The Perspective of a Police Officer's Daughter

Op-ed

The majority of the American population sees one perspective of the issue right now: police brutality is on the rise and every single person needs to speak up in order to spark change. For me, however, I do not have the same flexibility as them in regards to raising awareness about protecting black rights and stopping police brutality.

My journey to America did not come without some important help. As young as I was during my later elementary years, I didn't know much about what the process to enter the country was like yet the turning factor was the beginning of the citizenship process.

My stepfather was the key to helping me get to where I am in the citizenship process. He is my sponsor as I go through the citizenship process, and will continue to be until I gain my rights as a US citizen. He also has been a police officer for more than ten years and with the demeanour I see with him at home, I have the same assumption that he is a model citizen in his work as well.

When George Floyd's murder lighted the spark in the nation, it put a target into his back, simply because he is a police officer. I had the chance to listen to his opinion over FaceTime regarding it, as well as the current protests. He perceives that people who are actively spreading awareness about how horrible the government's system is, their main problem lies in the police force.

I don't believe that at all. All departments are run by the government and the police themselves are seen as enforcers of the laws that the government upholds. Unfortunately, even the government itself is not perfect, which also spreads its imperfection to the police, whom the people perceive that they are the culprits behind the denial of black people's rights.

Mapping Police Violence has gathered data from last year on how much the black community are more likely to be killed by the police than whites. Most of the deaths were found within the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions, showing that of all the black population currently present in the country, 24% of police killings consisted of all black Americans on average.

This leads to the conclusion that civilians are under the impression that due to the superiority over the black community, the police have more excuses to use more force than necessary, compared to if they were taking in a white American in custody. In my opinion, however, it depends on the officer.

Also according to Mapping Police Violence, only one percent of police killings resulted in the officer being charged with a crime. This is due to the conditions of the Law Enforcement Misconduct Stature where in case of physical assault, the government must "prove that that the law enforcement officer used more force than is reasonably necessary to arrest or gain control of the victim," yet in most cases, there is no effort made to prove that this is the case. When recounting the time when Floyd was murdered in custody of the police, it took video proof from a nearby passerby to finally get charges pressed on the officers involved.

Going back to my relationship with my stepdad, we have different perspectives on the way America is run. I believe that every single person deserves the common rights to live their lives the way they want to without the fear of being arrested. These are the wishes of the black community, and yet I disagree with the police departments being the root of the problem. It's the government and their leaders that need to be changed.

So far, nothing has been done to fix the problem, but I am personally hoping that the nation will soon recover, for the better where the ideal situation would be for more rights to be given to the black community, and educate the other communities about their own rights as well. I don't speak for the black community, as I am Asian, but I support them in their goal to prove that race does not have to be inhibited by race superiority.

If you are also in a similar boat, you also have your own opinion on the matter. As I speak, I am continuing to research more about our current crisis, so educate yourselves on the movement, and read the fine lines of the present in order to build a better future.

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Bettina Henares

Bettina Henares is an incoming freshman at Northland College and an avid writer, whether it'd be creative or journalistic. They are also a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a mental health advocate on top of being a former writer for their high school newsletter and editor-in-chief for the yearbook. In their free time, they figure skate, compose fashion sketches, and play various mobile and computer games.


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