Research Program for Police Brutality

Posted: March 16, 2013 by JatinderThandi in Uncategorized

Police brutality is a form of police misconduct in which officers participate in an excessive use of force, physical as well as verbal abuse and intimidation.  “Excessive use of force” is considered to use force well beyond what would be necessary to resolve the situation.  For example, a police officer who beat up a guy that is not resisting arrest with a baton would be accused of excessive use of force, under the argument that the officer did not have the need to use any force.  Police brutality occurs all around the world and most nations have laws which specifically address it.  Police brutality can come in many forms such as false arrest, racial profiling, and sexual abuse.   When complaints are made about the incidents of police brutality, blame is given to the individuals that committed the act  instead of blaming the department as a whole. These individuals are considered the ‘bad apples’ of the department and these situations are often considered to be ‘one-off incidents’.  When I see police officers facing any charges, they are not punished harshly but I think they are not punished enough and that is one of the reasons police officers are continuing to get involved in police corruption.

Police brutality incidents are not very well recorded in Canada and in some incidents, videos are the only evidence there is of any misconduct occurring. So I have proposed to start a research program that would allow victims of police brutality in BC to report their incidents in a short process. When any incident of police brutality or excessive force occurs, the victim could record on-line or could call to explain what has happened.  The incident does not have to be a big incident; it could be the smallest amount of police brutality so we could know how much it actually occurs.  All the information about the incident should be reported such as what occurred, when it occurred, where it occurred, how it occurred, and the parties involved in the incident.  A team of researchers will be made to look at all the complaints.  Any false complaints against any officers could result in the person reporting to face consequences.  The main research method used would be interviews and that would help determine whether the incident of police brutality occurred or not.  To make sure that the victims of police brutality want to let us know what happened, all the victims will receive $5 after the researchers have found out of the incident really occurred or not.  This research program will be open for several years so we could compare the occurrence of police brutality throughout the years.

I believe that my research program should be funded because even though we are paying extra $5 to victims of police brutality, it will be worth it at the end of the program to compare the amount of complaints filed with this program to the years previous to this research program.  Researchers will take the time to listen and deal with the incidents of police brutality.  Therefore, this research project will provide data on the nature and occurrence of police brutality in BC.

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Comments
  1. Mike Larsen says:

    Interesting post. Where does your definition of police brutality come from?

    You note that “Police brutality can come in many forms such as false arrest, racial profiling, and sexual abuse.”

    Are instances of false arrest and racial profiling necessarily instances of police brutality? It seems to me that these are separate forms of police deviance that can occasionally overlap. For example, racial profiling may explain why certain persons are regarded as being categorically suspicious, why they are stopped and searched, etc. Racial profiling may contribute to false or unreasonable arrests, and it may instigate encounters in which police brutality occurs. There is no requirement that racial profiling lead to police brutality, though.

    Regarding your proposed program of research, do you think that this plan presents any ethical concerns? For example, are there ethical considerations that arise when researchers are involved in interviewing people who claim to be victims, determining the validity of these claims, and then initiating sanctions if they determine the claims to be false?

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