Essay by: Anjannette Brumfield

Essay Subject: My good friend and professional cyclist David H. Sylvester has announced a new Hugs & High Fives Tour. This summer Dave will travel, on his bicycle, from San Bernardino, California to Philadelphia, PA. He will be stopping at many cities along the way.

The purpose of Dave’s tour is to motivate people to see the good in our society and to look for the possibilities in their own lives. Dave believes this is possible through the exchange of stories, talking about society, and Hugs & High Fives. One of David’s frequent topics is police brutality in our society and how everyone in our society must come together for peace to balance our civil rights.
If you can make it to one of Dave’s city, that would be great—he has plenty of hugs and high fives. Either way, please write an essay on the effect of police brutality on our society and suggestions for reducing social unrest in our society related to police actions.

Police brutality is not something that is new in our society. It has been prevalent in certain areas for quite some time now, particularly in urban areas. The reason it has become more recognized is due to this new millennial generation and the use of social media. Our society has always known of such violence by the police but video evidence is something we haven’t seen much of until now. There have been too many videos of police brutality and police killings uploaded onto social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. Videos of police brutality and police killings show evidence of police using force that isn’t necessary on unarmed individuals and they almost never lead to a conviction. Instead of convicting police officers that are killing unarmed humans they are put on administrative leave and we the people are always told that the crime was justified.

It is difficult to say what the solution to all of this could be. We as a society need to restructure a system that has been in place for many years. A justice system that stands by and allows police to kill innocent human beings is a justice system that is more destructive than beneficial to a society. A justice system that hurts a society is a reflection of how horrible the justice system actually feels about the people of America. This is where we should begin, but the question becomes how? Are we able to determine who polices our communities? How do we protect our children and loved ones from being brutally attacked or killed by the people who are supposed to be protecting us? How do we trust a system designed to look at video evidence and turn a blind eye? How do we trust a system designed to tell society what they see with their own eyes in a clear video that shows a police officer killing a person is not admissible in court as evidence?

To reduce social unrest related to police actions is going to take time, patience, understanding and acknowledgment of fault. Too much violence is occurring and not enough political action is being taken. When I say political action I do not mean treating communities like war zones and sending in the military.
We have voted for politicians and judiciary officials in our communities that we believe have our best interest at heart and later find out that this is not the case. Maybe the solution is for the police to not treat our communities like target zones and instead come into the community to become familiar with it, so that they can protect and serve and not kill and harm. Maybe the solution is for the police department and anyone in the judicial system to have a psychological exam that can determine whether or not they have racial hatred or if they have ever been affiliated with any hate groups. There’s obviously not just one solution to this problem but with more love, empathy, understanding we can solve this together.


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