In New Jersey and other areas, police brutality continues to be a problem. Data show that many police officers have racial biases that put people of color at significant risk.
What the data show about police brutality and racism
Black people are at a particularly high risk of experiencing police brutality. Racial profiling has long been a problem for people of color. Excessive force continues to be a huge problem, with the death of George Floyd in 2020 bringing it to the forefront. Floyd, a Black man who was unarmed, died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for over nine minutes in spite of telling the officer that he couldn’t breathe.
Many other unnecessary deaths occurred before and after Floyd, showing that there is a link between police brutality and racism. People of color, even when they are only peacefully protesting such incidents, are more likely to be tear-gassed and pepper sprayed at close range.
Data also show that when white police officers are dispatched to predominantly Black neighborhoods, they are five times more likely to fire their guns than Black officers in those neighborhoods. This is a prime example of excessive force and how people of color commonly experience a violation of their civil rights.
Possible reforms to combat the problem
Collecting data could help to hold police officers accountable when they violate a person’s civil rights through police brutality, excessive force and other ways. Body cams and the footage they capture could also help with proving accountability. They could also stop these incidents from occurring. Data determined that when police officers donned body cams, the likelihood they would use excessive force was reduced by around half.
Kids of color are more likely to commit crimes later in life if they are frequently stopped by police. Fewer police encounters could prevent such problems.