What Are Your Rights In The Face Of Law Enforcement And The Implications Of Those Engagements
When being engaged by law enforcement, citizens are frequently unaware of their rights provided to them by the constitution and their capacity to use them. This is a common reoccurrence across America. Being ignorant to your rights can be used against you when engaging with law enforcement. Citizens have the right to free movement, however, that right can be compromised unknowingly and can be subjected to confinement. The question guiding this research is, what are your rights in the face of law enforcement and the implications of those engagements?
Recently, the Cobb County police department opened an investigation regarding a routine traffic stop. It was reported that, “The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, together with Mitchell & Shapiro LLP, filed suit today against the Cobb County Police Department for arresting and jailing three innocent Georgians based on the unfounded suspicions of a so-called “Drug Recognition Expert” who charged each with allegedly driving under the influence of marijuana”. The three Georgians were accused and forced to have their blood drawn and detained in jail overnight. Charges were later dropped, but the arrest remains on their public records. The Constitution grants rights to citizens but at what cost can one assert these rights and prevail? America is known for rights it grants to its citizens, but many are unaware where these freedoms originate. The origins of the Bill of rights were rooted in Anglo-American history. “In 1215 England’s King John, under pressure from rebellious barons, put his seal on The Magna Carta, which protected subjects against royal abuses of power”. Centuries later in 1628, parliament adopted The Petition of Right, which condemned unlawful imprisonments. The document explicitly stated that there would be no tax without a majority consent of parliament. Once independence was declared in 1776 colonies began writing constitutions and Bills of Rights similar to The Magna Carta. These rights were natural protections against specific abuses. During the drafting of the constitution, these Bills of Rights were not initially included but were later added as amendments to aid in the states ratification. Fast forward to today and these bills of rights remain the cornerstone of the freedoms we enjoy and seek to protect at all cost. The question I pose is who would we now consider as king, the Government? Undoubtedly, subjects would translate to citizens and the Magna Carta would be the Bills of Rights that protects us.
Among the many rights given to us for protection in the Bills of Rights, it grants the right for citizens to bear arms which ensures the security of a free state, but secure from whom? Law enforcement officers work under government domains where they serve citizens residing in those areas. It is important to understand the interactions of this relationship while serving their citizens. Their service requires officers to be armed which differentiate them from the general population they serve.
As a citizen in America, we are often unaware of our rights. Cultural differences fuel misconceptions that many Americans have regarding our rights. Primary education requirements does not properly educate us as Americans of our specific rights when engaging with law enforcement. The purpose of this topic choice is to research and explore engagements with law enforcement and identify different implications that result from those engagements, such as confinement. I feel strongly about this research topic particularly because of my own experiences. In addition, I believe others can benefit from this research as well, as it affects everyone regardless of race, religion, or socioeconomic status.
This topic will build on existing case studies and discussions to develop thought provoking dialogue which will attempt to answer the topic question. I will seek to interview at least two police officers and search for online academic research for supporting documentation. Additionally, I plan to acquire information from a recent publication titled The New Jim Crow which reflects on the implications that stem from law enforcement interactions.
Understanding nuances regarding law enforcement are critical, and misinterpretations can lead to unforeseen outcomes. Simple, yet innocent movements can be interpreted as resisting an arrest or displaying aggressive behavior. This is of special interest to me because of personal encounters with police officers and how cultural stereotypes impacted my experiences. This research essay will invoke conversations of how expanded police powers to detain people for suspicion means we are all vulnerable and should be aware of the implications of those engagements. Additionally, it will help to underscore what protected rights you have and how to assert them.
In conclusion, this research will be impactful to current conversations across America concerning the role law enforcement officers play as first responders on freedoms lost. This information is important for all citizens and has a personal connection with me as someone who has experienced these engagements with varying results. This essay will underscore that citizen participation and social equality are hallmarks of a democratic society and is significant to the effectiveness and success of our American democracy. Finally, this topic will examine how rights given to us by the constitution challenge the accountability of the American government in support of all citizens.
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