Police brutality?

Mikayla Lee, Staff Reporter

Police brutality is a real problem that many face today. We’ve seen all the viral videos and heard all the heartbreaking stories, but have you ever stopped and thought about the officers’ point of view? Officer Chuck Baker is with the Tracy Police Department and a previous a school resource officer (SRO) here at West High.

We all have seen that video about the girl getting pulled out of her desk and how brutal it is, but when asked how he felt about the videos, Officer Baker said, “What the media shows you isn’t the beginning of the problem. We don’t see the hours leading up to that point of using force with that student. The media is interested in a good story, not the truth.”

Being a police officer is a stressful job in general, being put at risk on a daily basis and in constant dangerous situations, but now with all the controversy in the media about officers being biased, they have a new fear in mind: does their city trust them? Because of all the media and people not being able to trust them, some police departments have to wear body cameras. In one year, the complaint on officers using unnecessary force dropped 88%, and officers using unnecessary force dropped 60% because these cameras make everyone behave.

Officer Baker says the reason there are police officers is because they do the things that most people can’t do or are too scared to do. When asked how she truly felt about police officers, Junior Nina Ross said, “Most police officers do the job correctly. Some use their power for evil, some are biased; I have a love-hate relationship with them.”

We all know people always say, “Why can they [police] break the law but we can’t?” The answer to that question is that the Supreme Court made a law so the police CAN break the law. “Graham v. Connor 490 U.S. 386 was a United States Supreme Court case where the Court determined that an objective reasonableness standard should apply to a civilian’s claim that law enforcement officials used excessive force in the course of making an arrest, investigatory stop or other (seizure) of his person.”

When asked why young African-American males are being portrayed as the main target, Officer Baker said,  “Young men don’t wanna be punked, but officers have to be blind to religion, race, age.” He also said, “I do my job as an officer, not as myself. People want to see us do our job, but they don’t want to see how it’s done.”

We all know there are bad cops out there, but did you know that police officers are required by law to tell their fellow police officers to stop if they are abusing their power? Regarding current events on police brutality, it seems like more questions are arising than answers. We as a nation need to figure out what to do to better our relationship between the citizens and police officers.