- Of the 1146 people shot and killed by police in the United States in 2015, 210 (1+ in 5) were killed in California. Of the 210 people killed in California, 20 (1+ in 10) were unarmed.
- Of the 579 people shot and killed by police in the U.S. in this year, 2016, 73 police shootings (1+ in 7) have occurred in California.
- Only one in one- thousand police officers who shoot and kill somebody in the US ever faces criminal charges.
- For every reported incident of police brutality, there are probably hundreds if not thousands which go unreported, usually because the victim feels powerless and ashamed.
Cops Do Not Shoot or Otherwise Brutalize Rich People
In the monarchies of Europe that we fought a revolution to be free of, rich people had different rights than others. Rich people have different rights than others here in the United States. The problem isn’t wealthy people—there is nothing inherently immoral or oppressive about people having money; the problem is that police who want to brutalize and bully people and get away with it aren’t likely to choose somebody to pick on who they perceive as powerful. Like all bullies, they choose their victims carefully.
- Unarmed blacks and Native Americans are twice as likely to be killed by police as members of other ethnic groups.
- Unarmed blacks were killed by police at 5-times the rate of unarmed whites in 2015.
While the above statistics regarding police killings are horrific, police brutality takes many forms. When police are allowed to violate people’s civil rights without facing punishment, we don’t have rights.
If the police won’t face punishment for shooting an unarmed twelve-year-old boy, they can get away with just about anything, provided they choose their victim from among demographic groups that they deem to be less powerful, therefore easy prey. Further, police commonly commit other acts of brutality against people if they feel they can get away with their criminal and brutal behavior.
Last February police officers Luis Valenzuela and James Nichols were finally taken off the streets and eventually charged with Rape Under Color of Authority, after years of complaints that they were raping vulnerable women. The complaints were ignored. Acting as judge and jury, the LAPD refused to protect these women from the rapist cops because the women who complained were street prostitutes and addicts with criminal records. It wasn’t until one of the victims filed a lawsuit in civil court that police chief Charlie Beck removed the rapist cops to desk jobs, and eventually they were charged with a crime.
A Stockton, California police officer recently brutally beat an unarmed black teenager with a baton for jaywalking, then ignoring the cop’s commands to sit down. This is a glaring example of police behavior that indicates an insistence that people fear and obey them immediately and those who refuse to do so will be put down with extreme violence. Further, police will not face any criminal charges or other consequences in most cases, no matter what they do or how violent their actions are, even towards minor children.
The only action against the police which seems to get any results is filing a civil lawsuit and these actions are not easy to win. The first step in filing a lawsuit is to file a complaint with the very agency which is allowing the violence to go unchecked: the police department. Many people are afraid to take this step, and not without reason. When we see police getting away with murder, why would we feel safe in filing a complaint?
Police Brutality and Other Police Misconduct is Institutionalized
Recently an entire California prison, the High Desert Correctional Facility, was investigated for prison guard misconduct which included the white guards who worked there denying privileges to the majority of convicts who were black, and granting privileges to the white minority of inmates. Guards were found to have stood by and watched beatings and stabbings without intervening. In this prison, even black prison guards were subjected to abuse by their white co-workers. The California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the union which the guards belong to, advised members not to talk to investigators without a union representative present.
Police rarely face consequences for behavior which includes beating, tasing, and killing unarmed suspects, stopping people for no reason than their skin color, and otherwise intimidating and brutalizing unarmed people, including children. Police protect their own so that law enforcement refuses to make its own officers abide by the law. Who is policing the police?
Filing a Civil Rights Lawsuit Is the Only Action That Gets Any Results
Filing a Civil Rights lawsuit is a scary action, but nobody ever said standing up for our United States Constitution would be easy. It is an action that you do not have to do alone. Looking for a Police Shooting Lawyer? Let Sehat Law Firm back you up and fight for your rights.