Police brutality is not a new phenomenon in human society. Since the introduction of arms to the police force, its abuse has not reduced rather it has progressively metamorphosed into a tool of oppression. It is worthy to note that the issue of police brutality cuts across community or regional hassle to a global worry.
For Example in 1920, specifically, in New York and Chicago, the urban Police department was accused of using extralegal tactics against Italian-immigrant community members. The Police defended this brutality by asserting that its alleged use of force is simply an effort attempted to track down an organized crime in the communities.
In 1943, there was strong evidence of the Los Angeles police participation in hostility on Mexican Americans carried out by the US servicemen during the Zoot suit riots.
In Great Britain, the Police are not armed for routine operations. However, this has not stopped their abuse, especially using the neck restraint. In Britain, the use of neck restrained is still officially approbated. The summer of 2017 witnessed a period where four black young-men died after they had been restrained by the Police. This is a sad situation as a police officer can kneel on a man’s neck for eight to ten minutes.
This is a pathetic display of police brutality.
In France, Cédric Chouviat, a Frenchman of North African origin, was pinned down by Police officers while wearing his helmet for more than 20 seconds during this detention. Cédric died of asphyxiation two days later. The doctors reported that his larynx was fractured.
This is similar to Adama Traore, who died in Police custody in 2016 after he was also pinned to the ground. The black man was only 24 years old.
In Nigeria, young people have also been assaulted in different ways by the members of the police force. The October 2020 EndSars protest revealed that the SARS unit of the Nigeria Police Force(NPF) has been machinery for violent abuse by the Nigeria police force. Young people from the ages of 20-35 have been violently maltreated by the members of the Police force by the use of excessive force which has resulted in extra-judicial killings. Often times, if not most of the times, the victims do not get justice as their families are treated with disdain and the “legal perpetrators” walk the streets and sleep comfortably at their homes.
Apparently, the larger population victim is the tertiary institution students. The Nigeria police have had a record of unlawfully arresting university students based on intuition rather than investigation. The resultant effect of police brutality on students can be perceived in four major ways.
Police brutality has affected the general lifestyle of students in Nigeria. Some students do not revel in a flashy and luxurious lifestyle. This is because such lifestyles attract the eyes of the police as the force will fail at nothing to hunt down a student living a luxurious life if the parents of such a student are not popular or occupy a sensitive position in the country. Simple and personal choices like hairstyle, types of clothes, and dress pattern and body inscriptions are triggers of Police brutality and lots of students have resolved to keep off that lifestyle.
Rights and freedom
The rights and freedom of students which begins from the fundamental human rights have been overturned and gravely opposed. This is seen through several justices delayed and denied for victims of police brutality. Most times, comments and utterances emanating from members of the police force is a sad display that some members of the Police Force, do not recognize and respect the rights of these students.
Fear and intimidation
Another effect of Police brutality on students is a sub-conscious fear it has engraved in the minds of average Nigeria students. Nigeria students do not perceive the Police force as a friend but a foe. This is due to their several waves of abuse on students and constant intimidation from men and members of the police force.
The incessant use of violent force by the police therefore has done more damage to mind the young people. The vision of the Police which happens to be the protection of life and property has consequently be neglected. Studies have shown that the EndSars protest in Nigeria, was a deep call for Police reformation, implementation of laws regarding the use of firearms and the disbandment of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS).
Police brutality will continue to be on the increase if fundamental laws are not upheld. Offenders should be punished to restore public trust. It is pertinent to note that police brutality is an act of wickedness and should not be allowed to thrive in the society. The acceptance of police brutality or the delay or denial of its corresponding justice is a direct sponsorship for societal anarchy whose future will be shredded in pains, fears and forceful breakdown.