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Kash.0: Police brutality continues to be a major issue within US

On Jan. 23, 2014, then 19-year-old Justin Bieber was arrested in Miami Beach, Florida for drag-racing in a local neighborhood. The arresting officer stated that Bieber (under the influence of marijuana, alcohol, and Xanax) had been acting belligerent. Soon after, he was taken into custody due to continuously taking his hands off of his vehicle and refusing to comply with basic police commands. The next day, he was released on $2,500 bond and took a plea deal in August that included 12 hours of anger management classes and make a donation to the “Our Kids” organization.  That’s it – end of story.

Five months later Eric Garner, a 43-year-old black man, was approached by New York Police Department police officers who believed that he was allegedly selling loose cigarettes. During the short encounter, Garner raised both hands in the air and told the officers not to touch him. Seconds later, officer Daniel Pantaleo put his arms around Garner’s neck and took him down on the pavement. Four other officers slammed his head against the sidewalk, while Garner yelled “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.” Eric lost consciousness and became unresponsive. One hour later, Garner was pronounced dead at Richmond University Medical Center. 

At the time, police stated that the cause of his death had been a “heart attack.” However, on August 1st, the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office found his death to be a result of “excessive compression of neck, compression of chest and prone position during physical restraint by police.”

Since the widespread outrage of over the video of the controversial Rodney King beating, police brutality has been a major issue in the United States within the last 50 years. African-Americans and other minority groups have often been the victims of excessive force from police officers. Unfortunately, instances of physical force from law enforcement have resulted in numerous fatalities, as the recent high-profile deaths of Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland and dozens more have proven so. 

Recently, 22-year-old Stephon Clark was killed by two Sacramento police officers on March 18th in the backyard of his grandparents’ house. The officers were responding to a call of a person breaking car windows in the neighborhood, and had been told that he was hiding in a backyard. Police then approached Clark and thinking that he was holding some type of firearm, fatally shot him (each officer fired about 10 times). Clark was unarmed – only having a cellphone on him. Twenty rounds fired into somebody who was allegedly accused of breaking car windows. 

Police brutality is not easy to discuss, but it is a conversation that must happen within our society. Although police officers have one of the most difficult jobs in our society, they must be held accountable to wrongfully carrying out their duties. Daniel Shaver, Raymond Tensing and Darren Wilson are just a few examples of officers that have been acquitted for killing unarmed citizens. Everybody; whether you’re one of the world’s biggest pop-stars or an everyday citizen, deserves to be seen equally under the eyes of the law. 

Akash Bakshi is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What do you think? Let Akash know by tweeting him @akashmbakshi.

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