A10: Definition Rewrite – fromcasablanca

Every day in the United States, police candidates receive training and are given guidelines on using force prior to their employment. However, even the best training won’t change the core personalities that some officers have and the repercussion of this is the engagement in brutal behavior that injures and cause the death of suspects. These brutal behaviors come from police officers frequent use of excessive force even when suspects do not demonstrate that they need it to control them. The term “excessive force” has yet to be exactly defined but according to an article from U.S. Legal, “Excessive force is the use of force greater than that which a reasonable and prudent law enforcement would use under the circumstances is generally considered to be excessive.”

According to Mapping Police Violence, a research collaborative website that contains information on police killings nationwide, the estimated number of people killed in the United States in 2014 due to police brutality was 1,149 and so far in 2015, 1,046 cases has been reported according to the Guardian. These statistics demonstrate that our law enforcement cannot handle most suspects and are abusing their authority as they resort to using excessive force that leads to suspects being badly beaten or dead.

When people think of police brutality they never seem to focus on the impacts of it and how dangerous they are. When our police officers continue to engage in these brutal behaviors they aren’t only injuring and killing suspects but they degrade and dehumanize them as well. According to No Bullying, an online forum aimed at educating and advising to stop bullying, “When an officer dehumanizes their victim, it helps them to avoid feelings of guilt when it comes to using violence.” No Bullying also states that when they avoid the feelings of guilt, they convince themselves that the object of their actions are less than human. This results in officers feeling better about hurting suspects when they are beating, choking and killing them. Never do they take full responsibility for their actions, instead they might make a remark like “They deserved it!”

Police brutality continues throughout the United States and shows how our police officers don’t use what they have learned from training, beat, kill and dehumanize victims and in most cases direct the brutality towards minorities. Often when the topic of police brutality is discussed, many find it impractical to avoid the topic of race and how the legal system is bias towards minority cases of brutality. Unfortunately, many cases prove this bias such as Eric Garner who was placed in a choke-hold and killed, Michael Brown who was shot and killed and the infamous Rodney King who was severely beaten. All these cases of brutality were done by white officers on unarmed African-American men. Although racism isn’t the only factor in many cases of police brutality, the outcome has a serious impact on the African-American community and all who have to witness it.

Overall, it is extremely important for police officers to  know when excessive force should be used and even more crucial for them to recognize the damage it causes. Also, extremely evident that our law enforcement lacks using their training but even more evident that they find no accountability in injuring, killing and dehumanizing victims and targeting certain minority groups. Police brutality can cause long-term effects of psychological disorders derived from the violence, angering the African-American community and as well as murdering hundreds of citizens per year. As this violence continues to go on more people are hostile towards police officers, even ones who haven’t committed such crimes are still considered to be the enemy. These hostile attitudes allow new officers to enter the field anxious as they over-react to anything that can be interpreted as a threat which drive them to use excessive force.


Works Cited:

“Excessive Force Law & Legal Definition.” Excessive Force Law & Legal Definition. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.

“The Counted: People Killed By Police in the US.” The Guardian. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

“One Troubling Statistic Shows Just How Racist America’s Police Brutality Problem Is.”Mic. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.

“Police Brutality: 5 Things You Didn’t Know|NoBullying|.” NoBullyingBullying CyberBullying Resources. 30 Jan. 2015. Web. 13 Nov. 2015.

“25 Shocking Facts About the Epidemic of Police Brutality in America.” Mic. Web. 13 Nov. 2015

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2 Responses to A10: Definition Rewrite – fromcasablanca

  1. fromcasablanca says:

    feedback requested.

    Feedback provided.


  2. davidbdale says:

    P1. It may well degrade and dehumanize those unlucky suspects, fc, but doesn’t it first injure and sometimes kill them? I would think you’d mention that first, THEN for those who survive the shooting, beating, and chokeholds, we can express sympathy for those it degrades. Are you willing to place the blame for this behavior on inadequate training? Brutal behavior could be innate. Training meant to curb violent tendencies could work on some cases, but even the best training won’t change a core personality, will it? I think this topic is richer and more complex than your first few sentences indicate.

    “Brutality” isn’t the “result of excessive force,” fc. Excessive force is how we define brutality. A certain amount of force might be necessary to subdue a violent suspect. If the suspect is armed, violent, dangerous, nearby, and threatening, lethal force might be necessary, and therefore not excessive, even if the beating or shooting needed to subdue him might seem brutal. Right? Be careful to distinguish all your terms. It’s too easy to make a mistake when writing about justice and life-and-death confrontations. We’re counting on you to be specific, clear, and correct.

    I agree the survivors of brutality (and force that looks like brutality) and their loved ones distrust police and harbor grudges against them. But you’re trying to put SO MUCH into this one paragraph you’re bound to stumble over your claims.

    Police can sometimes be violent individuals.
    They might also be prejudiced against certain groups.
    Training attempts to channel their aggression appropriately.
    Sometimes, well-trained or not, police engage in brutality.
    The causes are many: fear for their own lives, prejudice, innate violence, peer pressure, excessive sense of injustice . . . .

    You aren’t trying to write a Causal Essay here, but all these factors contribute to cause and effect combinations.
    —You say poor training results in brutality: that’s causal.
    —You say failure to recognize excessive force results in brutality: that’s causal.
    —You say the loved ones suffer because of the brutality: that’s causal.
    —You say the community grows suspicious and resentful: that’s causal.
    —You say rookies are perceived as the enemy, which makes them targets, which increases their sense of peril, which makes them trigger-happy, which is all causal and amounts to a beautiful causal chain.

    What am I saying, bottom line? You have too many arguments in your first paragraph that don’t cluster around a single topic. You set out to distinguish between “appropriate force” and “excessive force,” which is a near equivalent of brutality. Is that right? It would be a good job to accomplish in your first paragraph.

    P2. Instead, you try to do it in your second paragraph. So, what was the purpose of P1?

    The sentence inside quotation marks is probably misquoted, fc. It doesn’t make grammatical sense. Check it against the original.

    The Guardian is a British publication, fc. Are they reporting on US brutality numbers? You’re comparing statistics from “Mapping Police Violence” and from the Guardian, so it’s hard to tell what’s being measured.

    P3. What ARE they thinking, fc? What is the thought process of dehumanizing? Are they able to beat a suspect senseless by putting thoughts out of their mind, or by concentrating hard on other specific thoughts? Are they thinking at all? If dehumanizing helps officers “avoid feelings of guilt,” it must be by blaming someone else for the brutality, right? Someone was beaten; only two of us were there; either the beating was completely justifiable or the suspect was to blame for it. OR: the suspect is not a person worthy of my sympathy or compassion and therefore can be beaten without guilt. Which one sounds right? We need some of this explanation in your argument.

    P4. Your verbs don’t match in the first sentence. Bad syntax. That first sentence is also the first example of sentences leaning on the “there is” and “it is” crutches. You’ve avoided them everywhere else; here there are three in a row.

    This is a very unclear claim: “the legal system has been biased towards minority cases of brutality.”

    This is a very unclear claim: “the result of it has a serious impact on the African-American community.”

    For a definition argument, you use the term RESULT a lot in your conclusion. [I highlighted the causal language there.] Are you sure this isn’t your Causal Argument?

    Reply, please.


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