A black suspect was recently shot by a white police officer in Berkeley, Missouri, USA. The incident sparked off a fresh round of protests in the US and further exposed the uneasy relationship between the police and society.
In New York, two police officers were murdered by a black man who later killed himself. Earlier, black suspects were killed at the hands of white officers.
All this points to an unfortunate level of mistrust and violence in the way the police and people engage with each other.
While those protesting against the police actions have taken to the streets and found a degree of sympathy from political officials and others, the police officers too are said to be feeling angry and besieged, given that they undertake a job fraught with danger. It is difficult to understand why these relations have been allowed to sink to such a level.
Many explanations have been given, ranging from the historical mandate of the police that stressed more on
‘order’ than law to the decrease in the police force of various cities following budgetary cutbacks. However, there is no doubt that there is a fundamental distrust between the police force and the community it serves. This is unfortunate, but it seems that the recent incidents have forced government officials at various levels to confront the issue and look for solutions.