Into the Judicial Limelight
By: Arnav Patel
Justice. Civil Rights. Compassion. American society is the supposed embodiment of these ideals, yet under the United States “unblemished” surface, there lies a turmoil deep rooted into the fabric of its history. Today, it has been said that contemporary times have brought contemporary solutions to bridge the divide among diverse facets of people. However, there is still avid unrest in the quiet corners of the US where calamity has struck. One such story is that of former college attendee, Yunek Moore.
In 2013, Yunek Moore recently graduated high school and was on her way to Millikin University in Illinois. One night, she was at her friend Cipriana’s house, where family and friends had gathered to celebrate their graduation. Nothing out of the ordinary seemed to be taking place at this party; all was light-hearted, until trouble stirred. Yunek exclaimed, “a bright light suddenly shone in my eyes”. What was this bright light? It was a flashlight from one of three police officers. These officers had been called by a local resident on account of loud disturbances coming from down the street. One person asked hoarsely for Yunek’s ID. Since Yunek did not understand the situation, she did not know what to do. All of a sudden, she was yanked away from her chair. The next moment showed the true nature and unaccountability of the police in this situation. Yunek was forcefully dragged across the yard, and after constant shoving and abuse, she was handcuffed and put in the back of a squad car. She was kept in a cell at Peoria County Jail until morning, and was constantly denied medical attention even though she was clearly in immense pain. Once being released from jail and being medically diagnosed, she revealed, “[she] had a torn labrum in [her] shoulder and an incapacitated wrist”. The extent of these injuries even scarred her mentally. She is now fearful of the police and the possibility of a repeated assault.
The police are meant to be a symbol of integrity and safety, yet when incidents like these occur across the United States, the authority they have becomes questionable. It is true that not all police are brutally ignorant or racist, but those who are pose a great risk to the image of law enforcement. Because of the ever-increasing complexity of criminal activity, certain levels of force are flexible depending on the intensity of the situation, but in no case, is it reasonable or legal to go against the words written in the US Constitution. With this in mind, let’s look at the 4th and 8th amendment.
The 4th amendment states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons…shall not be violated”. This amendment directly prevents unreasonable search and seizure of people and objects. The 8th amendment limits the actions taken after arrest stating, “nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted”. In the instance of Yunek Moore, both of these rules were broken. The police brutally assaulted her for no discernible reason and clear proof of this is shown in the rehabilitation she had to endure after her arrest. Additionally, the police did not have probable cause to arrest Yunek without a warrant. While inspecting the terms of the Constitution, their rash actions would be explicitly illegal, yet the police behaved as if this was their duty.
Sadly, this is not the last story of undeserved police brutality, nor is it the most extreme case. Recently, prejudice has begun to be more heavily scrutinized, and the media is full of horrible stories of racism. However, the hard truth is that many individuals experience this hate on a daily basis, and not enough people realize it or take actions to prevent it. Yunek is a part of the United States. Black Americans are a part of the United States. Therefore, they deserve the same respect and rights as any other majority in society.