Pressure is mounting for state and federal administrations to curb the level of violence by peace officers, even as violent crimes in the U.S. show a steady decline from their peak in the early 1990′s (see FBI stats on this).
Most recently, the NYPD has fallen under intense scrutiny after an officer shot and killed 18-year old Ramarley Graham on the false suspicion that he was armed inside his mother’s apartment. The Bronx resident was flushing a bag of weed down the toilet when the 9mm bullet entered his chest and ripped through his aorta.
These instances of gross unprofessionalism are causing many New Yorkers to distrust and question the NYPD. Since september 11, 2001, the NYPD has partnered with the Secret Service, FBI, and most famously the CIA (supposedly unallowed to operate on U.S. soil).
This police brutality has steadily increased since 9/11, according to a 2007 article in USAToday:
David Burnham, the co-founder of the TRAC database, says prosecutions appear to be increasing, but “more important” are the numbers of cases prosecutors decline.
Last year , 96% of cases referred for prosecution by investigative agencies were declined.
In 2005, 98% were declined, a rate that has remained “extremely high” under every administration dating to President Carter, according to a TRAC report.
The high refusal rates, say Burnham and law enforcement analysts, result in part from the extraordinary difficulty in prosecuting abuse cases. Juries are conditioned to believe cops, and victims’ credibility is often challenged.
CBS News reported in 2011 that:
…there were 52 criminal civil right cases brought against law enforcement officers by the Department of Justice last year. That’s the highest number of cases in a single year since they started keeping track back in 2000.
Citizens have been fighting back with ubiquitous digital video recorders. The advent of video recorders as a standard on phones has created a conundrum for justice officials, who often try to censor and conceal their unlawful conduct. Occupy protestors have demonstrated that police have little tolerance for being monitored in the same way they themselves monitor civilians, and will often resort to pithy and insubstantial reasoning for the arrest and detainment of citizen journalists and protestors alike.
Google has been inundated with requests from law enforcement groups around the U.S. to censor videos of police brutality:
The demands formed part of a 70% rise in takedown requests from the US government or police, and were revealed as part of an effort to highlight online censorship around the world.
Figures revealed for the first time show that the US demanded private information about more than 11,000 Google users between January and June this year, almost equal to the number of requests made by 25 other developed countries, including the UK and Russia. [The Guardian]
The video below shows examples of said unlawful conduct by peace officers. CAUTION: Contains strong graphic violence. We don’t particularly enjoy the choice of dramatic music, either.