Police Brutality: How Can Students Protect Themselves

Black Lives Matter, black female protestor holding End Police Brutality sign with the raised fist resistance logo” by Ivan Radic is licensed under CC BY 2.0

There have been way too many incidences of lives lost over minor misunderstandings between police and mainly members of the Black community in the US. Incidences of police brutality extend from ordinary citizens to university students so that no one is safe anymore. Student protection has become a big issue with school administrations that are now playing a significant part in making the forces accountable. It is no wonder to find a teacher sharing ways to keep marginalized communities safe from the police during class.

Here are simple but effective ways to keep you safe when accosted by the police.

Stay Calm and Listen

This might be easier said than done, but it doesn’t help to fidget and argue with the police when they pull you over. Usually, they will ask a few questions whose answers they might consider insufficient, but the best you can do for your own safety is answer them as coherently as possible. This is one of the basic rules that are listed in essays about police brutality, which are of great use to students who want to protect themselves. Even when you feel and know police brutality is unwarranted, it helps to co-operate and answer as easily as you can without defending yourself and asking too many questions. In short, you are better off not giving them a chance to call you uncooperative, which could lead to their using excessive force.

Obey the Commands

Where you are asked to get out of your car, it works best to do just that. Part of how the authorities justify police brutality is by saying their commands were not adhered to, which left them with no choice. Even though you may feel justified to disobey a policeman who stops you simply based on the color of your skin while all you did was take a walk from college, you will look bad if you disobeyed. As much as possible, be respectful when answering what they ask to avoid giving them the chance to break legal laws while dealing with you. There is only so much they can do when they cannot get the desired reaction from you that they could use to justify the use of force.

Do Not Make any Hasty Moves

Even when you believe you could be in the wrong, it does no good to run. When you make moves that the police officer did not anticipate – or they did – you give them the best excuse to treat you poorly. You also want to place your hands where they can be seen and that avoid the urge to shove them in your pockets as it would look like you were reaching for a weapon. If you carry a weapon with you (we talk about legal permission), you should know gun laws, so as not to get into an unpleasant situation and not be detained or physically injured. There are enough reasons for the police to use extreme force on you, so do not give them any. 

Don’t Walk Away Until Ordered So

However infuriating the confrontation with the police be, you do not want to walk away until authorized. The normal reaction from a human being when you feel violated is to defend yourself or walk away, but that could earn you a bullet when you are of the ‘wrong’ skin color. Just stay until they allow you to walk away.

There is a Time for Everything

With so much brutality these days, talking about the excessive use of force when dealing with some communities should be included in the curriculum, so it is part of education in school. This way, students will know how to react when faced with situations that have ended fatally in the past.  When faced with an injustice, the most common reaction is to be defensive. Unfortunately, that has given the police reasons to act poorly since they view it as insubordination. While you may be tempted to argue and insist that what is being done is in violation of student rights, you may want to save your defensiveness for a proper demonstration. There will always be an avenue to air your grievances, just not when a trigger-happy cop is pointing their gun at you.

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