To Serve and Protect Who?

The tragedy in Ferguson is a well-known event that has shaken the country. However, police brutality is nothing new. It seems that more and more unarmed citizens, predominantly if not all African American, are being killed or injured, and the cops are not receiving any punishment or penalty. Why is this? Some say racism, after all “…Ferguson police stop more blacks than other groups. Three out Ferguson’s 53 police officers are black while blacks make up the majority of the town.” (Ferguson: An American Story). As Codrington states, there are clearly structural disparities which do not help the situation within Ferguson itself. But, this is not an isolated issue, it has affected the system as a whole, why?
A sort of fictive kinship has been created within the establishment of the police force. Officers feel deep loyalty towards one another, as they should, they need to protect one another. But it seems they put this loyalty over their loyalty to protect the American public. Instead of defending a fellow officer after they have shot an unarmed citizen perhaps members of the police force should emphasize the importance of the safety of the citizens- it seems easier to prevent a mess from happening rather than having to clean it up after.
This is issue should be addressed from the beginning of police training. If the idea of fictive kinship relationships were formed between officers and the citizens first and then between fellow officers, perhaps we would have less cases of police brutality.

References

http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2014/09/18/ferguson-an-american-story/

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