Despite the tentative lifting of curfew in Baltimore, one of United States biggest cities, the anger and resentment amongst its citizens continues to ferment after a 25-year-old African-American man named Freddie Gray died in police custody a few weeks ago.
Following his death while being transported to the police station, widespread arson and rioting was brought under control after a week’s imposition of curfew, a pattern that is becoming increasingly common in the US.
The state attorney has filed charges against six of the officers involved, even as the Baltimore police department is conducting its own investigation. In her statement the public prosecutor alleged that Gray died of a severe spinal injury that was caused due to negligence on the part of the police officers handling him. They violated basic procedure and failed to secure their suspect with a seat belt and ignored his cries of pain.
This incident comes on the heels of a string of high profile cases involving police brutality and high handedness involving young African-American males at the receiving end.
Whether it is the, the shooting and killing of 18 year old black teen Michael Brown or the killing of a black 12-year- old in Cleveland, these incidents bring to light the system of police brutality that is part of everyday life in certain parts of America and uncover deep racial tensions and the culture of impunity enjoyed by police in America.
Racially biased policing is not limited to African-Americans alone. In February, Sureshbhai Patel, an Indian grandfather visiting his family in America, was attacked and paralysed by an Alabama police officer, who was fired soon after and is now facing several civil rights violation charges.
Such recurring incidents of racially biased policing, use of excessive force, militarization of the police throws up the question – are American cops out of control?
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