Arguments Against Police Discretion

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Discretion is defined by “the freedom to decide what should be done in a particular situation” (dictionary.com). Police officers are given this power of discretion in many legal areas. The policy idea stems from the notion that due to past experience, officers might have a greater understanding of the situation and without discretion an officer may be put in harms way. However, this principle is what gives police and judges the power to discriminate against minorities for discretion gives police an almost ultimate power in certain situations. For example, a police officer says, I thought he had a gun and a violent act can be justifiable. He doesn’t need to prove the suspect had a gun rather just assert what he thought and it is very hard to …show more content…
Meaning Caucasians are not less likely to do drugs than a black person yet blacks are portrayed as drug addicts and make up most of the conviction rate. Discretion has to contribute to this because discretion allows cops to decide whether or not to search a car and whether or not to frisk someone. Therefore, cops must be frisking, searching, and testifying against more African Americans than whites. How else would all these convictions against minorities happen if cops were not more hard pressed to find drugs on a person of color. I do not think African Americans do drugs more openly than whites; in fact I assume it is quite the opposite from anecdotal experience. This is because my black friends and speakers I have heard fear cops; it is so engrained into their culture comedians like Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle openly joke about it and it resonates with the Black community. The image of the black criminal appears everywhere in our society from movies, commercials, television, and even news stations. This bias is not just from cops, it is societal. The conviction rate most likely stems from this societal bias whether the cops or judges are aware of their own racism. For if you see an image portrayed over and over in a certain light your mind will make subconscious and conscious connections. These connections will most likely affect how you view certain situations and how act in these scenarios. Therefore, the idea that there needs to be purposeful racist intent is insignificant. A Harvard study has showed that doctors who claimed not be racist gave their black patients on average less pain medication without meaning to. Williams the author of the study asserts “…the research shows that when people hold a negative stereotype about a group and meet someone from that group, they often treat that person differently and honestly don 't even realize it.” Cops most likely stop and frisk a young black

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