Law Enforcement: Excessive Force and Misconduct

Law Enforcement: Excessive Force and Misconduct

CRJ 499

It’s been five years since the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed African American male who was killed by the New York police department due to an unwarranted choke hold. His last words were “I can’t breathe,” as he pleaded these same words 11 times before he became unresponsive. Police officer’s approached Garner due to the accusation of circumventing the state tax law by selling cheap goods such as cigarettes on Bay Street in Staten Island. Garner was approached on July 17, 2014, by police officers who were familiar with him and his illegal sales, in fact, one of the officers had just cited Eric with a warning a couple of week’s before the struggle that left Eric dead, only that time the officer left with giving just a warning. On the day of Eric’s death officers used excessive force to detain him and a friend of Garner’s captured the incident on video. Eric’s death is just one of many that sparked national outrage. The problem still exists, and it does not seem to be going away anytime soon even with video footage officer’s continue to be pardoned for their behaviors more so than an average citizen (

In 2017, there were 1,147 people killed in the United States by police officers. 25% of those killed were African American despite being a mere 13% of the total population. In 2018, there were only 23 days in the entire year that police officers didn’t kill someone. That alone is a problem and we as a people need to come up with a better strategy to prevent these unfortunate circumstances from happening (

According to statistics, Black people are more likely to be killed by Law Enforcement than their white counterparts. They are three times more likely to be killed by police than white people. Even more shocking, 30% of black victims in 2015 were unarmed compared to 21% of white victims. Statistics also point out an interesting perspective saying “where you live matters.” In an example, an African American is seven times more likely to be killed by the police in Oklahoma than in Georgia. Buffalo, NY has a population of 258, 959 residents with 50% Non-White residents, and a 12 per 100k violent crime rate and there were zero people killed by police in the years between 2013 and 2016. Orlando, Florida has a population of 255,483 residents, 42% Non-white, and a 9 per 100k violent crime rate and there were 15 people killed by police between 2013 and 2016 (

Statistics also show that the reason for excessive force isn’t always related to the crime committed. Some might lean more towards an understanding of excessive force by the police if the accused were someone who was caught doing something heinous such as the molestation of a child, abuse of the elderly, murder, etc. According to statistics, there were less than 1 in 3 African American’s killed by Law Enforcement in 2014 that were suspected of committing a violent crime (

The statistics prove that there is a growing problem in America that needs to be addressed. Police misconduct and excessive force have taken the lives of too many people for unwarranted reasons. Citizens should not fear the police as the police are supposed to protect and serve the citizens of our country. If you can’t rely on the police for protection, who can you rely on? Many people feel that there is a war going on between the police and the citizens of America. This mentality doesn’t help either the police department or the public; it only makes things worse for all (


Baker, A., Goodman, J. D., & Mueller, B. (2015, June 13). Beyond the Chokehold: The Path to Eric Garner’s Death. Retrieved from

Mapping Police Violence. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Chart References:

Mapping Police Violence. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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