Samples Persuasive Persuasive Speech: Police Brutality

Persuasive Speech: Police Brutality

1274 words 5 page(s)

Police brutality has become a prominent topic in the news, with associated accusations of racism, now that most people own cellphones with video capabilities and more cops are required to record with dash and body cams. Over and over again, we have seen minorities and the mentally ill brutalized by cops. Then, despite what we can see with our own eyes on video, cops lie about what happened. Nevertheless, more often than not, at least with cases we hear about, the police officers involved face no criminal charges. If there is a civil lawsuit, these are usually settled out of court. But money does not bring loved ones back from the dead, nor does it stop cops from continuing to work in the field and perhaps brutalize again.

We need vigorous prosecution of brutal cops. Despite a popular statement that prosecutors can indict a ham sandwich, when it comes to presenting evidence against cops to grand juries, those juries almost always find no reason to indict. It is suspected that these prosecutors are reluctant to prosecute cops vigorously because they must work with these same police departments day after day, and cops stick together. If you prosecute one or more successfully, you suddenly may find that cops will no longer work with you. Or you could even find your safety threatened.

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The solution, then, is to appoint a special prosecutor in possible cases of police brutality, so that they can investigate and present evidence to grand juries where appropriate, and they don’t have to live with the cops and their buddies. In this way, those cops who have impulse control problems, are racist, and/or have bad tempers can be taken off of the streets once and for all, to improve the safety of both the public and other police officers.

One example of police doing the wrong thing and facing no charges is the case of Eric Garner. I would like to show a portion of the video that was taped at the time of his death, but if this is too disturbing please say so. As can seen in the video, he does not threaten the cops, but as they accuse him of selling loose cigarettes, he is arguing that he didn’t do anything, he was minding his own business. When he says, “Please, just leave me alone,” the cops surround him, and when he says, “Don’t touch me,” Officer Pantaleo puts him in a chokehold and takes him to the ground. Then despite Mr. Garner repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe,” they do not let go nor let him up; and he died from, as was determined later by autopsy, chest and neck compression.

Despite the video, the officer who clearly has his arm around his neck claimed that he did not use a chokehold but rather a “takedown maneuver” and that he never applied “any pressure to his neck area” (Cohen, 2014). Despite the video, a New York grand jury did not indict that officer nor any other. And yet the medical examiner determined that Eric Garner’s cause of death was a homicide, and there were neck injuries consistent with a chokehold.

Even after a settlement by the city of New York with the Garner family for $5.9 million (Goodman, 2015), and while waiting to see if charges will be filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, Officer Pantaleo remains employed by the police department. Although on desk duty, he sees no reason he should not get his job back, where he can return to the streets to “help the citizens” (Parascandola, Paddock, and Schapiro, 2015).

A second example of police brutality illustrates the reasons prosecutors may hesitate to prosecute vigorously. James Boyd was a homeless, mentally ill man in the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, who was approached by the police for camping illegally (Gorman, 2015). This video is less clear so less emotionally disturbing. It was part of a Young Turks broadcast. I do not want to focus on their commentary, but it was one of the clearest YouTube offerings of the video in the moments that Mr. Boyd was killed. You can hear the officers say, “We’re worried about your safety.” Mr. Boyd is obviously at a distance from the officers and no apparent threat, yet they flash a light at him, sic the police K9 officer on him, and then shoot him. Even after he is prone and limp on the ground, they sic the K9 on him again. He later died at the hospital. While the video appears to show him obeying the cops’ orders prior to being shot, according to the police he threatened them with knives (Gorman, 2015). This incident occurred despite the Albuquerque police department having a consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department because of previous overuse of force, and supposedly they had reformed. This time, charges were filed against two officers who shot Mr. Boyd (Balko, 2015). As usual, a civil suit was settled by the city, in this case for $5 million (Miller and Todesco, 2015).

The prosecuting DA, Kari Brandenburg, has had trouble since filing charges against the cops. She charged the officers on Monday, the week of January 15 (Balko, 2015). Tuesday evening, one of her top prosecutors was shut out of an investigation of another police shooting, for the first time in decades and in violation of a 2004 written agreement. In early April, a judge ruled that DA Brandenburg was disqualified from the James Boyd case because of the appearance of a conflict of interest (Konte, 2015), so she appointed a special prosecutor as per the judge’s instructions. By late April, she feared for her safety, having been warned by other Albuquerque police officers that there might be some retaliation despite her now being off the case (Boetel, 2015).

Clearly, we need special prosecutors appointed in every case of police brutality, so that these cases can be evaluated by an objective third party who does not have to work with the involved police department. Please sign the petition to make this happen in Missouri. And please consider using this petition as a template to petition your state to appoint special prosecutors in cases of police brutality. Thank you.

Outline
Awareness of police brutality has increased with the use of cellphone and police cam videos.
Even knowing there is video, police lie about what happened.
Cities pay a lot of money to settle civil lawsuits over police brutality.
Even so, charges are not filed and/or convictions are not obtained.
Prosecutors can convince grand juries to indict just about everyone other than cops.
This may be because they have to work with their buddies to do their jobs.
So we need to appoint special prosecutors in cases of possible police brutality.
Case in point: Eric Garner:
Police keeping the world safe from loose cigarettes?
Chokehold/not a chokehold. Medical examiner found neck compression.
No grand jury indictment.
$5.6 million settlement with family.
Cop currently on desk duty, wants street beat back, “help citizens”.
Case in point: James Boyd:
Police keeping Mr. Boyd safe from illegal camping?
Surrendering or threatening with knives? Shot and on ground, so why the dog attack?
Police charged with manslaughter/murder.
$5 million settlement with family.
Cops threaten prosecutor, prosecutor taken off the case.
Please sign the petition at MoveOn.org and create similar petitions for other states:
Require a Special Prosecutor to Investigate Incidents of Fatal Police Misconduct.

    References
  • Balko, Radley. “Albuquerque Prosecutor Indicts Cops, Immediately Faces Repercussions.” The
    Washington Post, 15 January 2015. Web. 8 November 2015. .
  • Boetel, Ryan. “DA Fears for her Safety After Charging APD Officers.” Albuquerque Journal, 30 April
    2015. Web. 8 November 2015. .
  • Cohen, Shawn. “Eric Garner Cop: It Was Not a Chokehold.” New York Post, 10 December 2014. Web.
    8 November 2015. .