Police Abuse and Laws Against It Term Paper


Abuse involves wrongdoing by a public official while in the line of official duty or simply misuse of power vested on him/her. In our case, we are focusing on police misconducts, which they exercise while carrying out their duties.

Police forces tend to lack trust and impartiality, which is a severe offense that may cost them the eir job. We shall widely look into the circumstances under which the mission of our forces use their power and the repercussion that follow.

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It is no doubt that the police are there to protect the welfare of the public in general and also to maintain orders as provided by the law.

There are guidelines that outline how the police should handle different issues when they arise, and the law spells out the situations under which police officers are supposed to apply extra force on the offenders.

It is unlawful to assault a person without prior reason of doing so, and this has been observed in the police force for a long time when they tend to over exercise their power to innocent citizens while participating in peaceful demonstrations.

Instances of shooting and killing of innocent people have been reported, this is unconstitutional, and issues such as these should be dealt with seriously to avoid the occurrence of the same in the future.

People have rights to demand what they want from the government, and peaceful demonstration is not illegal or against the law (Owens & Jeffrey, 2002). People should respond to these issues in different ways to shun these forms of abuse.

Political Actions

In case a police officer abuses his/her power and engage in brutality, individuals should respond politically to ensure that justice prevails as the culprit is brought to book thus facing the consequences.

We need not fear when addressing issues that concern our well being and people should form groups that will mobilize the entire community to know their rights and how to handle any misconduct or assault (Owens & Jeffrey, 2002).

People should defend their victims by challenging the police either through the media or the court of law, and this will make our police refrain from abuse and awful behaviors. People should resist all manner of police brutality regardless of their rank or even their economic status.

Legislative Action

The law has spelled out clearly when, and the instance under which a law enforcer can lawfully apply constrains while performing their duties.

This normally uses when a police officer finds himself under the delicate situation that calls for self-defense or if he/she observes that there is need to apply that extra force to prevent deadly harm to other citizens by the victim on target.

This law was put down to protect the officers who murder or harm the offenders while protecting others or themselves. This does not guarantee them a license to occasionally do the same to all suspects with no prior background or evidence to support their action.

The law, however, does not prevent an individual who falls victims of police brutality from taking the necessary actions if deemed necessary.

Though the law does not clearly state how a police officer who exercise excess power while on duty would be dealt with, it should not stand to be a reason for impunity within our police force.

The issue of police having a license to hold weapons should not be a reason to assaults innocent people and government should be at the forefront of matters relating to public protection.

The public should emphasize on the need to have an independent investigation body to carry out investigations and prosecute those police officers who have neglected their duties and turn out to be murderers (Johnson, 2004).

Service and Support

Increase in cases of police brutality has left many innocent people suffering silently due to lack of information on where to seek justice occasioned by a poor system of governance.

Many cases of people who were abused by police officers have been pending in courts and no one care what happened to the victim while those who committed the offense to move freely as if nothing happened.

This has made the crisis team open crisis centers and avails public with call line to report any form of assault that may be encountered from the police unit (Stetser, 2001). The public should make use of such networks to trim down misconducts of our police force.


The rise in police abuse of power to the general public has made well-wishers and the learned people to form organizations that facilitate awareness creation to the general public on the matter regarding their rights.

These associations should organize workshops and open forums so that those who little knowledge of their rights get information and understanding on how to respond to any brutality that may arise (Chevigny, 1998).

Legal inquiry and commendation Services

Occasions of attorneys refusing to take cases of police who fall victims of brutality have been reported severally.

This should be responded to by people establishing organizations with their legal support library to enable them to battle with the officers who misbehave while on duty. Issues such as racial profiling and deadly police actions can be solved through these associations.

The procedure of Arrest and Detention

The law spells out that the duties of police officers are to protect citizens and also apprehend those found breaking the law. Consequently, if the officer falls short of this and correct procedures have applied the law can arrest and prosecute any officer.

Police officers have a routine of arresting innocent people and detaining them. This is awful behavior, and the officers do not only break the law as provided regarding arrest but also commit a serious offense of violating human rights.

Some innocent people have lost their lives in the hands of police officers who illegally arrest them and subject them to torture with no reason.

This is a bad picture especially coming from our law administrators. Police tend to arrest and detain innocent people, and mostly they try to scoop the information regarding crimes that most of the time these individuals know little about.

They subject these people to torture causing major harm to the victims. International law has a provision that forbids police from torturing detainees, but the police normally undermine this law and continue with their evil behaviors (Amnesty International, 2007).

The international law states clearly that everyone has a right not to be assaulted whether, in jail or prison, the law spells this out very clearly, but that remains to be a tale.

Inadequate legislation policies in many countries make it difficult to enforce this international law because many countries view torture as a normal thing to offenders and there is no provision in their system that term torture as an act of crime.

Registration of Complaints

Once a crime of abuse has been reported, the complaints are registered to start investigations. The issue of filing these complaints becomes even more difficult, and in some countries such as Asia, it is very dangerous and depends on who knows who, this is a major challenge on matters of justice.

In some circumstances, the police may ask the complainant whether he/she knows any officer. If the victim of abuse has no one to influence his/her case, the investigation may take decades before truth prevails.

This is the reason why people have continued to suffer from no one available to solve their problems. The police in most Asian countries may refuse to file complaint especially if the case is against a police officer; they tend to harass the complainants.

They even issue death threats to the complainant followed by pressure to withdraw the case. A case filed by Gerald Perera who was brutally abused by police officers in Sri Lankan, made him suffer emotionally by the pressure he exerted to withdraw the case and also death threats.

Finally, he was shot dead before he testified in court (Owens & Jeffrey, 2002).


Failure by the police in filing the complaints has made investigations to stand still; this is due to a low number of complaints that have been registered. However, those complaints that have been registered have been there pending investigations (Chevigny, 1998).

This lack of proper policies in the police force on matters of justice has led to a continued high level of impunity in many countries.

Bad Policies in Police Departments

Police recruiting procedures are flawed due to lack of proper checking and psychological test of the recruits. Most of those who are hired are embedded by position hunger rather than performance desire.

These types of people should be rejected in the force, and proper evaluation of candidates should be done. The training of police officers should be done properly so that matters regarding their behaviors and justice are well evaluated.

Most police officers are not trained well and this in return leads to poor understanding of policies governing them and misinterpretation.

Police officers involved in misconduct are not mostly followed, and this makes it difficult to fire them because even their colleagues usually cover them up (Chevigny, 1998).

Bad ruling governing the System (Criminal Justice)

Most cases linking police officers’ abuse to citizen ends up unsettled; this is due to the issue of special rights. Police officers tend to have a right to appeal directly if faced by any accusation.

This is a bad act to a common citizen who falls victim of abuse for the reason that their case remains unsolved for a long time. As mandated by the law governing crimes, a person who is convicted of a crime should be jailed regardless of his/her social status.

When a case is brought before the judge; the judge does not refer to your previous history whether you were good or not. This makes our jails and prisons to be overcrowded.

The issue of the jury being selected based on eligibility is another problem. Those who are not registered as voters are not allowed to sit in the panel of juries. This makes the same faces to re-appear on a jury every time.

In most cases, poor people tend to be the one who suffers most, and they are even accused of a crime they never committed. Due to this reason, innocent people turn out to be guilty of a crime due to lack of fund to hire a qualified attorney.

This system should be reviewed to avoid abuse and maintain equal rights to all citizens (Amnesty International, 2007).

The belief that police cannot do wrong is no good. In most countries, the high percentage of reported cases of abuse mostly involves police officers, but due to the poor system of our court system, these cases remain unsolved for decades (Johnson 2004).

The poor people who fall, victims of abuse, are seen as potential criminals.

Politicians and government have been seen as the one who gives the police unit a hard job of fighting drugs. The term war against drug has made the police to think that it is a real war to the enemy, making police to abuse people in the name of war.

The better way to deal with drug issues is by establishing programs to treat these people and more so training; to create awareness of the effect of the drug on the community. The street people normally abuse drug due to poverty and a sense of being hopeless (Stetser, 2001).

They engage in this business normally no make a living out of their daily collection, but our law enforcers turn out to assault them claiming they are fighting drug abuse.

While police officers must protect their citizens, they tend to do the opposite.

When four police officers were convicted for assault and planting of drugs on their farm in Oakland California in 1991, one of the US attorneys who was dealing with the case termed the officers’ tactics unlawful because of implicating the resident on the crime.

Later the police abused the residents after they were granted by federal courts power to flush out all drug peddlers (Owens & Jeffrey, 2002).

Another officer of New Orleans was accused of shooting and killing a 17-year-old boy; he responded by making a call to a drug dealer and directed him to eliminate the complainant.

The victim was shot dead, and the drug dealer informed the officer that he had succeeded (Johnson, 2004). This is an evil affair where police continue to commit crimes and walk freely with no critical action taken against them.


Police act of brutality is a violation of human rights and also breaching of contract that they have been assigned.

The government and politician contribute so much on this issue of impunity. They don’t take actions to the officers accused of brutality and to make the matter worse; they tend to cover up these officers.

The police officers are entitled to protect the community but not to harass and abuse them.

The only thing that might curb these abuses is to have officers who are not armed though impossible; however, the best method that can reduce police brutality is to strike some powers vested on to them to curb this tremor of brutality.

Police officers have a duty to pursue to maintain their dignity. Otherwise, people will always observe them as criminals and enemies and more so lack trust in the entire system.

Reference List

Amnesty International Report, (2007). Amnesty International. Archived from the original on 2007-08-07.

Chevigny, P. (1998). Edge of the Knife: Police Violence in the Americas. New York: The New Press.

Johnson, S. (2004). Ed. Street Justice: A History of Police Violence in New York City. New York: Beacon Press.

Owens, K., & Jeffrey, P. (2002). Police Leadership and Ethics: Training and Police Recommendations. The Canadian Journal of Police and Security Services, 1 (2): 7.

Stetser, M. (2001). The Use of Force in Police Control of Violence: Incidents Resulting in Assaults on Officers. New York: LFB Scholarly Publishing L.L.C.

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