Skip navigation

Police brutality has had a long history in the U.S. In the early days of policing, acts of mass brutality were usually attributed to the poor labor workers. From the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, to the Pullman Strike of 1894, the Lawrence textile strike of 1912, the Ludlow massacre of 1914, the Steel strike of 1919, and the Hanapepe massacre of 1924, the police would brutally beat striking laborers. Next came Prohibition, The Civil Rights Movement, The Vietnam War and the Nixon administration which all had large scale acts of police brutality spanning from the 20s through the 60s.
However, it did not stop there. Police misconduct and brutality is still very much a problem in our country.
“An extensive U.S. Department of Justice report on police use of force released in 2001 indicates that in 1999, “approximately 422,000 people 16 years old and older were estimated to have had contact with police in which force or the threat of force was used.”[10] Another Department of Justice report issued in 2006 shows that out of 26,556 citizen complaints about excessive use of police force among large U.S. agencies (representing 5% of agencies and 59% of officers) in 2002, about 2000 were sustained.[11]
However, other studies have shown that most police brutality goes unreported. In 1982, the federal government funded a “Police Services Study” in which over 12,000 randomly selected citizens were interviewed in three metropolitan areas. The study found that 13 percent of those surveyed had been victims of police brutality the previous year. Yet only 30 percent of those who acknowledged such brutality filed formal complaints.[12] A 1998 Human Rights Watch report stated that in all 14 precincts which it examined, the process of filing a complaint was “unnecessarily difficult and often intimidating” (
Many social justice issues rise out of this. The police have been abusing their power throughout much of U.S. history and creating fearful environments in many cities when they should be making people feel safe. Minorities appear to be the main targets of this violence as well. “In 2002, 32 individuals were shot to death in questionable circumstances, with 90% of the victims being Black or Hispanics, and over 50% of the shooters being Caucasian. In 2003, 17 individuals have been shot to death, with 90% of the victims being Black or Hispanic, while two-thirds of the shooters were Caucasian” ( It could be said that this is racism, or it could be said that this is a case of the underrepresented lower class of our nation being profiled as criminals. Either way, it creates fear and fear is not justice.
Many would say that in this post 9/11 world that police action is needed more and greater precautions should be taken. “Numerous human rights observers have raised concerns about increased police brutality in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. An extensive report prepared for the United Nations Human Rights Committee tabled in 2006 states that in the United States, the “War on Terror” has “created a generalized climate of impunity for law enforcement officers, and contributed to the erosion of what few accountability mechanisms exist for civilian control over law enforcement agencies. As a result, police brutality and abuse persist unabated and undeterred across the country” (
My view on this subject is that their should definitely be more people watching the police and more police getting punished for the misconduct which they commit. I lost a brother in 2002 because of the police making a fatal mistake which they later denied, and when you look at the statistics, even if you don’t see it as a great problem, it must be recognized as a problem nonetheless and something must be done about it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: