Police Discrimination against Minorities
The relationship between minority groups and police officers highlights some of the most complex and enduring problems facing policing globally. These types of relationships have the potential to be harmonious, but in most cases, they end up being problematic. For instance, Lytle (2010) argues that minority groups often receive deprived police protection. In some cases, police are more likely to refrain from addressing certain criminal behaviors like domestic violence that occur within certain minority groups. Lytle (2010) adds that the main reason for this attitude is because the police have already developed stereotypes that members of these minority groups have a habit of engaging in such behaviors. Police discrimination against minority groups often takes forms such as brutality, harassment, or excessive enforcement (Lytle, 2010). This discussion explores the various aspects of police discrimination against minorities.
Although it cannot be used as an excuse for failure by the police to exercise fairness, police attitudes towards the minority groups tends to be a reflection of the values within the broader community. Ruth (2016) argues that in situations where the community is showing some level of hospitality towards a particular minority, police officers are likely to develop the feeling that any discriminatory behavior against such groups is justified. As such, we can conclude that part of the reason why police brutality exists is that it is a creation of the community.
Lowery (2015) argues that the magnitude and intensity of police and community prejudice against a specific minority group are dependent on social and historical factors. In other words, the longer a particular minority group is seen to be alien or inferior, the higher the likelihood of this group experiencing police discrimination. Additionally, Lowery (2015) suggests that circumstantial resentment is also another significant factor that determines discrimination against minorities. For example, immigrant workers who had been welcome to a given country at a time when there was a lot of work available may end up being harassment targets during times of unemployment (Lowery, 2015).
Although police discrimination against minority groups still exists even today, the relevant stakeholders in law enforcement are increasingly becoming more aware of these problems, and they are taking broad measures to solve this challenge. For example, the community policing reforms introduced in the 20th century were motivated by a desire to minimize conflict between police and minority groups (Ruth, 2016). However, Horace and Harris (2018) argue that police discrimination against minority groups can only be improved in societies with police accountability. Failure to observe accountability would mean that most complaints about police discrimination against minorities are likely to be met with harsh reprisals that might include police undertaking extrajudicial killings of complainants (Horace & Harris, 2018).
In conclusion, police discrimination against minorities remains a thorny issue in modern society. Although various legislative measures have been taken to minimize or eliminate this harmful vice, it has continued to persist to date. Several factors have been blamed for this development; some of them, which include the fact that police attitudes towards minority groups tend to be a reflection of the values within the broader community. Additionally, a lack of police accountability has also contributed to continuing discrimination against minorities because any complaints are met with unusually harsh reprisals that might include even death. As such, police discrimination against minorities remains a severe issue that will require a wholesome approach from society to minimize it.
Horace, M., & Harris, R. (2018). The black and the blue: a cop reveals the crimes, racism, and injustice in America’s law enforcement. New York: Hachette Books.
Lowery, P. G. (2015). Police Discrimination. The Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment, 1–3. DOI: 10.1002/9781118519639.wbecpx191
Lytle, D. (2010). Neighborhood racial context and perceptions of police-based discrimination among black youth. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, 33(1). DOI: 10.1108/pijpsm.2010.18133aae.001
Ruth, M. (2016). Police brutality. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning.