In all the variety of topics that one may choose to write an academic paper on, there is a tight group of “clichéd” ones – those that have been used so many times that it seems nothing new can be said on the matter. Police brutality is definitely one of them.
It’s sad, really, how The Talk acquired a new meaning, changing from the birds and the bees to how to stay alive in the presence of a police officer. It does signify that something is wrong with the society – which is probably why police brutality papers are produced by the dozen every year.
Can we teach you how to write a police brutality essay? No. We can just give general recommendations and map possible areas for research, which is exactly what we are doing in this blog post.
Key points and possible areas of focus
The issue of police brutality has been making headlines for over 20 years now. The first ever case to raise awareness had place in 1992 during Los Angeles riots.
The statistics shows that, in the majority of cases, police violence against young black and ethnic men (who are the primary victims) goes unpunished, with a slight improvement seen in the recent years.
The U.S. Department of Justice has made its contribution by ruling against police departments in Cleveland and Albuquerque, stating that they engage in applying excessive force in handling arrests.
And yet, the problem exists and keeps stirring public unrest on the massive scale.
One of the primary causes of the problem is said to be the lack of training for police officers – a good topic to focus your essay on – and therefore, the inevitable lack of their qualification and ability to handle interactions with mentally challenged and unstable persons.
The growing public unrest in the recent years caused government-level discussions regarding possible legal reforms.
All of the abovementioned leads to the inevitable spread of distrust towards police officers, especially among minority groups.
What is the main controversy in this issue? It would be a safe bet to say that it’s the one-sided public opinion on the matter, as well as the lack of an established system of information. There are countless incidents where police officers chose to hold fire and handle the arrest with utmost courage and professionalism. And yet the public doesn’t get informed about such cases, focusing only on the unjustified violence aspect.
The danger of the police profession itself adds to the controversy. The chances of gun violence from a suspect being arrested are higher in the U.S. than in most other developed countries – the inevitable consequence of the number of guns owned per capita.
Therefore, improvements to the system of public information could be a good focus for your paper, as it seems to be essential to the entire police violence issue, while also being narrow enough to be provable.
And here is yet another problem – even the FBI doesn’t have the full picture. The system of reporting on the victims of crimes is voluntary for police departments, which leaves law enforcement dependent on civil awareness of the police. They can’t identify trends and see whether the number of police violence victims has increased or decreased in the recent years.
The academic community takes active part in the discussion, too, providing valuable insight into the problem. Which is good news for you, since you can use not only official documents (reports), but also academic studies as sources for your essay.
Racial-biased profiling seems another good aspect to focus on. There are certain characteristics that make a person more prone to being detained by the police and undergo threats and violence. The reasons and key trends from where stems such profiling could be another area to focus your research on.
Police violence is a complicated issue and should be treated as such. Numerous papers of different volume and importance have been written about it, and if you want to stand out, try following these recommendations:
- Look for a new fresh angle (if possible) or at least take the road less travelled when choosing an area to focus on
- Stick to facts and formal language
- Don’t rely too much on opinion pieces as sources. These can be used to illustrate controversy, but hardly as supporting evidence.