Racial Profiling by Police Affecting High School Students

Milan Boykins

In May of 2020, protests began against the police of Minneapolis that was involved in the arrest of George Floyd that escalated to his death. These protests became so worldwide that on June 6, an estimated half a million people joined protests in around 550 places across the country. 

 

Since then, a tremendous number of occasions against racial profiling and police started to surface to light.

 

High school students included, they have stories of illegal violations from authority that they’ve encountered that ruined their perspective of the police. 

 

Right when I see the cop pull us over, I had to get prepared for this moment,” said Jeren Belyeu. “Talk myself into performing good character or I might have a chance of dying,” 

 

Belyeu is an African American male that attended Lawndale High School at the time. His description of how he felt when getting pulled over by a cop is not normal. 

 

Debates have grown during protests about how kids shouldn’t be scared and afraid of cops, who are supposed to be the protection over cities, a hero, not known as murderers. 

 

People of color have reported higher levels of tension with police and figures with caucasian profiles specifically. Messages among protests share that people of color should not feel like there’s a target on their back by authoritative figures.

 

“Tried to stop and frisk us but we kept resisting, we were so confused. The officer stated that my sister looked like a girl he was searching for,” saidCita Sanchez. “We asked to see the picture and she looked nothing like my sister, not even the same hair.”

 

Sanchez is a Hispanic teenage girl that attends Lakewood High School and accused this officer of illegally pursuing a stop and frisk on her without reporting any reasonable suspicion or probable cause. 

 

Occasions like this have been occurring daily where officers step out of the rules when performing their job.

 

Officers have been documented to abuse their power and take advantage of their role while on the job. The stop and frisks have been documented to be unreasonable and aggressive, and the suspect claimed that the picture of the person they were looking for didn’t even look like the suspect. 

 

As of the beginning of 2020, 103 people have been shot to death in the U.S in the month of August. The statistics rise every year, as the source Statista states, in 2018, the death rate due to police shootings in the U.S was 74 in the month of August. The next year in the month of August of 2019, Statista states 86 people killed due to police shooting. 

 

In today’s day in age, high school students now look at the police in a negative way. The urgency has grown to teach these young citizens how to approach police and act when being confronted by them. Although students shouldn’t have fear for police officers since they do, protecting their lives from all is mandatory.

“I was scared because people like me don’t usually have a positive experience with cops, even the innocent ones, and will still get shot and die,” stated Trey Smith, an African American student that attends Salesian High School.

 

One bad experience can change someone’s whole perspective on a person. When police officers perform negative actions to innocent people under racial profile it makes the victim not want to cooperate with them even more. This can create more corruption when dealing with police. Smith already had to already prepare himself for arrest even though he’s innocent, but for “people like him” usually get stuck in situations like this.

 

These encounters have shown an obvious need for change against this negative persona on police officers. Now the question remains on if there should or when will there be stricter consequences when these encounters that violate the rules and other people’s rights.

 

2020 has wildly been critiqued to be a rough start but some believe it may end with a bright beginning.

 

Department, P., & 31, A. (2020, August 31). People shot to death by U.S. police, by month 2020. Retrieved September 21, 2020, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/585159/people-shot-to-death-by-us-police-by-month/