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It should really be called assault. The phrase "police brutality" is such a fluffy nice phrase that really doesn't do justice to what is happening. A police officer is someone with power. The power in their uniform, their gun, their discretion to enforce the law and the tendency of that law to protect them.

The greatest issue with "police brutality" is that it is a violation of an unwritten social contract of trust given to police officers by the community.


When a police officer assaults a citizen the ripples of that assault are far greater than the physical pains experienced by the victim. It impacts those who witness the assault in how they interact with police in the future. The community is impacted by the assault and retells the story as a warning to others.

After an assault police departments fall into line, the blue line. The united front administering the same message but rarely admonishing the assault. The department's support of their own further alienates the department from the community and destroys the trust the community may have initially given the department. Officers who disagree are forced in line with passive threats from bullies and it is those bullies that silence good officers that end up being the bad seeds who abuse their power and tarnish the badge.

It is these bullies that further alienate the department from the community which creates greater danger for officers and citizens.

When I read stories about bad officers these are the thoughts that run through my head. The most recent one with an officer assaulting the woman in Pittsburgh at PrideFest was particularly upsetting. My husband's favorite event to work is Pride Parade. He loves the sense of community at that event and he loves all the requests to "take a picture with the hot cop." He still doesn't understand this assault and in his officer mentality keeps asking "but what did she do." This phrase is victim blaming but in his defense no matter how many times he has watched the video he doesn't understand why this happened.


My husband is "one of the good ones" but sometimes I wonder if he will always be "one of the good ones."

ETA: my apologies for editing errors. I'm trying to proofread but I wrote this pretty quick at work.


EagainTA: I wanted to include the exact definition of police brutality. It is why I take issue. It is such a broad all encompassing phrase that doesn't address the level of physical violence occurring or the other violations of trust/power that are happening. This is what I think of and I'm not sure if that has to do with my own background but I thought it was interesting the responses from people who hear "police brutality" as worse than assault which is good.

Police brutality is the use of excessive and/or unnecessary force by police when dealing with civilians. "Excessive use of force" means a force well beyond what would be necessary in order to handle a situation.

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