Racial tension, unprofessionalism to blame for recent tragedies in Missouri, Ohio and New York



Recent shootings have sparked concern about the professionalism of police departments. Photo Credit: MCT Campus

Joyce Melendez, Staff Writer

Recent events have sparked controversy and brought attention to police departments, from the shooting of Michael Brown in August to the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland last month. While some may be quick to associate these deaths with racial motivations, it is far more complicated than that.

It’s undeniable that certain privileges are awarded to individuals based on their skin color. Unfortunately, safety is one of those privileges. It is safe to say in today’s society that people walking down a street don’t bat an eyelash when walking past an individual who is Caucasian. Contrastingly, there are some people who are affected when an African-American person walks past them. Essentially, society has regressed into the mindset of solely judging an individual based on the color of their skin.

In life, safety is not guaranteed. This is especially true if an individual decides to become a police officer. Because the profession is dangerous, one needs to think and act quickly in order to survive. While the environment is fast-paced, one should still be able to process information properly before making a life-changing decision.

In regards to the shooting in Cleveland, Tamir Rice was brandishing a black pellet gun at a park, which prompted an individual to call 911. The man who called 911 told the dispatcher what Tamir was doing, but also said that the gun was “probably fake.” Within seconds of arriving to the scene and exiting the police cruiser, officer Loehmann shot Tamir.

While this shooting can easily be seen as an issue of race, upon further investigation, it has been revealed that officer Loehmann was branded “unfit for duty” years ago. During his firearms qualification training, Loehmann was “distracted and weepy” revealed a report from firearms instructor. In this case, the officer’s unprofessionalism and compromised state of mind can help explain why a 12-year-old was shot dead.

It is easy to quickly blame racial tensions when it comes to the deaths of African-Americans, but the issue is not so one-dimensional. Clearly, not all police officers are biased toward an individual’s race. While racial tensions are alive and well in today’s society, the issues of the deaths of Michael Brown and Tamir Rice are not issues of race, but rather of professionalism.

Individuals should educate themselves on all components of an issue and not focus solely on the issue of race. A more in-depth analysis of a scenario will allow people to formulate a concrete understanding that racial tension is not the only problem plaguing society. The root of these scenarios involves the professionalism of police departments. In hindsight, there are many problems affecting society and it can’t easily be brushed off as an issue of race.