OPINION: Policing of black males is harmful


A sign reads, “Black lives matter,” June 19 in the Neal-Marshall Black Cultural Center. Alex Deryn

As students get ready for school in the morning, many teens may be focused on putting an outfit together or scrambling to make sure they have enough lunch money to get dessert. Some might be going over biology notecards, drilling into their young mind the function of mitochondria. 

With recent school shootings, students now might ponder safety. But something they shouldn't have to think about is if they will be safe from those meant to serve and protect them. This is increasingly becoming a problem with minority students

Tensions between police officers and black people, specifically black males, are high. Policing of black males is often outright discriminatory and so blatantly racist that it becomes repulsive. Officers are hyper-aggressive with black people, and it has often had deadly consequences. 

A white Indianapolis Metropolitan Police officer punched a black Shortridge High School student in the face Thursday. According to the family, the student was only 15 years old. 

In the short video, there was an intense confrontation between the boy, a woman and police officers. One officer told the woman to leave the property, and another officer said, “You want to go to jail? You want to go to jail? Let’s go.”

After the exchange of words, the boy stepped in front of the officer. He did not physically harm the officer and was not in a fighting position. The young teen was doing nothing to threaten the officer.

The boy’s skin color was enough to assume he was a threat. 

The officer punched the boy in the face, hard enough to send him onto the pavement.

This uncalled for aggression reflects the unfortunate reality of American society, and specifically relationships between police officers and black people. Data from YouGov found 46% of black people feel “very unsafe” or “somewhat unsafe” while interacting with the police. 

Quite frankly, how could they feel safe when black people are killed at such disproportionate rates?

According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, black men are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white men. 

We have seen cases like this time and time again. 

Mike Brown. Eric Garner. Oscar Grant. Philando Castile. White cops kill black men.

But, white mass murderers such as Dylann Roof, Nikolas Cruz and Patrick Wood Crusius are able to be arrested without being killed during the arrest. 

This inconsistency is a problem. It is unethical that a black teen doing nothing can be punched in the face at school, but someone who just murdered nine has a peaceful arrest

I am not saying all police officers are untrustworthy. I understand many of them are good people, and more importantly officers of the law. Unfortunately, at times the bad seems to outweigh the good. 

Officers who have clearly done wrong must be held accountable for their actions. It is imperative that the officer who punched the student is punished. If not, who knows what he will do next?

The not guilty verdict that is seen too often in police brutality cases is damaging.

The IMPD released a statement on the incident.

In the statement, IMPD Chief Bryan Roach said, “The video shows a clear image of a closed fist punch to the face, a technique which is not taught or reasonable given the facts known to us at this time.” 

The officer has been suspended without pay.

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