By Rachel Rundengan |Staff Writer|
A woman found dead in jail, a man suddenly immobilized shortly after his arrest, a man with a medical condition found on the floor of a jail due to negligence, a girl arrived at a juvenile detention only to be taken to a morgue the next day.
Death, while in police custody, is needless to say, always very controversial.
“A total of 4,446 inmate[s] died in 2013 – an increase of 131 deaths from 2012,” according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics Report on Arrest-Related Deaths (ARD).
When ARD occur, many different reactions take place within law enforcement, medical community, and public.
Though they might come up with various interesting theories, most often the truth remains a mystery.
There is plenty of blame to go around, but no one is taking action nor is anyone taking responsibility.
So, who should be at fault? The person in custody, or the authority?
For all we know, the suspect in custody could have retaliated and as a defense, the police officers had to take control.
Now here’s where they should have drawn the line, regardless of the truth.
There’s a difference between having the detainee submit to authority by taking charge forcefully, and taking charge cautiously.
No matter who a person is and what he or she may have done to be held in custody, no man should act as God and take his/her life away.
There have been too many death-related issues that happen under the hands of police custody.
Perhaps the number of cases we as a society witness, seem to grow daily is a result of the immediate exposure we get from the pervasiveness of smartphones.
But as a matter of fact, according to ARD in August 2015, for three consecutive years the number of inmates who died in state and local jails have in fact increased.
This makes me question not only the authorities, but also people who enforce justice.
It’s unfair for the families and friends who have lost a loved one under custody, and the best explanation they get is due to drug overdose, homicide, or suicide.
As a result, the public develops a growing distrust with the police departments.
“We do not deal with the dregs of our society, because police do so on our behalf…it is their special burden to administer justice in the face of witnessing daily injustice,” stated Jeff Schweitzer, scientist and former White House Senior Policy Analyst.
“That is their job, and those who violate that responsibility must be held responsible,” continued Schweitzer.
Most police are hard-working and honorable people who absolutely have no evil intent.
However, it shouldn’t be an excuse to discount and or protect those who bring absolute shame to law enforcement.
“Arresting police officers accused of a crime is not a “bad precedent” at all; it is the right course of action, and an essential step in establishing public trust in law enforcement,” concluded Schweitzer.
The deaths of those who were under police supervision should be a reminder to us all that even the people who we could find great comfort in, could in fact, be the very people that endanger us all.