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Coppell Student Media

The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

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October 26, 2023

Citizens have right to be angry about recent police brutality

By Alexandra Dalton

Staff Writer



If I am expected to stand up at the Pledge of Allegiance and say those hollow words, then I have to be able to answer this question with a clear conscious: why am I expected to respect a law enforcement that has recently done more harm to unarmed minority citizens than good?


On Aug. 9, an African American citizen Michael Brown was leaving a convenience store where he had recently stolen some cigarillos and shoved a clerk when he came into contact with Darren Wilson, a police officer who recognized Brown from the description given on the radio moments earlier. While Wilson was in his car, the two had an altercation which caused Wilson to fire at Brown, who was unarmed. Wilson then then proceeded to shoot 12 total rounds as Brown faced the police officer with his hands raised, signaling his submission to the officer as his body jerked from all of the shots hitting him.


On July 17, after Eric Garner had expressed he was tired of being harassed by the police because of their constant harassment due to his past record, Daniel Pantaleo arrived at Garner’s location while Garner was out on bail to arrest Garner for selling loose cigarettes without a tax stamp. As he was trying to put Garner’s hand’s behind his back, Garner swatted him away. Pantaleo then put Garner in a “grappling hold” (which is allowed as compared to what the medical examiners have called a chokehold which is banned for all NYPD members). He then pushed Garner to the ground and as Garner repeated he could not breathe 11 times, four police officers restrained Garner without listening to his final pleas. The ambulance was then called yet no one attempted cardiopulmonary resuscitation while they arrived to scene due to the fact that he was “still breathing”. He was dead upon arrival an hour later at a “nearby” hospital.


These are just a few of the multiple cases happening in America. I understand that cops have the right to use deadly force, and that they can protect themselves, but Brown was running away when 11 rounds were shot at him, and he was completely unarmed. Garner was reprimanded with an over abundant amount of force when it was not clear he had committed a crime. His murder was even video taped and yet Pantaleo was not prosecuted, in fact both of those officers were reinstated and compensated for their time off.

Graphic by Manu Garikipati. The historic trust of citizens and their law enforcement being put to the test.
Graphic by Manu Garikipati. The historic trust of citizens and their law enforcement being put to the test.


I am not OK with the way some of the law enforcement I used to respect so dearly has chosen to handle the alleged crimes of minority citizens. I do not feel comfortable saying that I trust that same enforcement knowing what they are capable of. The situation should not be generalized to every law enforced area, but the fact that the police have this much power over people and can get away with killing a man via chokehold on video camera should not be ignored.


While some think our nation needs to respect the police even more in a time of need, I think it is a great time to challenge them. We will never improve if we are always too respectful to say anything.


Respect is a foundation of trust and reliance, a privilege that is earned and should not be expected. It is represented in body language, general attitude and vocal communication. We have to right to preclude respect given the recent endeavors Americans have had to face.


According to the news source Mother Jones, Michael Brown was one of four citizens that were killed in August by police. Now it may seem like an insignificant number, but  “In 2007, ColorLines and the Chicago Reporter investigated fatal police shootings in 10 major cities and found that there were a disproportionately high number of African Americans among police shooting victims in every one, particularly in New York, San Diego and Las Vegas.”


This standard of living is not good enough for ‘the land of the free’, and I personally will not respect a law enforcement that was created to make us feel safe but instead is hurting citizens and getting away with it because they are the law. Of course there are other factors such as difficult jury but the law enforcement is threaded in multiple occurrences of minority harm.


I have the right to act however I want within the parameters of the law, and I chose to remember those who have passed away at the hands of law enforcement.


According to The Washington Post, the federal government keeps a precise record of how many pigs reside in the U.S., but “there is no reliable national data on how many people are shot by police officers each year”. This is frightening and no group of people should be so privileged as to not be held accountable for their actions.


It is socially taboo to be this committed and most are not willing to risk the social effects, but it is important to take stand against the injustice occurring in our country. If that makes people uncomfortable then they should remember how uncomfortable Eric Garner was when he was telling the police officer putting him in a “grappling hold” that he could not breathe.


Many times when I have tried to air my personal views when the topic comes up people are shocked that I do not hold their views. Police are held to a very high esteem in this city and for a good reason, they do a good job. But not every cop in every state makes the right decision all of the time, and to me, a lot of police are incorrect in the decisions they make because they let their personal views cloud their authority figure. I do not care if my rebellion is different, I would rather every citizen get the same treatment than be popular.


People need to understand that just because an issue is not happening in our area right now does not mean it never will. The police in Coppell are completely capable of making us feel safe, and have yet to discredit that trust, but these issues are happening in the most random of places, making any city susceptible.


I do not want the names of those unjustly lost to be forgotten because they all had someone. Someone who is missing them, someone who remembers their presence everyday. The least people can do is remember their names and their stories because we get to be here while they do not.


The police do not deserve to be treated with special treatment. These crimes have gone unpunished and we should not allow that to be happening because nothing good can come from it.


I want to say the Pledge of Allegiance with a smile on my face and pride in my heart, but in order to deserve that type of respect, our nation needs to show it’s people some.

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