CLEVELAND, USA (ViaNews) – Police brutality has been an issue in America for ages. Some may be able to recount the incident with Rodney King in Los Angeles, California in 1992. In Cleveland, some generations will be able to recount the times of the Glenville and Hough riots. All of these times stemmed from police brutality and excessive force when it came to officer’s encounters with black people.
In July 1966, the Hough (Huff) riots came about. People of all ages were involved, young and old. An article posted in the Plain Dealer the day after the Hough riots began, tells the story of Mrs. Joyce Arnett, who was shot and killed after she put her head out of a second-story window. She was only twenty-six years old. She was sent to this location by police looking to clear the area. She only put her head out of the window to call for her children.
In July 1968, about two years to the date of the Hough riots, a gun battle began amongst the people of the Glenville neighborhood and the Cleveland Police Department. Both of these riots began due to unrest in the city involving racism and racial segregation. The people of Cleveland, Ohio had had enough.
In April 1992, four members of the Los Angeles Police Department were acquitted for the beating of an unarmed motorist, Rodney King. This led to a similar unrest over a six-day period in the metropolitan area. This unrest is known as the LA riots, amongst other things.
In all three of these instances, the trigger for the people in each area was racism. Black people, old and young, felt like they were not being heard and this still stands today. In 2016, there were 250 cases of black men and women being killed by the police.
People have discussed many reasons why it happens and how it can and should be fixed. For instance, currently in Cleveland, Ohio there is a police commission (Cleveland Community Police Commission) that had been formed to discuss and implement new and helpful tactics so that the police we are putting out on the street to protect and serve know how to treat people no matter what they look like or where they come from.
The commission is made up of residents of Cleveland that vary in age, race, religion, and academic background, just to name a few. Last year, Mayor Frank Jackson appointed a committee to pick the people who would sit on this commission. It was made known to the residents of Cleveland that this was an important yet difficult task they were about to undertake, but it was necessary.
The issue of police brutality is a community issue, therefore, the community must be involved in reducing the number of cases our city has each year. Community leaders frequently tell the public that we must work together to achieve the city that we all want to live in.
Police brutality must be handled before Cleveland, Ohio finds itself in a similar situation as it did fifty years ago. Our city is not in the place to handle all the death and damages that it underwent in the 60s. It is important all of our communities speak up and speak out about this issue among others in Cleveland so that, slowly but surely, our city becomes safer and our police department trains its officers to think before they react.