Live media literate.

Join Understand Media to get access to our forums, the latest media literacy news, member-only articles, early access to our journals, and much more.

We will never give your info to anyone!

By Roger K.

Police brutality against minorities is a public problem and it “…rises and falls in the news and how it is talked about in the news across time” (Lawrence, pg.4). This problem persists today because we are still a nation divided along racial lines and this is why these types of occurrences make the headlines. The news is the center stage where people are informed about events going on throughout the country and police brutality has become such a predicament through the eyes of minority groups especially Black people or people of color that it permeates in news reporting today.

In particular social media as the modern day news board by way of the Internet has made it harder and is making the suppression of police brutality by their respective departments more difficult all the time. People are starting to record police officers in action while they are on duty with their smartphones so that they have proof against arrests of minorities and how police conduct themselves in arrest situations. The days of evidence-suppression by police departments is over thanks to the proliferation of social media. Today is the day of the citizen journalist where everything is caught on social media and it is this way that social media plays its role so that we can understand police brutality which otherwise would have gone unnoticed by the public at large.

Crimes against minorities by the police have given rise to citizen journalism. This is where people use social media to report on occurrences of police brutality in their communities. The media in general is urging for the public to report on any injustices they see using the cameras on their smartphones and using outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to post these messages. And the public these days is doing just that. Citizens are starting to use social media outlets to spread news against the unjustified use of force by police officers towards the people of color they arrest. They are doing this with their smartphones in which they have access to these different social media services. “The increased prevalence of cell phones has contributed largely to citizen journalism, particularly smartphones that allow internet usage and camera functions” (The Impact of Social Media on Police Brutality).

Police officers are being recorded with small handheld cameras so that their departments can be held accountable for unwanted use of force that results in brutality. And the Black public in particular has become a giant media machine with their smartphones and the use of these Web based services. For example, the late and Black Sandra Bland said, “This thing that I hold in my hands, this telephone, this camera, it is quite powerful. Social media is powerful. We can do something with this. If we want to make a change, we can really, truly make it happen” (Morrison, 2015). With the advent of social media, the information transmitted through these mediums can spread very quickly to the public and it is there as proof to other citizens of this country and around the globe of what is taking place with the police here in the United States against minority groups or people of color.

No more can police departments have full control in reporting cases of arrests that result in severe injury or death against minorities in their communities. It’s going to get harder and harder for the police to hide their actions against minorities that feel they are being oppressed by these institutions when it comes to being arrested. For example, Black people are using social media to get the attention of the public in order to unite and protest against police brutality. And they are showing up in great numbers in an organized fashion in order to seek justice from the government. Black people are fed up with discrimination by police in terms of being killed or getting beat up in an arrest situation because of their skin color.

The Rodney King case is an example of how recording police actions unveiled the dark nature of White police officers against Blacks. The arrest of Rodney King was caught on video and it proved to the people of this country that there is a fundamental flaw in the system of the Los Angeles Police Department. The police officers beat King to a pulp and at the same time calling him a “nigger.” All this was caught on video and it made the Black community rise against the system with protests and wanting for the justice system to convict the officers of the beating for a crime. Every black life matters, like Rodney King, because they are human beings and deserve to be treated with equal rights just like the Whites or every other ethnic group that does not experience discrimination.

Black lives matter and we can no longer conduct ourselves in such a way where police brutality against minorities in their own communities is ignored. These white police officers that commit the crime of murder must be brought to trial by the justice system. These predominantly white police departments must be transparent when it comes to being accountable for the way arrests are conducted against minorities. These arrests must be properly documented and nothing can be hidden any more or else we are never going to solve this problem. We must eliminate police brutality in all its effects by using social media. Through social media the public must not tolerate any injustices inflicted on minorities by the police and they must protest to seek justice or this is going to happen again and again and it’s never going to end. Furthermore, we must care as a society because our very civil rights are at stake. If it can be done to minorities then I would go on using a slippery slope argument that this could extend to whites also.

Works Cited

1.    "The Impact of Social Media on Police Brutality." <i>The Impact of Social Media on Police Brutality</i>. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.

2.    Lawrence, Regina G. "The Politics of Force." Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.

3.    Morrison, Kimberlee. "Social Media Activism: Sandra Bland, Police Brutality and #BlackLivesMatter." SocialTimes. N.p., 30 July 2015. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.