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Better Training, Key Solution to Prevent Cases Like Garner’s

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Better Training, Key Solution to Prevent Cases Like Garner’s

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On July 17th, 2014, Eric Garner was brutally mistreated and ultimately killed by an NYPD officer. The officer put Garner in a prohibited chokehold after he had already raised both hands surrendering peaceably to police. Unfortunately, this case is only one of many involving African Americans being brutalized by police officers. Something must change in police departments around the country to end racial injustice. There have been numerous other cases similar to Garner’s. Cases like these have sparked many protest and movements in response to police brutality.

The most prominent movement in the U.S., in response to the many cases of brutality, is The Black Lives Matter movement. This movement started with a social media hashtag and has turned into a nationwide protest against police brutality. The overwhelming support for this movement is promising. Will this movement change police departments across the country? There needs to be a change in the way officers handle situations and a change in the way that officers who commit these heinous crimes get punished.

Many officers and supporters of police departments around the country say that protests in response to police brutality are not justified. People argue that police officers have to overcome so many emotional and psychological challenges every day. Supporters of police argue that officers are in some way justified for the violent acts they commit against civilians. New York Times writer and former police reporter David Brooks states “…not enough attention is being paid to the emotional and psychological challenges of being a cop.” however, this argument is invalid because if an officer goes through the proper training, they would be very capable of overcoming these kinds of challenges.    

The training that officers receive to handle these kinds of situations is not sufficient. Many videos of officers handling situations involving African Americans show that police officers disregard everything that they were trained to do. Officers simply panic, their response is comparable to someone who has never received any training for high-stress situations. There is not a better example of this happening than in the case of Philando Castile. Officer Jeronimo Yanez stopped Mr. Castile because he believed that he fit the description of a robbery suspect from several days earlier. Experts say that there is an issue with the way that the officer handled the situation “The officer got too close to the passenger’s window. If I thought it was a robbery suspect, I would have had my hand on my gun. The tactics were a little laissez-faire if you thought that you were dealing with an armed-robbery suspect” said Garry F. McCarthy, a former Chicago police superintendent. The obvious lack of Officer Yanez remembering his basic training is what caused this situation. The lack of attention to basic training is what causes the violence in many of these cases. Officers around the U.S. need to put more of a focus on their training and the way they handle situations; then these kinds of situations can be avoided.

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