Ethics-Criminal Justice System Details of the Source Term Paper

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Details of the Source

When does police mistake become murder?

The Christian Science Monitor,

Date of publication: 04-05-1999,

Summary of Facts

Racial profiling is probably the biggest concern of minorities groups in our country because it has been the cause of numerous injustices against them. Our law enforcement agencies appear to be ruthlessly biased in their exercise of duty as is clear from this article. The author shows that racial profiling has resulted in prosecution and death of many innocent immigrants. The article argues that when death results from irresponsible actions of the police, it should be counted as murder because it violates basic civil rights provided by the constitution to every citizen regardless of color or creed. However it has been noticed that our police would open fire on any immigrant who appears to be a threat. The author asks: "Should the police officer be tried for murder?" when it is clear that his actions were based on irrational fear and bigotry and nothing else.

Imagine a police officer kills a person because it is dark and it appeared the other man, a black immigrant was holding a gun. However on close examination, he found that the "gun" was actually a "cell phone." Shouldn't the police officer involved be given death penalty or life imprisonment? Similar in 1999, we came across the case of Amadou Diallo who was killed by police officers in Bronx area. Diallo was an African-American immigrant who was absolutely unarmed at the time of the fatal encounter. Two police officers fired 41 bullets at him to practically remove any chance of survival.

When such cases surface, we are always reminded of Rodney King tragedy in which a black man was seriously beaten by police officers in LA. Though such police behavior is clearly unethical and unfair, no legislative actions has been taken so far to prosecute law enforcement officers for murder charges. Their behavior is widely condemned and some are even brought to the court, but they normally face federal civil rights charges. In the famous King case, state courts had acquitted the police officers involved before the federal court levied charges against them.

Unethical behavior-Utilitarian and deontological norms

Racial profiling and resulting police behavior should be causes of genuine concern because prejudice and discrimination must never plague the justice system in any country. The behavior based on racial discrimination is unethical according to deontological as well as "utilitarian" ethical rules. There is absolutely no utility of such actions and it doesn't maximize the happiness of larger majority. For example when a person is killed in cold blood, how does the society stand to benefit from it? Similarly…

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