New York has a difficult history when it comes to police misconduct. Although there has been some progress in the relationship between police and community members, many issues still need to be resolved.
What is police brutality?
Police brutality could be defined as unlawfully using excessive force or violating a citizen’s civil rights when dealing with the public.
Under New York law, this includes activities like:
- Causing physical or psychological harm
- Tampering with or mishandling evidence
- Using coercion
- False imprisonment or arrest
- Falsifying police reports
- Sexual misconduct
Several factors contribute to police brutality, including frustration with the job, personal issues at home, and mental health problems.
This demonstrates that there is a distinct psychology behind police misconduct. Understanding why and how it occurs could be the key to creating police forces that truly protect and serve all New York citizens.
The importance of changing the approach to policing
It should be clarified that most interactions with police are within the law. People who join the police force often do so out of an earnest wish to make their city a safer place to live.
In fact, out of the more than 6 million police interactions in 2018, the most recent year that statistics are available, only 2% involved threats or use of force.
This gives hope that the scope of the problem is not as severe as media reports imply. Yet, it’s clear that something needs to be done.
Possible solutions to the problem of police brutality include retraining police to be more understanding of dynamics like mental health problems in the population. Another suggestion is to create programs to address implicit bias in police officers. Implicit bias describes an underlying mindset when dealing with minorities.
Police departments could also overhaul the recruitment and hiring process to weed out those at risk for overstepping their authority. Mental health support and stronger internal disciplinary procedures for active officers could also help.