In the last several years, we've seen things spiral out of control between white police officers and African-Americans, as it would appear a number of officers have a "shoot first, ask questions later" mentality.
In 1959, however, police had other issues, particularly trying to stem gang violence, not involving African-Americans, but Italian-Americans.
The producers of Robert Taylor's crime drama, The Detectives, addressed this topic in the season 1 episode, "Shot in The Dark", just the 2nd episode of the season. A patrolman with just 18 months on the job (Lin Hamilton) shoots a teenage boy, thinking the lad had a real gun. The boy's older brother and his friends, however, have their own ideas about how to deal with the officer.