Police violence Unit

Since the September 11 terror attacks in the US, the war on terrorism in the world has intensified. With this, cases or allegations of torture pitting security forces against suspected terrorists have surfaced frequently. A number of human rights groups and non-government organizations have been at the fore front in accusing security forces of torturing suspected terrorists. Police and other security forces have on the other hand claimed the need for justified force ion various grounds. Torture is basically viewed an abuse of human rights and condemned. Torture seeks to use violence to fight violence which is not feasible. Therefore violence is not the way to protect the people and the country against terrorists.
The discussion of torture is often faced with the need to define torture appropriately. The International Torture Convention defines torture as “`specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering` while pain is defined as `prolonged mental harm` caused by threats of physical harm or death to a detainee or a third person, the administration of mind-altering drugs or other procedures `calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality`” (Yoo ….). This narrow definition has been adopted but the US Congress failing to acknowledge the addition of another prohibition which adds that torture is “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” (Yoo….). To a sharp eye, this is a manner a lee way for abetting terror especially in handling terror suspects in the US and abroad. Meyer (…….) argues that the popularity of the hit series “24” in an endorsement of the use of torture at a certain level for the common good. The star in the series, Jack Bauer repeatedly tortures suspects to extract information. He uses electrocution, battering among other means of torture. Melissa Caldwell, the senior director of The Parents` Television Council says that “24` is the worst offender on television: the most frequent, most graphic, and the leader in the trend of showing the protagonists using torture” (Meyer…). To such people, the show abets torture which is not consistent with the law and thus they do not support it. Experts in law such as Gary Solis, a retired law professor, also share those views and claims that the actions of Bauer in the series would call for arrest and prosecution in real life. However, majority if his students are in support of the antics of John Bauer which are “whatever it takes” to preserve the law and protect the people is right and should be done.
The law anticipates the urge by police to use force or torture in handling suspects hence provides stipulations. In fact, terror suspects are allowed under a democratic system to sue for torture, the allegation has been immense. In Iraq and Afghanistan, hundreds of Taliban fighters and other militias have been arrested. They have also complained of torture in the hands of security forces. The Geneva Convention calls for prisoners to be treated “humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, consistent with the principles” of the Geneva Convention (Yoo ….).
The police are custodians of the law. Torture itself is criminalized by the law. By engaging in torture for whatever purposes, they act outside the law. “The law`s interest in a monopoly of violence vis-à-vis individuals is explained not by the intention of preserving legal ends but, rather, by the intention of preserving the law itself that violence, when not in the hands of the law, threatens it not by the ends that it may pursue but by its mere existence outside the law” (Critique of Violence 1). This in short means that there is no way that law and order, which police are mandated to protect, can be maintained if it is pursued in violent means.
The power to protect the law is possessed by police, but there are no efficient mechanisms to control such power. In most cases, police claim to use torture within the law as directed by the narrow definition aforementioned. As a result, they end up protecting and preserving the law by using violence. “Police violence is emancipated from both conditions. It is lawmaking, because its characteristic function is not the promulgation of laws but the assertion of legal claims for any decree, and law-preserving because it is at the disposal of these ends” (critique of violence). In short, police are there to enforce the law and not just for the sake of their presence or explaining the law. They must `enforce` it but the `force` must also fall within another law (critique of violence 3).
Police should in no way be allowed to use violence against suspects. The act of fighting violence with violence will only result into chaos and barbaric society. By police using torture on suspects for any reasons, they themselves turn themselves into terrorist. In the case of extracting information from suspects, there is a wide range of other humane methods that can be employed to achieve the same goal. As a civilized society it is important to recognize the sanctity of human life and even recognize the value of human rights. Individual rights must be recognized by police in handling suspects. Therefore, no situation whatsoever warrants police violence.
Works cited
Critique of violence 4
Critique of violence 3
Critique of violence 2
Critique of violence 1
Meyer, whatever it takes
Yoo, With `All Necessary and Appropriate Force

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