10 Critical Essay Topics on Police Brutality

Topics and ideas
Posted on June 15, 2016

If you are tasked with writing a critical essay on police brutality, you may be unsure of what facts would best substantiate your case. For this reason, and many more, you will find a list of helpful facts below which can be used to help you write your next piece:

  1. The vast majority of American police officers feel strongly that the use of force beyond that which is legal is not acceptable. Nonetheless cases of extreme abuse of authority do take place infrequently. Many departments will take tough stands against police abuse and at times, many fellow officers disregard this and use more force than is necessary when they make an arrest. On that note, the officers who witness this unnecessary use of force ignore the conduct.
  2. In order to mitigate the high rates of police brutality training and education must be integrated into the modern police force. First line supervisors in tandem with department chiefs play a critical role in the prevention of abuse among police officers. Policies which are community oriented have very little impact in reducing the abuse of authority among police officers. More importantly, black and non-black police officers hold very different views about the impact that race and socio-economic background has on the likelihood that police officers will abuse someone.
  3. The code of silence is among one of the worst culprits of continued police brutality. Officers face serious struggles reporting other officers. There is a big gap found between the attitudes that officers hold about reporting other unit members and the actions that they take. Even if officers do not believe that they should protect those who conduct themselves illegally, they will not often turn in officers whom they know have broken the law. Over 80% of police officers surveyed reported that they do not accept the idea of the “Code of Silence”, which refers to remaining quiet in the face of other officers engaging in misconduct, is necessary in order for police officers to maintain mutual levels of trust among one another. However, nearly one quarter of the same surveyed group agreed that whistle blowing on others is not worth the hassle that accompanies it and two thirds of that group reported that the officers who do report other officers for misconduct are given the cold shoulder. That same group reported that as a result, almost all officers will simply turn a blind eye.
  4. There is a significant gap between the thoughts held about reporting other officers and the actions taken by other officers such that 61% of officers surveyed stated that police officers rarely report serious criminal violations which involve another officer abusing their authority.
  5. There is a significant role played by the race, class, and demeanor of those involved. Citizens who are disrespectful or show hostility toward the officer increase their chances of being arrested. What’s more, research from the Police Foundation indicates that American police officers are evenly divided as to whether officers are more likely to arrest someone who shows what the officer in question believes to be a “bad attitude”. Half strongly disagree that showing a bad attitude increases the chances of being arrested while the other half feel that it strongly does.
  6. Some studies indicate that 17% of officers treat whites better than other minorities. An addition 11.1% of officers indicated that they believed more violence was shown toward blacks compared to whites. Another 14% stated that officers should use increased physical force against those who are poor compared to those who are middle class and in the exact same criminal situation. The responses indicate that white police officers believe that class and race are not important with regard to abuse of authority, but police officers who are black or another minority view the opposite.
  7. One study reviewed 1,565 cases and the results from that review indicates that reasonable force was used in 3.3% of cases with excessive force used in 1.8% of cases. This indicates that the use of excessive force constituted 35% of the daily encounters. This information was collected and reviewed in 1980 and since then the ability to garner the same level of insight into the frequency of excessive force has been significantly more challenges because of difficulties collecting such data and a lack of reports by other officers.
  8. Police forces have comparatively low psychological requirements to other federal or government branches where weapons are used. The lower psychological requirements and lower education levels results in increasing numbers of officers who regularly use excessive power. This, in tandem with the code of silence which often is enforced, results in the abusers being allowed to do as they please and not being stopped.
  9. In American the majority of officers do not approve of the use of excessive force. But a substantial minority do believe that using more than is necessary in a given situation is sometimes permissible. 30% of officers surveyed believed that police officers are not allowed to use the maximum amount of allowed force when they make arrests. Yet another 25% agreed that controlling someone who is assaulting an officer requires the use of more than what is the legal and allowable amount of force. In addition to this, 40% believe that using more force than necessary does not allow them to get their jobs done properly.
  10. The vast majority of surveyed police officers do not think that other officers use excessive force but 4.1% of officers regularly use more physical force than is necessary in a given situation. The issue here lies in the fact that the few who do are not reported by their fellow officers even if they witness it and this gives them a clean report. Having a clean report allows said officers to continue in their abuse of power and authority without the need to worry about being reported. Without the reports being filed, the individuals who oversee the fight against police brutality are unable to see a problem and therefore unable to fix it.

Police brutality doesn’t stop to bother people because the stats of abusing the authoritative power are only growing. That’s why it’s necessary to write about this. As a result we also gathered sample topics on police brutality with a sample essay that will show you the idea of a proper paper. Moreover, you may use our tutorial on writing a critical essay. With all of this you’ll certainly know how to write a superb text.


Bandes, Susan. “Patterns Of Injustice: Police Brutality In The Courts”. SSRN Electronic Journal n. pag. Web.
Bartollas, Clemens, and Larry D Hahn. Policing In America. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1999. Print.
Bayley, David H., and Sailendra Misra. “Police Brutality: An Analysis Of Police Behaviour.”. The Journal of Asian Studies 47.1 (1988): 184. Web.
Brandl, Steven G, and David E Barlow. The Police In America. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2004. Print.
Champion, Dean J. Police Misconduct In America. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2001. Print.
Cothran, Helen. Police Brutality. San Diego, Calif.: Greenhaven Press, 2001. Print.
Dudley, William. Police Brutality. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1991. Print.

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