Police Violence

African-Americans are more than three times as likely to be killed by police officers than white Americans. Police shootings are prominent in today’s society with incidents such as the Charlotte police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott and others similar to it constantly making headlines. Today’s youth can learn from the mistakes in cases like this and work to make the situation better in the future.

Police have killed over 200 African-Americans in the United States in 2016, and 346 African Americans in 2015. In these cases, 97% of the officers were not charged with a crime.  Regardless, people know that some percentage of those killed were unarmed and some innocent. The killing of innocent and unarmed people by police, regardless of race, is a problem that must be addressed.

The shooting of Keith Lamont Scott brings the issue of police violence home to North Carolina and raises many questions, one being who was right in that situation: the police or Scott? Scott was said to have had a marijuana joint and a gun. He was also felon who was accused by his wife of beating her and her son.  Scott’s family also recently released information about a traumatic brain injury Scott received in a motorcycle accident. Were the police right to shoot him, or should they have tried to handle the situation differently? No one will know the answers until the case goes through the courts, but that does not stop people from trying to understand the overall phenomenon of these shootings.

One thing to consider in police shootings is whether the role of race plays a part. Sometimes you will have an officer who was racially motivated to act the way they did in a shooting. Sometimes officers end up in bad situations and are forced to make a split second decision that could impact their life and the lives of the potential victim. It isn’t entirely sure whether racism plays a role in police shootings or not, but this issue is too complex to narrow down to just one cause, making finding a solution equally complex.

Statistics aside, not all police officers are bad, even if to some people it may seem that way. Many go above and beyond to make their community better. People tend to focus on the negative over the positive, which gives police a bad reputation in some people’s eyes. Other citizens have had a bad experience with the police in the past, giving them a bias against all police officers, not just those that are bad.

Students may feel like they can do nothing to change it, and they might not be able to at this point in time. Today’s youth will soon take the places of the mayors, the police officers and  other contributing members of the community. These problems of today will soon become our problems. Use this as an opportunity to learn, by using this, informing others by reading news stories. They can inform ourselves by reading news stories from many points of view and forming our own opinions on issues. Armed with  knowledge, students can start a dialogue about the issues facing our country, like police violence and systemic racism.

Athens Drive students have a unique opportunity to learn about people of a different race or culture because we are so diverse. Athens Drive students can speak up about why diversity is a good thing. Students can write about diversity, or use social media to speak about it. Athens Drive students can set an example of how you can try to understand people different than ourselves. Understanding people who are different can help with racism in a big way. If we get to know people that have a different culture, we might  begin to see that they are not so different from us after all. Learning how to accept different people and cultures in high school or earlier can impact race related issues in the future, because if we have a generation of people that understand and accept things that are different, everyone can reduce the amount of violence against groups of people and race related violence in general. The shooting of Keith Lamont Scott can be something that future police officers can learn from. No one knows whether Scott did something to provoke the police except for them. Scott was a felon, abusive and had a traumatic brain injury, but it is still a question of whether the police were right to shoot him.

Source: https://athensoracle.com/3084/opinions/police-violence/