Police Brutality – An Overview

Police Brutality has long been a topic of discussion, both in the United States and worldwide.  In our public syllabi, we aim to look at some of the many articles and other accounts that discuss police brutality.  From social movements such as #blacklivesmatter to the idea of racism within police brutality, we examine the many issues that have been raised.  How does a police officer decide when it is right to shoot?  How long has police brutality existed?  What other countries is police brutality occurring in?  Our public syllabi answers all these questions along with many others.

Reading List:

General Idea of Police Brutality:

Direct Cause of Police Brutality

Public Opinion Toward Police Brutality

The Feelings in Law Enforcement Process

Deep-rooted Causes

Stereotype in Law enforcement


Negative Effect

Divided Society

Minorities Pressure



Social Movement

Education of Police Brutality toward Minorities

Global Police Brutality

Some Transformation

Race and Police Brutality: Roots of an Urban Dilemma

Police officers respond to a call in a minority neighborhood they may experience heightened anxiety of the unknown they are about to walk into. One the other hand, the minority members fear for the possible unfair treatment they may encounter from the police officer when they arrive at the scene of they are called. This study looks at these scenarios and the experiences individuals face in these police situations.


Shedd, Carla. 2009. “Race and police brutality: roots of an urban dilemma.” Choice Reviews Online 47(03).




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“Can We All Get Along?” Blacks’ Historical and Contemporary (In) Justice With Law Enforcement.

Rodney King is known by many as the face of police brutality in America.  This study takes a in depth look at quotes from Rodney King and gives us a sense of his thought process and what he thought of himself prior to his death.  King gained his fame from his death and gave reason for many Americans like him to think differently about the police force.  In the findings of this study the researchers found that King was not against the police force but instead supported the idea of no violence.  These quotes acknowledge King’s appreciation for the struggles of former Civil Rights activists, they also recognize his frustrations with the current legal system. This study could be beneficial for those interested in better understanding Rodney King prior to his death and what he stood for.


Chaney, Cassandra and Ray Robertson. n.d. “”Can We All Get Along?” Blacks’ Historical and Contemporary (In) Justice With Law Enforcement.” Western Journal of Black Studies38(2):108–22.




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Remembering Rodney King: Myth, Racial Reconciliation, and Civil Rights History

This article takes a hard detailed look at Rodney King’s life when comes to what he stood for life. Rodney King as a man was a forgiving and simple individual who experienced a lot of discrimination for his race but rather than result in violence he forgave almost as if it was similar to a child forgiving someone. If you are interested in Rodney King as what his beliefs were this article would be beneficial.


Maurantonio, Nicole. 2014. “Remembering Rodney King.” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 91(4):740–55.




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Positive and negative intergroup contact predict Black and White Americans’ judgments about police violence against Black Americans

Stereotypes are everywhere in society whether we notice them or not. Police officers are positively or negatively stereotyped as well as African Americans being stereotyped the same. This study looks at the initial judgement people have when seeing a police officer stopping a individual. More often than not it was a White police officer stopping a African American suspect. Many viewed this a possible discrimination and racial profiling towards African Americans. Situations presented like these are why police officers have bad reputations in the minorities opinion.


Hayward, Lydia E., Matthew J. Hornsey, Linda R. Tropp, and Fiona Kate Barlow. 2017. “Positive and negative intergroup contact predict Black and White Americans judgments about police violence against Black Americans.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 47(11):605–15.




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In the Shadows of Ferguson: The Role of Racial Resentment on White Attitudes towards the use of Force by Police in the United States.

Following the incident in Ferguson and the riots that followed, many assumed white police officers had a racial resentment towards African Americans.  Racial resentment is a newer racial term to describe a white individuals discrimination towards a African American.This study takes a look at these racial resentments using previously found information. The researchers came to the conclusion that racial resentment is a state a individual officer can be in, it is not a trait individuals grow up with.


Carter, J. Scott and Mamadi Corra. 2016. “Racial Resentment and Attitudes Toward the Use of Force by Police: An Over-Time Trend Analysis.” Sociological Inquiry 86(4):492–511.




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An examination of police stops and youths’ attitudes toward police: Do interracial encounters matter?

Growing up there is a natural social disrespect towards police officers. This research study takes an in depth look to where we learn this social disrespect towards police officers. The researchers found many officers stop individuals in gangs or individuals of a minority race more often than other social groups. Minority races take notice to the amount of times they  get stopped or troubled by the police and this creates a negative feeling towards the police force.  Police officers being more aware of these actions could help with discrimination towards the Police force.


Flexon, Jamie L., Richard G. Greenleaf, Dustin S. Dariano, and Dorian Gibson. 2015. “An examination of police stops and youths’ attitudes toward police: Do interracial encounters matter?” Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice 14(1):21–39.




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Police Use of Improper Force: A Systematic Review of the Evidence

How often does a Police Officer use improper force and is there a commonality behind which officers are in these situations. This study goes over both of those topics as the researchers perform a systematic review on existing evidence of these police cases. The researchers found that there were common situation to where a officer used improper force and for these situations the suspects were either minorities or individuals under the influence.  Many of these officers who are caught in these instances are younger, inexperienced officers. Possibly more extensive and better quality training could be implemented to help this issue.


Harris, Christopher J. 2009. “Police Use of Improper Force: A Systematic Review of the Evidence.” Victims & Offenders 4(1):25–41.



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How Suspect Race Affects Police Use of Force in an Interaction Over Time.


Racial stereotypes influence many peoples views on life in society today. This article takes an interesting observation of how differently police officers use force towards different races.  Police officers are often scrutinized in the media for their unfair treatment towards minorities compared to a white population and this study supports that statement. Surprisingly, over time during interactions between an officer and a suspect the researchers found more force was used toward the white suspects than the minority suspects.


Kahn, Kimberly Barsamian, Joel S. Steele, Jean M. Mcmahon, and Greg Stewart. 2017. “How suspect race affects police use of force in an interaction over time.” Law and Human Behavior41(2):117–26.



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