Ferguson, Garner, and the problems with too powerful of a police force

Brett Pizzi, Opinion Editor

Sometimes we as a society lash out. We’re filled with frustration and anger and aren’t exactly sure how to get rid of that feeling. This has been shown after the cases regarding Michael Brown in Ferguson, and Eric Garner in New York City. A city full of people who feel they’ve been put down due to a racist society is one ready to lash out at the world that has wronged them.

It’s difficult to show both sides of a story, and even more difficult when one side of the story can’t vouch for themselves. In the case of Brown, the courts decided the case didn’t need to be further reviewed, that it was a clear act of self-defense and that Brown was in the wrong. Yet with six gunshot wounds, the issue isn’t who was wrong, it’s the excessive use of force and the fact of if that was really needed or not. This, paired with the courts decision to not pursue the case, led to a community in revolt, with a sense of prejudice high in the community, and a feeling of being helpless. If the government and the police force won’t help its citizens, then who will?

Even worse, a new situation has occurred. Eric Garner was caught on film being put into a chokehold by a NYC police officer. As he shouted, “I can’t breathe,” the officers were more concerned with detaining Garner rather than his current lung capacity. Assuming the man can breathe if he can shout led to Garner’s death, and, yet again, another community in tears. The officers involved were let free, even though the situation was caught on film; this left the majority of the nation frustrated and upset at the state of our country. A police force with excessive power leaves a nation of distrusted citizens.

So where do we, as a society, go from here? With the manner that racial issues are being portrayed in the court system, many citizens are simply feeling unsafe. The best thing to take away from these two occurrences is that officers need to be wearing body cameras at all times. It will help clear up whoever is wrong in the situation and prevent a misuse of force in the future. For now, communities remain both scared and upset and are expressing their emotions any way they can.