Justice Department to Track Use of Force by Police

Justice Department to Track Use of Force by Police Across U.S. – as published by The New York Times on Oct. 13, 2016

The U.S. Justice Department announced that it will be developing an initiative to track the use of force by police due to the lack of government data and the series of protests that have ensued since 2014. The department will begin collecting nationwide data early next year. The article explains that law enforcement and government officials have yet to have an educated conversation about the issue of the use of force by police because of a lack of data. In the past two years, the news media has done a better job of tracking police shootings than the government. The Justice Department is authorizing $750,000 towards this initiative that is “designed to help local departments collect and publicly release information on a wider range of actions, including stops of citizens, searches, the use of force, shootings and other encounters.” Since the initiative depends on local departments voluntarily giving up this kind of information, the main concern is how the department will impose penalties on states that do not cooperate.

This is an important article because it puts the past years of protests against police brutality into perspective. Citizen unrest as boiled over in this nation due to the violent and visible injustices that have occurred involving police officers. Data is important to this conversation because it acknowledges a problem and gives way for further action and change to occur. However, it is troubling how long the federal government took to implement this.

This story consists of conflict and human interest. It was well-written and contained some good direct and partial quotes. police-brutality

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The ‘Ferguson effect’?

‘Ferguson effect’? Savagely beaten cop didn’t draw gun for fear of media uproar, says Chicago police chief – As published on The Washington Post on Oct. 7, 2016.

An officer (not yet identified) in Chicago was brutally beaten after responding to a car crash Wednesday. The man involved in the car accident was high on PCP and hit the officer in the face and smashed her head against the pavement until she passed out. The officer was hospitalized and said that she feared for her life, but she was afraid to shoot him for fear of media backlash. The article describes this as the Ferguson Effect. Since the Mike Brown shooting, there has been a media focus on policing and race that has made some officers doubt themselves in the field.

This is an important story because it sheds light on the climate of this nation right now as it relates to policing and race. Police brutality has been a hot topic in recent years especially due to social media and an increase of recorded police shootings. Because these things do not happen in a vacuum, it affects police and people of color all over the nation. Police fear taking the wrong actions in the field and people of color fear they will be the victim of yet another police killing for being black or brown. This is a perspective that not many spend the time to think about. Police officer obviously have a job and while there are a few bad seeds, many of them are just trying to enforce the law. It certainly does not help when media exploits these situations even if they are done by the book. But this is the time that we live in.

This article was well-written and was easy to read. This is a human interest story that contains conflict. ferguson-effect