Heroes or Villains?

January 23, 2020 | PBAT MAGAZINE

By Edenilson Garcia & Luis Sanchez

According to the Washington Post there were 850 cases of people armed and unarmed were shot and/or killed by police officers have been registered so far this year. Police officers are turning corrupted and is people of color and immigrants by police brutality nationwide and low class people. People need police, security, and someone who they can trust when something bad happened.

“They have a difficult job, especially when there are culture clashes, unfortunately this has not improved over time, it (police brutality) continues to happen in different parts of the country, especially affecting more people of color,” said Ms. Rosmery Milczewsky the Assistant Principal of Flushing International High School. Ms. Milczewsky story shows that police brutality still remains to be a problem even in the 21st Century, and the people most affected by this problem are people of color. Even though there are different opinions about police brutality, many cases show that is unnecessary to kill or abuse of power against the people on the streets.

 

Some people think that police brutality is happening in the U.S. However an anonymous police officer said is “There is always a side of the story.” According to this police officer, police brutality is just a definition that people created for their job. He also thinks that what other police officers do is not police brutality, and that when something happens, people that are victims, or witnesses create their own version of the story, that does not support police officers version. In short  “we do what we gotta do.”

 

However, citizens have confessed that they don’t feel safe when they are in a place with many police officers going around. Instead they expressed to feel targeted when they are surrounded by police officers, and specially when something has happened. Minhye Park, a 12 grade chemistry teacher said: “I feel protected by police officers, but I also feel kind of scared by them”. Even Though she hasn’t experienced  anything like that personally, she shared her father’s story. She said “Actually is my dad experience. We used to have an old van, and about two years ago he was pulled over by a police officer for no reason, then the police officer asks him to show his ID. The police officer realized that my dad was actually a U.S. citizen, and then they let him go.” Now the question is, why did the police officer stopped him? Minhye is sure that his dad didn’t pass the speed limit, also the van despite it was very old, nothing was wrong with it. It seems to be because the police officer had a prejudgement based on Minhye’s dad race. 

Furthermore, according to the ACLU website this kind of racism, or cases happens a lot. For example, in Missouri data collected in the last 20 years show that people of color are more likely to be stopped while driving than white drivers, in fact black drivers are stopped an 85 percent more than white drivers. 

There is a specific example,  on December, 2013 but even though it didn’t happen while the man was driving, still is about police brutality related to racism. Josh Bills a man of color was asked to stop, while he was walking on the sidewalks, according to the police officers they stopped him because of a phone call about a “black man, black clothes”. Despite the man was surrounded by 5 police officers, he never acted weird or aggressive, instead he just stayed there, holding his hands down and following what the police officers asked to do. However the police officers were all otherwise to the black man, they were aggressive, and racists. The kind of force they used was totally unnecessary, due to these actions the black man resulted seriously injured for basically no reason.

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Missouri, 2017

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We interview Rosmery Milczeweski, the Assistant principal from The Flushing International High School about police brutality. She shared her opinions that were really powerful and from the perspective of a latino person thats has been raised here. One thing that took my attention was when she shared a story of police brutality, where she wanted to keep the victim’s name confidential and didn’t want to share as much detail.  “He was a friend of mine, and only him and I were the only affected. We had a negative encounter with a kind of police brutality, but no one else who was around and didn’t look like us as we were dress was affected, so I think racism has to do a lot with what happened.” She was not only being careful with her words by not giving a lot of information, but she also was sad, and quite, obviously she didn’t feel comfortable sharing this story. This what police brutality has accomplished, people feeling intimidated by what is supposed to be our protectors. Something to notice is that police brutality relates with racism, and racism relates to people of color, and immigrants.
 

The majority of people that had experienced police brutality are people of color for example the case of Eric garner who died after a chokehold of a police officer while been arrested. Eric garner was suspicious of selling single cigarettes from packs without tax stamps, obviously he denied everything so the police officers attempt to arrest him. He refused to cooperate and pulled his arms away like he put some sort of resistant, after that they placed his arm around Eric’s neck and wrestled him to the ground. With multiple officers restraining him, Garner repeated the words "I can't breathe" 11 times.

 

Garner went unconsciousness and remained lying on the sidewalk for seven minutes while the officers waited for an ambulance to arrive.  Eric Garner was pronounced dead at the hospital one hour later. Officer who killed him was placed on desk duty for Garner's death.

Garner Tackled by Police

Based on the data collected there are many cases of police brutality, the numbers show this has been happening or affecting people of color mostly between black people according to the citylab website.

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Police brutality is everywhere around the country, not going too far, we found a witness, her name is Maria Perez, she is a hispanic woman and is now living in NYC. She is constantly using the 7 train because of her job, once she saw something what most of us consider police brutality. She said, “Yo iba en el tren 7, y un hombre de color estaba gritando y estaba causando incomodidad y desorden” I was in the 7 train, and a man of color was screaming and causing nonconformity and disorder. However the black man was not the victim of police brutality, according to Ms Perez the train stopped, and they called the police. The thing is that when the police officers arrived, they didn’t go against the black man, in fact they went against an apparently hispanic man. “Los policías se fueron contra el hombre y le empezaron a coger la mochila y se la tiraron al piso, y le gritaban feo, y eran muy pesados”. The police officers started to scream and were being hard against the man, also the police took his book bag, and threw in the floor. The hispanic man, who was in the other wagon, was innocent and the police realized that, so they left him alone, and then the police officers went against the black man who was causing disorder. Even though the police officers knew they made a mistake they didn’t apologize to the hispanic man. However, now we wonder why going against a latino right away? Was it because of the way he looked? Or since they were called because of a black man they had that racism feeling that made them go with extreme force?. This kind of discrimination has driven many people to create movements such as Black Lives Matter. This is an international movement created to face the discrimination against the African-American community. There are a lot of these websites for Black Lives Matter, many states have their own. This movement is demanding mostly justice, and fairness, they want police officers to stop falsifying information when investigations come. Is overwhelming to see how many people has raised up to go against police officers, then if they can not call the police for help, so who they are supposed to ask for help?