Police brutality in the United States
While the term police brutality is usually applied in the context of causing physical harm, it may also involve psychological harm through the use of intimidation tactics beyond the scope of officially sanctioned police procedure. In the past, those who engaged in police brutality may have acted with the implicit approval of the local legal system, e.g. during the
The word brutality has several meanings; the sense used here (savage cruelty) was first used in 1633. The term police brutality has been in use since at least 1833 when it appeared in the London paper
Efforts to combat police brutality focus on various aspects of the police subculture, and the aberrant psychology which may manifest itself when individuals are placed in a position of absolute authority over others. Specific suggestions for how to decrease the occurrence of police brutality include body cameras and civilian review boards.
Numerous doctrines, such as
In the United States, the passage of the
Police brutality can be associated with
The war model of policing has been offered as a reason for why police brutality occurs. Through this model, police brutality is more likely to occur because police see crime as a war and have people who are their enemies. Police who have been exposed to war have more than a 50% higher rate of excessive force complaints than non-veterans according to internal Boston PD documents.
Academic theories such as the threat hypothesis and the community violence hypothesis have been used to explain police brutality. The threat hypothesis implies that "police use force in direct response to a perceived threat from racial and/or economic groups viewed as threatening to the existing social order". According to the community violence hypothesis, "police use force in direct response to levels of violence in the community". This theory explains that force is used to control groups that threaten the community or police themselves with violence.