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Police Brutality On The Rise

Schoolteacher Ester Pena was on her way to a Christian retreat last month when Frederick County, Maryland, deputies stopped her, yanked her out of her car, and shoved her around in handcuffs - all for driving too slowly, CBS News Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports.

Later that day, on the same road, deputies beat, pepper-sprayed, and released a police dog on a man who seemed to have been driving recklessly. However, the man was not a crazed criminal, but a diabetic suffering an insulin attack.

The advocacy group Human Rights Watch says incidents like these are all too common.

"There's nothing wrong with aggressively fighting crime," says Human Rights Watch's Ken Roth. "However, brutality need not and should not be part of aggressive policing."

Human Rights Watch studied 14 American cities and found the use of excessive force by police is clearly on the rise. Other major findings:

  • Minorities are much more likely to be victims.
  • Only a small percentage of officers are to blame, but they're often repeat offenders.
  • The officers are protected by fellow police and shoddy investigations.
Frederick County sheriff James Hagy defends the tactics used on Ester Pena. He says the arresting officer thought he saw her reach under her seat.

"We live in a society now that violence is commonplace," says Hagy. "And as a result of that, police work has taken a turn that a lot of people don't particularly care for, but it's an absolute necessity to stay alive now."

Reported by Sharyl Attkisson
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