With police officers getting away with applying excessive force and not having to pay the consequences for doing so, police brutality has grown into a major issue across the U.S. Although many victims of police brutality have been identified as black, unarmed men, researchers are coming forward and highlighting a need to recognize that women of color are also being subjected to mistreatment by officers as well. Andrea J. Ritchie, who is a researcher at Barnard Center for Research on Women and a lawyer, recently discussed police brutality towards women of color at her talk and was commended by many for doing so [Source: The Michigan Daily].
The first question she posed to the audience was, “What’s the first name that comes to mind when you think of police brutality?” As you can imagine, with the various cases that have surfaced and made headlines news, several different names likely came to the minds of the people sitting in the audience.
She initiated the discussion by bringing up Michael Brown, a man who was fatally shot in 2014 in Ferguson. She then talked about Tanisha Anderson, a black woman who was killed by an officer in Cleveland, Ohio after he responded to a “disturbing the peace” call. He placed Anderson in a prone position and forced his knee into her back to the point where she could no longer breath. Although both accounts are clear cases of police brutality, Ritchie noted that Anderson’s case “did not play the same iconic role as Brown’s case.” She attributed this to her being a woman.
Ritchie went on to highlight other cases of police brutality that involved women of color including Nicola Robinson, who was pregnant. The officer she came in contact with punched her in the belly while on her porch. Charnesia Corely, another woman who was victimized by an officer, was pulled over for speeding and required to publicly strip down at the waist. There are many women who have been affected by police who abuse their power and rights, yet we need to spend more time “expanding our views and deepening our analysis,” according to Ritchie.
Women Also Suffer from Sexual Treatment by Police
Aside from police brutality, Ritchie expanded on the other ways in which women are subjected to mistreatment by officers of the law. She talked about an incident where one woman who was facing a minor criminal charge was given an ultimatum, perform oral sex on the officer or go in for the crime. She felt obligated to perform the act, especially because they were in a park at night.
The researcher also spent time discussing other victims of police misconduct including women of Asian descent, Middle Eastern women, and members of the LGBTQ community. Although research reveals that certain individuals who identify with a specific race are more prone to being mistreated by an officer, there are victims all over the country.
And because identifying an officer or even a department for police misconduct can be a rather difficult obstacle to overcome, anyone who has been a victim needs to enlist the help of a reputable and skilled Michigan police brutality lawyer. If you live in Michigan and need help in finding an attorney who specializes in handling police brutality cases, call USAttorneys.com now where you will receive assistance in locating a professional in your area.