Communication is an essential aspect of any event. This is because, failure to communicate effectively leads to a lot of misunderstanding and people murmuring all over. This is especially when the issue is sensitive and touching on human life that appears to be endangered in the arms of those who are supposed to take care of it. This leads to lack of trust in such people as the government or police agencies. This paper presents a recent scandal that happened in April 2015, in Baltimore. It involved a twenty-five-year-old Freddie Gray who died in police custody. What stirred up people’s emotions is that this happened just shortly after he was taken into custody. The truth that this was not the initial incidence in Baltimore made citizens furious and they took into the streets to fight for justice.
The residents complained of having suffered from such occurrences frequently as the department of justice was trying to hide some evidence concerning a homicidal misconduct by the law of killing Walter Scott. Whatever reason they killed him no one knows but then the public felt the pain of yet another young souls taken so that the department of justice could hide their heinous plans.
This killing of a person just shortly after being taken into custody pained most of the People and the Media was not left out in covering the story. This story was published on the internet and also in the Baltimore sun magazine. The media, as it is known sparks a broad range of reactions from the public and does not use parables to address issues. Therefore, when the incidence happened, the media covered it making the public take to the streets to demand justice. The agency was wrong in that they first arranged the homicide of Walter Scott, then arrested the wrong person, who was now Freddie Gray. The fact that they knew he was innocent and maybe had some information about what had happened, they decided to eliminate him too so that they could destroy the evidence. This an impunity of the highest order.
The justice department should not have killed Freddie and should have used him to get more information about the incidence. Killing him was like adding salt to the wound that was already existing in the hearts of the public. This is because, even after the media brought the truth to the limelight, the agency did not bother to respond to the allegations and just kept mum and continued with their corrupt ways of working. This showed how much they devalue the residents and were not after serving them but benefiting themselves through such corrupt tendencies.
The agency involved, in this case, was the Department of Justice, and the only communication they made was about the homicidal act of killing Walter and taking Freddie in custody as the prime suspect.
After this people got reports that Freddie has died which was unusual. Following the many instances of misconduct that had happened the public were suspicious of him having to be killed brutally by the police. The report that Freddie Gray had died stirred up painful emotions in the public and it only worsened the condition that was already there. This is because, the people of Baltimore had experienced police brutality before and they knew it was the order of the day. Therefore, the report added more insult to them and was the worst ever to have been reported.
The public responded to the report by taking to the streets and swearing that they would not believe any information from the agency anymore. This communication was ineffective since it did not have any details of whatever killed him but was only stating about the death. The communication could have been more efficient if the agency had produced an excellent report and evidence that the death resulted from an inevitable occurrence such as illness. This if it were to be accompanied by genuine supporting documents and communicated well, then the response of the public and the media would have been different from what was witnessed.
Freddie, having been a man and not a man was bound to stand on his ground and prove his innocence before the court. This is one factor that the brutal police considered when killing him. Was the case involving a woman, then the case would have been different. This is because, the police know that women are weak and get terrified by small things such as beatings and threats.
Therefore, the gender of the suspect, being male contributed to the action that the agency took. The agency did not take the initiative to employ any conflict management the community level but instead used threats and police officers used tear gas to disperse the demonstrating public. This was a very poor way of responding to the public and they could have sought to solve the public’s grievances other than threatening them.
The public and the media have a very negative expectation from the agency in the future. The reason being that the agency did not take the initiative of setting precedents for future expectations. Therefore, the public are living in fear of another tragedy happening as a result of the agency’s impunity actions and the media on the other hand are eagerly waiting for another scandal to happen so that they can publish and continue proving to the public how brutal and corrupt the agency is. All this has resulted from the negative response that the public receive from the agency when they try to cry for their rights. The agency can now look and see how their arrogance has costed them the lack of trust by the people they are serving. As much as the agency will pretend not to feel the pinch, with time they will have to change the way they handle their job and the resident’s lives.
If I were in a position to develop a communications strategy, I would have put into practice the techniques of crucial conversations. This is because, this was a very sensitive matter that required proper understanding and effective communication. Therefore, I would use strategies such as ensuring I hold a conversation with the agency so as to get the true matter of the story. By so doing the agency would get the appropriate way of communicating with the public since I would give them the appropriate advice according to the weight of the scandal. This would ensure the public receive the news from a calm and composed professional who is out to present the information as it is without painting a bad picture of the agency or the media. There would be no blame game and everyone would be contented with the information.
I would also ensure I have mastered the story, explored the path of the agency and shared my ideas with the agency without any fear or hiding anything. This would enable the agency to open up also and share their ideas too since they would feel confident about the person representing them. More so, I would make a point of talking to the media so as to ensure, any information released to the public is not suggestive of a blame game, but adequately informative. This would in turn ensure that the media presents the right information to the public without provoking them to take to the streets.
A crucial conversation is any conversation where the stakes are high, emotions run strong and opinions vary. If you can master crucial conversations, rather than fear your tough conversations, you’ll kick-start your career, strengthen your relationships, and improve your health. Most basic techniques used will include face to face communication and dialogue. Face to face communication enhance quick response to emotions that arise and agreements are easily reached. On the other hand dialogues bring negotiations into action where proper and sound agreements are reached. These techniques are thus of great importance in the crucial conversations, Pierce, B. (2014).
In conclusion, communication concerning criminal justice has been highly ineffective and should be addressed with immediate effect. This will put an end to the continuing police brutality and corruption as well as citizens crying every day in the streets. It is upon the criminal justice agencies and the media to strategize ways in which communication can be effective so as to avoid these misunderstanding and wrangles witnessed on a daily basis. The governments should come up with a plan of how ineffective justice agencies should be disciplined so that they can respect their job and the rights of their residents.
Pierce, B. (2014). Become a coach leader one conversation at a time: Learn to engage in crucial conversations to build loyalty, trust and connection. Canada: Coaching Horizons.