Police brutality accusations creates controversy

It was a cool November night as deputies were getting ready for any violent protesters who would react to the announcement of the verdict of the Michael Brown case.

“Protesters have rights, but they do not have the right to destroy other people’s property and infringe on the rights of others,” JP Harvey Sargent for the Western Delray Beach area said.

In the last few months the media has been buzzing with tales of police brutality, and that seems to be a nation-wide epidemic.

“I think the media only picks up on what is popular, and what is going to sell because if the media were going to do everything fair and unbiased, they’d have to show all the good things officers do and all the lives they save,” Jeff Calise, Captain for the West Palm Beach area said.

Some of these cases include the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri and the Eric Garner case in New York, both of which resulted in angry protesters including some violence.

“It’s important to realize that the police have a job to do and their not picking people out of the crowd to pick on and harass,” Harvey said.

Both Harvey and Calise feel that respect for officers has seen a drop throughout the years.

“I think it’s more socially accepted to question authority, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There is a cultural phenomenon that supports younger generations not respecting law enforcement,” Harvey said.

Many officers feel that news stations such as CNN “tend to focus on people who are passing themselves off as people representing the community,” Calise said.

“It’s not the newspaper’s job to report the honest facts, it’s the newspaper’s job to sell advertising and that is done most effectively by sensationalizing stories,” Harvey said.

Police equipment is going to be seeing some changes in the near future such as adding body cameras to officers.

“I think [adding body cameras] is good overall, there are some privacy issues that have to be worked out, how the citizens may feel at very vulnerable points in their lives,” Calise said.

Some may feel the problem lies within how officers are trained, but Harvey and Calise feel that it doesn’t.

“I don’t think the problem lies within police training,” Harvey said. “Instead, the problem lies within how we communicate, what we do, and how we do it to the public.”