Police Brutality: A Stain on American Society

Powerful Essays
Police brutality remains one of the most serious and divisive human rights violations in the United States. The excessive use of force by police officers persists because of overwhelming barriers to accountability. This fact makes it possible for officers who commit human rights violations to escape due punishment and often to repeat their offenses. Police or public officials greet each new report of brutality with denials or explain that the act was an aberration, while the administrative and criminal systems that should deter these abuses by holding officers accountable instead virtually guarantee them impunity (Williams 45).

Investigations find that police brutality is persistent in all cities, and the systems set up to deal with these abuses have all had similar failings in each city. It was also established that complainants often face enormous difficulty in seeking administrative punishment or criminal prosecution of officers who have committed human rights violations. A national survey was taken by the Seattle Times and states that seventy percent of all police crimes against the public go unreported (Database of Abusive Police). Despite claims to the contrary from city officials where abuses have become scandals in the media, efforts to make meaningful reforms have fallen short.

The scenarios are frighteningly similar from city to city. Shortcomings in recruitment, training, and management are common to all. So is the fact that officers who repeatedly commit human rights violations tend to be a small minority, but are still routinely protected by the silence of their fellow officers and by flawed systems of reporting. Another pervasive shortcoming is the scarcity of meaningful information about trends in abuse. Data...

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...rtunately that means it will never get the full attention of the mainstream culture and will remain a stain on American society.

Works Cited


Spotlight on police brutality, Retrieved on May 2, 2004, from the World Wide Web:

Shielded from Justice: Police Brutality and Accountability in the United States Retrieved on May 2, 2004, from the World Wide Web:


Williams, Brent. Shielded from justice : police brutality and accountability in the United States. New York, Washington, D.C. :Human Rights Watch, 1998

Burris, John L. Blue vs. Black : let's end the conflict between cops and minorities New York : St. Martin's Press, 1999


Chua-Eoan, Howard. "Black and Blue" Time, 6 March 2000: 24-27

Cohen, Adam "Gangsta Cop" Time, 6 March 2000: 30-34
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