Police brutality


Author’s name



The main focus of this research study is the problem of policebrutality in the United States, as well as in other parts of world.The research seeks to find out what police brutality is and thevarious remedies for curbing police brutality. Information wasgathered through research on the internet, government websites andthrough interviews and questionnaires. was found outto be increasing an alarming rate. Law enforcement officers seemed torepeat their brutal actions after being acquitted of any wrong doing(Holmes &amp Smith, 2008). The law enforcement department is meantto be a civilized department which respects the rule of law and alsoworks within morals. Brutality in the police force was not onlyviewed as an illegal act, but also as immoral and publiclyunacceptable. It is clear that police brutality remains one of theextremely serious human violations element in the United States.

The problem of police brutality is a widespread problem across theUnited States and across the world as well. There are numerousdocumented cases of police brutality across world, which calls forimmediate action to resolve the problem. can beviewed as the immense of force by the police officers on individualssuspected of a crime (Holmes &amp Smith, 2008). More often than not,policy brutality has been directed towards people belonging todisfavored groups, gender or races. From the police brutalityincident involving Rodney King in Los Angeles in 1991 to the case ofAmadou Diallo in 1999 in New York, it abundantly clear that policebrutality is an ongoing aspect in the United States and across theworld.

The most unfortunate issue regarding police brutality is that amajority of the officers involved go unpunished. For instance, thefour officers involved in the brutality of Rodney King were notconvicted until there were widespread protests. It is evident thatthe police force should be composed of disciplined officers whouphold human dignity (Nelson, 2010). It is unlawful for an officer toharm a suspect either physically or psychologically since everyperson has his or her own civil rights. It is clear that even thecriminals who are part of the society have their own civil rights.

The main reason why police brutality continue to persist across themajor cities in America and the world is due to the existence ofoverwhelming barriers to accountability. Police officers involved inbrutal activities are hardly punished. The police systems presentseem to protect the officers and they seem immune. When guiltyofficers are acquitted, they are bound to repeat their actions orinfluence others to do the same (Nelson, 2010). It is also evidentfrom research that any complaints against police brutality are facedwith immense difficulty and bureaucracies in trying to have theinvolved officers punished. The prominence and continuous existenceof police brutality against suspects needs an immediate solution. Thepolice officers have the duty to serve the public and not to harassthem. is not only illegal, but also immoral. Thepolice force should comprise of disciplined and civilized people whounderstand and value the rights of the people. Whereas policeofficers may claim that they employ excessive force only inaberration, it is clear that excessive force is not the remedy. Inmost cases, the law enforcers apply force even after the suspect hassurrendered. This is clearly represented by the case of Robert Leonwho was physically assaulted and abused by officers (Holmes &ampSmith, 2008). This was after he surrendered to the said officers. Hiscase was considered worse than that of Rodney King. Just as in theother incidents, the culpable officers were not subjected to justice.This was despite the availability of video evidence that was takenfrom the camera in the police car.

Purpose of the study

This study seeks to answer various questions with regard to policebrutality. The following points highlight the main purposes of thisstudy

  1. What constitutes police brutality

  2. Why do law enforcement officers engage in brutal activities against suspects

  3. Is police brutality protected by the law

  4. Has there been any police officers who have been convicted due to brutality

  5. What are the various forms of police brutality

  6. Where are most cases of police brutality occur

  7. What are the various measures of dealing with police brutality

  8. Are there immediate plans to curb police brutality

Statement of the problem

is a prevalent and continuous problem that simminent across the world. The problem is mostly evident in majorcities of the world. Such instances only present a small percentageof the overall cases of police brutality that go unreported orunrecorded. Numerous police officers who have been engaged in policebrutality have gone unpunished. This has in turn attracted protestsfrom the members of the public who demand for accountability.Suspected officers claim that they use excessive force only inaberration. The United States has had numerous recorded cases ofpolice brutality and yet the involved officers are never punished bythe justice system. It is prudent to have a justice system that willcater for the interest of the entire population. Police officersshould not physically or psychologically harm suspects and gounpunished.

What the research seeks to find

The main purpose of this study is to find out the reasons behind theengagement in brutality by police officers. It is evident that thereare clearly laid down procedures of handling suspects includingcriminals. It is therefore baffling that there has been numerousincidents of brutality in the United States. The research study alsoseeks to find out the various measures that exists that are meant todeal with issues of brutality. Additionally, the research study seeksto find amount the various actions by police officers that amount tobrutality. It is clear that brutality in the police force is not onlyphysical, but also be psychological. Since research has shown thatthere has been numerous recorded cases of police brutality, thisstudy sought to find out whether there has been any officers who havebeen convicted as a result of engaging in brutal activities.

Literature review

has been defined as any action by a law enforcementofficer that involves tremendous use of force in such a way that itresults in physical harm of the suspect. Additionally, policebrutality has been broadened to include verbal attacks, as well asany other psychological intimidation by law enforcement officers.Recent studies have shown that police brutality is mainly subjectedto minority groups. This may be form of physical harm, verbal attacksor psychological intimidation (Holmes &amp Smith, 2008). During the1990s, there was white dominance in the United States and people ofother races were discriminated and mistreated by the white lawenforcement officers. Such incidents necessitated the expansion ofwhat constitutes police brutality. Issues such as sexual abuse, falsearrest, corruption and surveillance abuse have been included in thelist of police brutality elements (Nelson, 2010). Previous researchhas indicated that police brutality is widespread across manycountries in the world.

The problem of police brutality has been there for decades. TheChicago Tribune first reported a case of police brutality in 1872.This was a case of a civilian who was arrested and beaten heartlesslyat Harrison street police station. has not only beenassociated with individual victims, but also with groups of people.Participants of labor strikes have been major victims of policebrutality. Examples of large scale brutality include the GreatRailroad Strike of 1877 and the Hanapepe massacre of 1924 (Roleff,2012). There are numerous documented cases of police brutality acrossthe world. For instance, China is widely known for political protestswhich have been broken up by riot police. A major example is theTiananmen Square protests of 1989 where police used force to dispersethe crowd.

According to previous studies, it is evident that cases of policebrutality are extremely common. It was not long ago that a lawenforcement officer beat a woman suspected of shoplifting in Iowa toan extent that she carried to the hospital. It is unfortunate tostate that the beating occurred in front her daughter. It was alsoreported recently that police officers had physically assaulted amentally ill man in Stockton. These are just but a few isolated caseswhich depict the misconduct that is imminent in the police force.Previous research studies have shown that there are various causes ofpolice brutality (Holmes &amp Smith, 2008). To start with, it isclear that there are no provisions for reporting cases of brutality.The federal government does not provide for the reporting ofbrutality incidents from the police departments. Equally, a majorityof cities and states have no procedures for reporting excessive useof force by law enforcement officers.

Mike Riggs, a journalist, has cited some sections of the law thatallow police officers to act contrary to the same law that they serveto protect. The “law enforcement bill of rights” has beendescribed as a section of the law that shields police officers fromthe law they are meant to enforce. The journalist cites incidentssuch as the one involving Officer Edward Krawetz from Lincoln PoliceDepartment. He was recorded beating a hand cuffed woman on the head.He was convicted and later acquitted. This is a case where the policedepartment wanted to punish the officer, but the judge sort to acquithim of all the charges (Nelson, 2010). It is abundantly clear thatpolice officers’ job requires some tough decision making. They arefaced with tough situation in their daily operations. The officersmust make decisions in such a way the public does not second-judgethem. The police departments must also carry out thoroughinvestigations and review of the situation before convicting anofficer (Holmes &amp Smith, 2008). Although police officers may beallowed to use force by the law, it noteworthy stating that suchforce is only allowed to a certain extent.

The personality of some officers has been described as a causepolice misconduct. Whereas a majority of the law enforcement officersare civilized and peaceful, a few are violet and inconsiderate.Research based on interviews from police officers who involved inpolice misconduct indicated that they were young officers and most ofthem had personality disorders. The culture of the police system hasalso been viewed as a major cause of misconduct. The criminal justiceculture does not allow the prosecution to pursue the misconduct ofpolice officers (Roleff, 2012). The issue of racial profiling hasbeen cited severally as a primary cause of police brutality. Previousresearch has indicated that police officers tend to believe thatpeople from certain races deserve punishment. The black Americanshave been the main victims of police brutality in the United States.Crime has more often than not been associated with the blackAmericans hence the brutality. The police tend to believe that asingle member of a race represents the entire race.

The case of Rodney King, a black American, in 1991 in Los Angeleswas a major wake up call to the public, the police department, aswell as the entire criminal justice system. This incident was viewedas being racially motivated. The four law enforcement officers whowere videotaped by a bystander were acquitted of their charges. Thistriggered immense response from the people in form of protests whichin turn led to the death of over 50 people and numerous injuries.However, this was for a good course since reforms in the police forcestarted. After the protests, the four officers were later convictedand jailed. This clearly indicates that immunity that undisciplinedofficers have and the protection they receive from the policedepartment. The protests led to the formation of the ChristopherCommission which laid down the platform for reforms (Roleff, 2012).Since Rodney was a black American, many people who reacted to thevideo argued that the man was abused due to his race. It is vital toremember that this was a time when the white race was dominant in theUnited States over other races.

Research methodology

The research methods that the research applied were majorlyqualitative. The research study used questionnaires and interviews tocollect information. Research was also extensively conducted on theinternet, journals and books from the library. The interviewscomprised open ended questions. This was extremely essential as itallowed me to ask questions that were not initially set out but whichcame up in the course of the interview. The interview questions wereadministered to senior police officers at the departments, policeofficers and members of the public especially from the minoritygroups. These included women, disabled people and the minority racessuch as the black Americans. In total, the interviews were conductedto 20 people. It is worth noting that the interviews were extremelyeffective since the participants were willing to answer thequestions. Additionally, the interviews provided firsthandinformation. Clarifications on various answers and points could alsobe made promptly. Interviews are extremely effective since they canprovide the face to face experiences of the people with policebrutality. It is also clear that one would see the feeling of thepolice officers, as well as their attitude towards the issue ofpolice brutality.

Questionnaires were also used for this research. It imperative toset the point straight that the questionnaires were voluntary. Theparticipants were initially informed that the information they wouldgive would be treated with utmost privacy. 15 participants took partin the questionnaires where 10 of them were members of the public and5 were police officers. The questionnaires were made of structuredquestions. The data that was collected from the questionnaires waslater analyzed using discourse analysis. This analysis seeks toexpound on the results from the questionnaires. The questionnaireswere extremely useful since the participants had confidence due tothe trust between the research and them.

Research on the internet, books and journal was also another methodthrough which data was collected. There is immense informationdocumented with regard to police brutality. Since this problem hasbeen there for any decades, information about it was enormous on theinternet and books, as well as journals. Extreme care was taken whilegathering information form the internet. Information and data wasonly collected from genuine websites.

There were various challenges that were encountered during theresearch. Primary among them was the unwillingness by some people toparticipate in the interviews and the questionnaires. Secondly, biaswas another key problem while carrying out the research. Thedistribution of the questionnaires and conducting the interviewspresented a challenge in terms of time and distance. The location ofconducting the interviews was also a challenge since the intervieweeswere widely distributed.

Although the above challenges seem immense, it is essential to statethat they were all overcame. The participants were slowly convincedof their privacy after participating in the process of interviews andanswering the questionnaires. The research developed trust with theparticipants and therefore there was little room for bias. Theresearcher tried to gather the participants in one place to safeguardon time.


is not only an American problem, but a worldwideproblem that calls for immediate action. There are numerous recordedcases that the police departments can rely on to develop strategiesof dealing with officers who engage in misconduct. It is abundantlyclear that these are police officers who misuse their power toassault suspects (Roleff, 2012). Although there are laws allowingpolice to use excessive force in certain situations, it is clear thatthe same section of the law sets a limit on the amount of excessivean officer can use. Unfortunately, officers have gone further even tokill or beat suspects to an extent that they cannot walk. This isboth illegal and immoral and unacceptable by both the public and theauthorities.

The issue of racial profiling must be dealt with extensively andwith finality. Police officers are servants of the people and musttherefore serve all the people regardless of their races or countriesof origin. The few cases that have been cited in this research wereracially motivated. For instance, Rodney King was a black Americanand his mistreatment was associated with his race. This is anunfortunate situation in the police force. The worst aspect of theelement of police brutality is the failure by the criminal justicesystem to convict the offenders and jail them. This has led to someof officers to repeat similar activities since they are givenimmunity by the law. Whereas it is believable that law enforcementofficers face dire situation every day, they must make decisions thatwill not wrongly interpreted by the members of the public.


Holmes, M. D., &amp Smith, B. W. (2008).&nbspRace and policebrutality: Roots of an urban dilemma. Albany: State Universityof New York Press.

Roleff, T. L. (2012).&nbsp. San Diego: Greenhaven Press.

Nelson, J. (2010).&nbsp: An anthology. NewYork: W.W. Norton &amp Co.