Is it Ethical?
Unit 10 Assignment
Is it Ethical?
“Wisdom is knowing the right path to take. Integrity is taking it.” M.H. McKee (“Inspirational Police Quotes,” 2018). It takes a special kind of individual who is able to be a public servant. Situations are often grey and require an individual who is with the upmost honor.
The first incident occurred in New York City regarding racial profiling, stop and frisk. Known as a “250” within the New York Police Department, the right to stop, question and pat down any individual who appears to be reasonably suspicious. This is a Supreme Court approved method available for use to law enforcement across our nation. The goal is to try and attempt to stop the crime before it is ever committed (News, 2013). It is claimed by many that the New York City Police Department is racially profiling their stop and frisks. Individuals who have been stopped by law enforcement claim that they are only being stopped based on the color of their skin and not probable cause (“NYPD’s Stop-and-Frisk: Racial Profiling or ‘Proactive Policing’?” 2013).
After review, I feel like most officers in the New York City PD are behaving ethically. There is proof in the statistics. In 2013, in New York City, misdemeanor Assault suspects are most frequently Black (53.9%) or Hispanic (31.7%). The juvenile arrest population is most frequently Black (62.2%) and Hispanic (31.6%). Drug Allegations most frequently identify Black (44.2%) and Hispanic (36.3%) suspects. The Firearm Arrest population is most frequently Black (69.3%) or Hispanic (21.6%) (“Reports & Analysis – Crime & Enforcement – NYPD,” n.d.). Therefore, it is not profiling if the majority of crimes committed are by those of African American or Hispanic race.
Law enforcement follows the ethical theory of Deontology. These officers are bound by their duty to the citizens in which they serve. By stopping and frisking, they are being proactive in ensuring they are able to catch crime before it happens. Though it may be uncomfortable for those being stopped, it is for the greater good of the community as a whole.
The next incident took place in Washington state. Police officer were caught on camera speeding past state troopers with no call for emergency. Private citizens committing the same acts would be stopped, confronted, and ticketed. This behavior is unethical. If there is no emergency or direct need for such speed, then these officers need to abide by the same rules of the roads as every other individual. The speed limit is something that was set in place in order to keep ALL drivers safe on the road. Understandably, law enforcement personnel may need drive swifter than the speed limit in order to respond to people in need and so on (“Washington Police Caught Speeding Past State Troopers,” 2014).
These officers are falling down the slippery slope. First, they will slightly break the rules by speeding when there is no warrant for increase haste. Then this corrupt behavior will grow from here. What began as something that may be construed as “harmless” could grow deeper. There is no telling how far down the rabbit hole an officer can go once descending down the slippery slope of corruption (“Slippery Slope,” n.d.).
The final incident occurred in Austin, Texas. The officer pulled over a vehicle that was speeding fifteen miles over the speed limit. The traffic stop escalated quickly. The officer can be heard telling the suspect to return to her vehicle. She complies. But, when is asked to put her feet in the vehicle, she doe not comply with the direct order. The situation escalated from there. The woman is forcibly removed from the vehicle and the officer attempts to cuff her, twice. She resists both times. Though I feel like there may have been a little more than needed use of force here, I feel like the officer was behaving in an ethical manner. The officer approached the suspect’s vehicle because she had broken the law. He had probable cause to stop her. In addition, had had ordered her to please return to her vehicle and allow him to shut the door. When he removed the suspect from the vehicle, she then resisted arrest (“Video shows white cop in violent confrontation with black motorist,” 2016).
The officer followed the theory of Ethical Formalism. The act of pulling the speeding driver over because she was causing potential harm to other motorists calls for the act to be ethical. In addition, detaining the suspect when she refused to obey an order, too was ethical. Ethical Formalism focuses on the act itself being moral rather than the actual outcome. Therefore, based on the intent, the officer was morally correct in his behavior (“2.3 Deontology – Ethics in Law Enforcement,” 2015).
In conclusion, an officer’s job is rarely ever black or white. There is very much grey area. We, as a society, are reliant on the training and judgement of those who protect and serve. As any position, there is always going to be a “few bad apples.” However, the greater good will always prevail.
2.3 Deontology – Ethics in Law Enforcement. (2015, April 17). Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/ethicsinlawenforcement/chapter/2-3-deontology/
Inspirational Police Quotes. (2018, August 24). Retrieved from https://www.calibrepress.com/2018/08/inspirational-police-quotes/
News, A. (2013, May 1). NYPD’s Controversial Stop-and-Frisk Policy: Racial Profiling or ‘Proactive Policing’? Retrieved from https://abcnews.go.com/US/nypds-controversial-stop-frisk-policy-racial-profiling-proactive/story?id=19084229
NYPD’s Stop-and-Frisk: Racial Profiling or ‘Proactive Policing’? (2013, May 1). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jqXeW5C324
Reports & Analysis – Crime & Enforcement – NYPD. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www1.nyc.gov/site/nypd/stats/reports-analysis/crime-enf.page
Slippery Slope. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/162/Slippery-Slope
Video shows white cop in violent confrontation with black motorist. (2016, July 22). Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/video-shows-white-cop-in-violent-confrontation-with-black-motorist/
Washington Police Caught Speeding Past State Troopers. (2014, October 10). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmVVZRtrY5g