Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Department of Justice Begins Review of San Francisco Police
On December 2, 2015, 26 year-old Mario Woods was shot to death by five officers of the San Francisco Police Department. The police said Woods, a suspect in a stabbing incident, possessed a knife which he would not put down. This supposedly prompted the officers to fire at Woods. Bystanders captured the shooting on video. According to them, as well as the video, Woods was not holding a knife and had his back against the wall.
Since Woods was black and the officers caucasian, many civil rights groups have become involved in protests against the police department. Woods' family has since filed a civil rights lawsuit for wrongful death. Many local residents and civil rights groups, have called for the federal government to look further into the case, particularly the video footage. In response, the U.S. Department of Justice has launched a review of San Francisco's police.
This event is particularly relevant considering how close the shooting was to us. We hear stories of police brutality and discrimination in other states, often across the country. For some, the concept of a corrupt or racially biased police force may seem far-fetched considering the diverse area in which we live. Think about our interactions with police officers up until now. For many of us, the only police officers we've dealt with have been those who work at our schools, be it middle school or here at Aragon. Some of us may have visited a police station for a volunteer exercise or for Boy Scouts—something along those lines. For these cases, the officer was most likely friendly and seemingly harmless. This definitely plays a role in shaping our views of police. This is not to say that we are not influenced at all by the news we hear of police brutality, nor does I mean that we are completely unaffected by events that occur more than a block away from our homes. I just think it is an interesting point to consider.
What about you? What are your thoughts on the matter?
We just learned about the recent growth of the media, particularly electronic media and the use of the Internet as a means of informing the public. What effect does this growth have on coverage of police-related stories? Do you think police brutality has truly increased, or has this issue become more apparent due to the current nature of the media?