Rigging the Game Chapter 6 "Regulating the Action" and police brutality - Essay Prowess

Rigging the Game Chapter 6 “Regulating the Action” and police brutality


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Rigging the Game Chapter 6 “Regulating the Action” and police brutality

What side bets keep people supporting the rigged game that is policing in the U.S.?

Safety of the officers, communities, and reduction of liability risks are some of the side bets that keep the use of force policy from where police brutality stems from in place. The inherent historical stereotype that creates a perception that black people are inherently dangerous has internalized hatred towards people of that race. In mundane involving black people, police officers use excessive force, assuming things may escalate quickly. People of other races believe in effective community policing and trust the police in keeping their communities safe. It is true that trust is an essential component of community policing. Communities build police through transparency of actions, whether involving brutality or not. Institute for Criminal Justice Education report shows that force is one of the main liability areas for law enforcement agencies. With civilian cell phone cameras, body-worn cameras, and security cameras everywhere, there is a high potential of capturing every moment involving the police. Police caught using excess force can negatively affect the department and significant repercussions to their officers and their leaders. Therefore, the use of force is highly supported by the officers since it helps them make better decisions at the moment to safeguard the incident’s aftermath. Such decisions reduce the risks of liability.

What identity stakes are involved? (Think about occupational, racial and class identities in particular).

As described in Michael Schwalbe’s book Rigging the Game, thinking of identity as a form of side bet to police brutality really puts identity in a different context. As I understood it, identity stake is the ability to claim a certain position because of a certain position or employment they hold. In the context of police brutality, structural racism dignifies the issue. White policemen still hold on that whites are superior to the blacks’ leads to decisions that culminate in the act of brutality. In another fact, black men want to prove to white policemen that white and black men are equal in thought and richness of their intellect. This may trigger violence. Custody and interrogation officers may also have a clear protocol to use excessive force to get what they want. The case of excessively exaggerated when interrogation officers happen to be white. In its widest sense, corrupt officers are not keen on promoting integrity, accountability and transparency when evaluating measures such as brutality.

What nets of accountability allow such violence to continue? Which groups are acting to preserve their power and privilege and holding each other accountable for doing so?

The blue wall of silence and other insular culture actions among police departments allow this violence to continue. The insular culture, denoted as the blue code, is an informal code of silence among officers not to report colleagues’ crimes, including brutality. If questioned, officers perjure themselves by being silent or feigning ignorance of another officer’s wrongdoing. With legal protections such as ‘qualified immunity,’ zero-tolerance policing, the militarization of police, and others such as ‘stop and frisk,’ police officers have the power to apply aggressive defense to such brutality acts, including resistance to change in police unions. The qualified immunity has actually been greatly criticized for letting brutal officers go unpunished and deny brutalized victims their constitutional rights. Activists and advocates are in the frontline to advocate for specific suggestions to combat police brutality. They suggest for improved police training, body cameras, and demilitarization of police. Defunding the police is the most recent suggestion aimed at averting funds allocated to police departments towards community and social services (Osse, 2016). Police involved in brutality are held accountable through civil lawsuits, including state causes of action and federal lawsuits.


Institute for Criminal Justice Education. (2020). Reducing Law Enforcement Liability Reviewing the High Risk Critical Areas By Chief Louis Zook. Institute for Criminal Justice Education. http://www.icje.org/articles/ReducingLawEnforcementLiability.pdf.

Osse, A. (2016). Handbook on police accountability, oversight and integrity. Retrieved from https://www.unodc.org/pdf/criminal_justice/Handbook_on_police_Accountability_Oversight_and_Integrity.pdf

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