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More police officers held accountable for their actions

Police brutality has been an issue for several years, disproportionately affecting people of color. Over the past few years, the public became more aware of these incidents due to mass protests, riots, social media and the Black Lives Matter movement. Then, in 2019, premiered on Netflix and illustrated the systematic targeting of even young boys to fit the crime based on racial profiling and manipulation in New York.

While these incidents do not represent the work ethic of all police officers — some of which are people of color themselves — it happens frequently enough to increasingly draw public scrutiny. Still, in many of these instances over the years, police officers walked away with little more than a suspension. This year, that trend may be changing.

In August 2019, CNN reported that the New York Police Department finally fired the police officer involved in the death of a man he held in a chokehold during an arrest. Video footage showed the man repeatedly saying he could not breathe. The man eventually lost consciousness and died. It took five long years for the NYPD to take decisive action. Still, during the five years, the Justice Department decided not to pursue federal charges.

Then, on October 1, CNN covered the much-anticipated trial of a police officer who entered a man’s apartment and shot him to death. She claimed she was intoxicated and that she believed the apartment was her own. Her apartment was on the floor below. The jury deliberated for less than a day and found her guilty. She may face up to life in prison. The jury disbelieved her story that the death was accidental, as do many people in the general public. At the time of writing this article, she had not yet received sentencing.

Experts watching these cases say they may finally set the precedence for police officers being held responsible for their actions — even when off-duty and in uniform. This will never bring back the lives of the loved ones that people have lost, but for many, it is a better illustration of justice than previous outcomes in similar cases.

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Belovin Franzblau & Associates, P.C.
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Bronx, NY 10467

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