Police Brutality

September 6, 1991 • Volume 1
Los Angeles incident raises questions across the nation
By Richard L. Worsnop

Introduction

As front-line troops in the war on crime, police officers must stand tough in an environment that doesn't forgive mistakes. But do the police go overboard? Recent headlines have forced police and citizens alike to confront an unpleasant reality: The use of excessive force by police, if not on the rise, is far from rare. The beating last March of Rodney G. King, a black man from Los Angeles, seemed to corroborate charges of routine police abuse of civilians, especially minorities. The King incident has prompted calls for improved police training and administration in Los Angeles and other cities. Some experts say a whole new approach is needed. One technique gaining favor, known as “community policing,” holds that greater interaction between police and community residents will lead to more evenhanded law enforcement.

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