While continuing my research the further in depth more questions began to arise. Moving closer to more recent years, allowed for more sources overall however still presented many limits. Many of the cases are currently still be reviewed or are going through the legal process currently. This was one of the challenges I faced while completing this research.
I began to contemplate what factors play a role in the shootings that perhaps aren’t as obvious or as apparent as race or gender. One factor that I began considering is mental health. I became curious as to what the mental state of both the officer who committed the shooting and the victim of the shooting was on the date of the shooting.
I was curious to how many of these victims had diagnosed or undiagnosed illnesses that led to their victimization at the hands of police? Perhaps if these illnesses were diagnosed or treated the victim would have never been in the situation to get shot or injured in the first place. On the other hand, how many police officers had diagnosed or undiagnosed illnesses that made them more prone to the discharging of their weapon? As a psychology minor having basic knowledge that mental health impairs decision making. I came to the realization that there is a need for research in this topic. Mental health is stigmatized in social media. It is a very delicate topic, therefore leaving a hole in research on this aspect. The mental health of the officer, who was involved in the shooting might present certain symptoms of this social issue. Associating mental health with law enforcement might further cause tensions between law enforcement and citizens.
One take away from this project, which I really enjoyed was being able to use my knowledge from Criminal Justice and Psychology to look at aspects a certain way with certain perspectives. It provided different types of insights and complimented my work.
Moving forward these questions and thoughts are ones that I will keep in mind when drawing overall conclusions of the research. I plan on continuing my work in this research because it is imperative to my field and also current to this time period.
My research consists of finding the facts on the litigation that takes place after police shootings in the United States. As a Criminal Justice major on the path to becoming a lawyer this research fascinates me because it involves my area of study, criminal law. I started off this research project with a few misconceptions. One of them being, how easy I thought the information I was trying to find would come to me. My faculty mentor and I started with cases from 2009. Quickly realizing I was ending up with more questions than answers, I decided I would move down to a more recent date. I began realizing that the probable answer to the lack of information is the pro-activeness of media from six years ago which evidently is not the same as it is today. After countless hours of searching through articles and find very few facts I decided I had to take another step further.
I realized if I wanted answers I had to ask questions, but who would have the answers to these questions and where? That’s when I was certain, that although it was not asked of me to, I had to begin making calls. I began calling various police departments across the county asking for public records of the incidents. After speaking to various people, police officers, sergeants, clerks etc.. and getting transferred to various departments I would finally get sent to the correct point of contact. This process is difficult in the sense that each police department and county has different acts and laws on the information that they make available to the public.
For example, In California thanks to the freedoms of information act I was able to put a request in for a particular case that happened in Moreno Valley. Moreno Valley falls under the jurisdiction of the Riverdale Sherrif’s Media and Information Bureau. I have yet to hear back with the answer to my request. I am waiting anxiously to see where this leads and me and how many more phone calls I have to make.
Being a researcher goes beyond reading and writing, it is about going above and beyond in the pursuit of answers. We are still hopeful to be able to find correlations between the lawsuits and the demographics of the subjects involved in the shootings.