, many Americans have never realized that Trump is a pathetic excuse for a dictator. Obsessed with power and attention, but without political experience, Trump, even with all the desire, could not create the repressive machine that the law enforcement system has become.

Back in 2003, police stormed a school in Goose Creek, South Carolina. 107 schoolchildren were forced to lie face down on the floor, threatening with pistols. The raid was part of an anti-drug operation that was never found at the school. The incident itself caused natural indignation among parents, because the police have the right to prosecute only individual citizens, the connection with drugs has clear evidence.

In 2013, in California, sheriff’s deputies shot a 13-year-old boy with a toy machine gun in his hands. Six years ago, 18 year old black Michael Brown, fresh out of high school, was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

One cannot but mention here the Rampart scandal of the late 1990s. Then dozens of officers of the Los Angeles Police Department were convicted of misconduct. Unprovoked beatings, planting false evidence, stealing and selling drugs, robbing a bank, perjury and hiding evidence are just a few of the local police crimes. All of this made the scandal one of the most high-profile cases of documented police corruption in US history.

Each of these incidents and many others prompted the public and politicians to discuss the need for police reform. Some measures have even been implemented. For example, by 2015, 95% of major police departments reported using body cameras to monitor officers’ actions. But studies have shown that this practically does not affect the behavior of police officers.

They tried to neutralize racial prejudices in the power structures by diversifying the police forces. Jennifer Cobbina, professor of criminal justice at the University of Michigan, found that the appearance of black police officers did not contribute to the fight against racism.

American police now kill about three people a day, which is roughly equal to the annual number of such incidents in other wealthy countries. Such a colossal gap may be related to the prevalence of weapons in the United States, says Professor David Hemenway.

“Where there are many civilians who wield weapons, police shoot fatalities”, – he notes.

Former Burlington, Virginia police chief Brandon del Pozo, in turn, notes that American police cannot give up their weapons, as is the case in the UK and Iceland. On the other hand, the Canadian police are also armed, but the level of police shootings is much lower there. Some attribute this to the fact that Canada pays special attention to de-escalation of the conflict. Does this apply in the US? No! And it’s not about the prevalence of weapons, not Trump or racism.

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