By Graham DeShazer | Copy Editor
Many people have seen the video that shows the recent controversial and violent arrest of 20-year-old Martese Johnson, a black student at the University of Virginia. While this was just one event, it indicates a trend that includes excessive police force against African-Americans.
After attempting to enter a bar and having “polite and cordial” conversation with a bar patron, Johnson was confronted by three Alcoholic Beverage Control officials.
Moments later, he was forcefully arrested, and the officers then beat him and bloodied his face, as shown in the viral video of the incident.
Johnson was arrested for public intoxication, but a breathalyzer test showed that he was not intoxicated, and many witnesses have said that he was completely calm.
Why then, was there a need for such excessive force?
Unfortunately, we live in a society that still does not see minorities as equals. Police officers are often quick to use excessive force on African-Americans. This can be seen by the fact that they are nearly four times more likely to die in custody or while being arrested than whites.
This highlights a disturbing trend that shows the deep racial bias a majority of people still have in this country. While huge advancements have been made, there is still progress to be made.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean that all police officers are racist, but it does show that an officer is much more likely to jump the gun and use excessive force on an African-American than a white person. The way to correct this can only be to ingrain it deep into the minds of police officers, possibly through sensitivity training.
A recent study concluded that only 38 percent of African-Americans have a great deal of confidence in the police, and only 36 percent believe local police treat all races fairly. This is utterly destructive to our society, and something needs to be done. These statistics show that African-Americans have a legitimate reason to be afraid of police.
If you were four times more likely to be beaten or killed in an arrest, wouldn’t you try to run too?
The brutal arrest of Martese Johnson is just another example of a big conversation Americans need to have about race relations in this country and how they impact police forces.