Commenting on the shocking video showing a police officer's attack on African-American kids in McKinney, Texas, blogger and Sputnik Radio contributor Brad Friedman noted that the case exemplifies the massive problems which exist in the nation's police force, adding that he sincerely hopes that America is finally beginning to wake up and take note.
Friedman spoke with South Carolina School of Law professor and former police officer Seth Stoughton, who told him that that the 'warrior' mindset of the American police officer, imbued with the positive traits of "mental tenacity and the sheer determination that an officer had to have to survive a life and death struggle" has been corrupted here into a "hyper-vigilant, often-aggressive approach to policing where everyone that the officer deals with is a potential threat."
According to Stoughton, Eric Casebolt, the police officer in the center of the controversy involving the teens, immediately changed the tenure, tone, language and action of police's interaction with the teens for the worse. Stoughton lamented that such negative interactions are disastrous for police interaction with communities, leading to future mistrust and a lack of desire to cooperate, and creating risks to the lives of police officers and ordinary citizens alike.
Friedman noted that the problem of police harassment of minorities seems to be happening anywhere the Justice Department looks, asking why this may be the case. Stoughton explained that the mass scale of police officers' offenses against minorities has exploded into the American consciousness thanks largely to cell phone video and social media sharing, which has resulted in the promotion of "a level of dialogue and transparency which we have not seen before." Stoughton noted that "I think that's a great thing because we cannot improve policing as an institution…until we know what's going on; until there is public and political will to look into it and say these practices are not what we want to see. We need to be better, and demand something better."
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