If Not Hate Crimes, Then What?

*Ignore the actual reporter, he is known to give biased and incomplete information for his own agenda. The only thing you should watch is the actual video. Nothing else!*

This video is absolutely disgusting, and the fact that it is seen as a hate crime is also ridiculous.
Now what I am about to discuss is going to come from a European born white boy whose whole family (mostly) has a career in the military and law reinforcement in the United States, Germany and France. I personally have never had trouble with the cops. The most first hand experience I had was when I first came to the United States as a kid and was fooling around jumping over turnstiles in the subway. I got a firm talking to and a smile and got sent right back to my mom. So as you can see, I might not be the best person to talk about this, but my feelings for the subject are strong because I am part of a family that values police and military work.

Anyhow, now that you know my standpoint and have watched the video, (go ahead watch it, I can wait) let us discuss this video. You might be shocked to hear me say that both people in this video disgust me and that, from my view, they are both in the wrong. While I will admit the cop is the first offender, the reaction the woman had was… moronic and antagonizing in a way. We cannot say that this incident was a hate crime. That is the easy way out. We have to see this problem for what it is; unfit officers and antagonizing civilians.  Let us talk about the civilian first.

When you see a cop, from what I have been taught, you generally listen to whatever he says. If he seems nice and willing to talk, you talk, but do not argue too much. His job is to enforce the Law and you will have better luck arguing with lawyers and judges, people without guns. Even though I am from a family of cops, I was taught to treat cops like a ticking time bomb. “Listen and obey, you can argue when you have lawyers and your family there”, is what my dad used to say. I believe this stand true, especially in the video we saw. The woman exited the vehicle without being told to do so and ignored the cop completely and called other cops. I would be pissed off if someone ignored me while I was trying to order food, let alone while I am trying to enforce a violation of the law I thought I saw. She should have just accepted what the cop was saying, even if it led to an arrest. She also should not have fought the cop while he was trying to arrest her. It does not matter if the arrest was lawful or not, she should have taken the arrest and argued her case with other officer at the precinct and the lawyers and judges that would have eventually been there.  Cops are the law (that is what they think) and we as civilians need to obey that “law”. While the law enforced by them may not be just is up to the judge that will oversee the case. We as civilians should not argue with the law enforcement and instead argue with the judges and our lawyers. I do not say this to empower the cops, I am saying to empower people to be smart about how to pick their fights. Better to be arrested than shot by unfit police officers.

Yes, an unfit officer. I am not only going to attack the civilian, but I am going to verbally attack the officer. First of all, based on what has been going on recently the woman has every right to be terrified and the officer should understand this and take steps to make her feel at ease. Black Americans and police have not had the best relationship these past years, especially recently. Immediately screaming at her for a traffic violation was not the right choice. Her fear does not excuse her actions but the officer should have taken it into account and acted differently. The officer should have never raised his voice unnecessarily. Also before he arrested her, he should have issued a verbal warning of arrest. He should have not immediately grabbed her. This entire situation could have been handled by the officer in a much more professional manner. Counter to that, the woman could have handled his aggression in a much more proper manner as well.

People will look at this and say that this is more violence against black people in America. They would look at this and mark it as a hate crime under the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. However the issue here should not be racial discrimination and hate crime that everyone wants to see. That is the easy answer. A hate crime happens because someone has honest hatred towards a different race. How is it possible that the entire police force of the 21st century all hate minorities?
Well, it is not the case. The issue here is police selection and training.

Police training in the United States lasts an average of 15 weeks containing about 500 hours of training. This is an insignificant amount of time compared to the amount hours and years needed by other occupations. Other occupations can make their decision overtime. A businessman can have hours to make a decision, a lawyer can have weeks to prepare for a case and a doctor can have months to ready up for a surgery. Police officers, on the other hand, have to make snap decisions. If they do not react properly, they can break under pressure and the squeeze of time and in haste and fear fire of a bullet or two…or sixteen bullets. To have a training of fifteen weeks that is supposed to prepare someone for this kind of stress is laughable, especially when compared to police training in Europe. Officers in Germany have to undergo police training that lasts thirty-one weeks, while officers in France undergo police training that lasts thirty-six weeks. Police training in the United States needs to prepare officers to deal with people who pose a threat to other people. People wielding knives should not be dealt with firearms, instead they should be dealt with equipment that leads to incapacitate, not permanently incapacitate. In England, officers are taught to reach for their tasers first when dealing with a knife wielding victim, while officers in the United States are taught to reach for their guns whenever their safety comes into question. United States officers should be taught in a similar fashion. Perhaps, this small difference in police training can lead to a decrease in violence against all people, especially minorities that are targeted and labeled as hate crime victims.

However, training is not all that matter. The selection of police in the United States needs to be more targeted to the qualities needed in a police officer. There is no amount of training that can change an officers mind when it comes to making a decision “to shoot or not shoot” while their safety is in question. The issue can be related to police recruitment. Currently, police officers can be hired or rejected based on their level of aggression. The criteria concerning aggression is a hired officer cannot be too docile. A docile person would not be hired currently because he is not aggressive enough to be assertive. Docile people can be taught to be assertive and are usually more reasonable as they tend to not want to be aggressive. However, it is hard and near impossible to take the aggression out of a hired officer, especially with the lack of training. It is easier to teach assertiveness than it is to teach docility.

While I would blame both the civilian and the officer in the video, I place the most blame on the officer and his lack of training. I also recognize that there have been similar and more violent cases that can be attributed to simple hatred and placed under the banner of hate crime, but I also want people to realize that not all these incidents are hate crimes and that the problem lies in how officers are trained and hired, and how civilians react.

PARADIGM THAT FITS?

This time I will use…..
Symbolic Interactionalism

This time, this sociological paradigm has to do with media representation of both groups. As I have discussed before, media representation of black people has not always been great. The media usually represents them as criminals. This influences the cops and leads them to be more harsh when dealing with Black Americans because they expect them to be a problematic latent criminal. They would handle a black alleged criminal differently than a white alleged criminal for that reason. Their treatment is then viewed as a hate crime. This is why we need to hire officers that are not aggressive but assertive. When they associate black with criminal they can take assertive actions to do what they think is just, instead of jumping to aggression because of their fear of the black latent criminal.

The same paradigm would also apply to media representation of cops. Lately, the news has been filled with cops and their “hate crimes.” When people see this it would be easy for them to get riled up and scared when they are confronted by a cop. They would think their lives are in danger when being stopped by a cop.

The media makes cops scared of black people and so they are aggressive towards them, expecting them to be criminals.

The media also makes civilians afraid of cops and so they are frightened and act rashly sometimes, expecting the cops to be violent towards them.

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