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Police Brutality: Social Issue Research Paper

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Updated: Jan 25th, 2022


Police brutality is a serious issue that the current society is facing. The problem of police brutality is often associated with other social problems such as discrimination. One factor that makes police brutality such a significant problem is the perception of the public. Members of the public believe that police frequently take part in racial profiling mainly targeting black persons and handling minority suspects violently. However, an article by Steve, Holbert, and Lisa Rose in 2009 differed from this view. According to the article, the public’s perception of police’s use of force especially towards minority groups was wrong since statistics proved otherwise. Related statistics show that the police are more likely to use force towards white males who undoubtedly are a majority group and that the police only apply force to less than 1% of cases. Surprisingly, police force members believe that racial profiling among their workmates is rampant. The public is becoming so intolerant to police brutality to the extent that it ignores situations that warrant the use of force such as self-defense (Holbert, 2015). This paper explores the issue of police brutality and seeks to shed light on the perceptions of the public, especially the black minority.

Discussion of Police Brutality

The purpose of the article by Holbert and his colleagues is to enlighten their audience on the current incorrect perceptions of the public towards police brutality and racial profiling. The widespread beliefs about police brutality and racial profiling are likely to be emanating from people’s memories of bad events instead of focusing on good memories. Why do Blacks view themselves as targets of victimization especially by police when statistics suggest that white males are the most susceptible to police brutality? What makes Black people have a negative view towards police actions when statistics clearly show that police use force in less than 1% of all the incidences? It is not clear why members of the public and especially those from the black community have wrong perceptions of police brutality (Holbert, 2015). Members of the public judge the police likely depending on how the media portrays them. Reports on websites, televisions, and radios are likely to show the Police in a bad light. The main reason behind this is that the negative portrayal of the police is likely to attract greater attention when compared to the positive events. Most reports showing statistics relating to police brutality and racial profiling appear to be biased as they don’t put any effort in explaining the context in which the incidences of brutality took place. For example, statistics from copblock.org only show the ugly statistics but don’t explain why the incidences happened (Dantes, 2011). Since historically blacks were victims of segregation, history likely plays a part in making blacks have a predominantly negative perception of the police and government authority. I believe that the environment, both present, and past, has played a crucial role in shaping how people view members of the police force. This is because before someone forms an opinion about anything, he or she is influenced by the environment and his or her subjective experiences. In this situation, the environment has contributed immensely to shaping people’s attitudes about the police (Paul, 1997).

Intellectual Standards

Important intellectual standards in changing the public perception of police brutality are accuracy, breadth, and logic. If the public insists on the accuracy of factors that led to cruelty before believing released reports, it will be more likely to judge correctly whether the cases of brutality were justified. The breadth of the different aspects surrounding police brutality will allow one to consider all possible points of view before arriving at any conclusions (Paul, 1997).

Intellectual Virtues

Intellectual virtues that are important in resolving the issues discussed are intellectual empathy, intellectual perseverance, and intellectual humility (Paul, 1997). Intellectual empathy ensures that one will consider reasons that may make police use force such as self-defense before judging them in cases involving perceived police brutality. Having intellectual perseverance will enable one to see why the public might be irrational in judging the police based on what their environment dictates. Intellectual humility is important as it makes one slow to judge the public especially the Blacks on matters concerning police brutality. This is because one is likely to consider the possibility that he or she may not know everything relating to police brutality (Linda, 2007).

I applied deep learning in my understanding of the problem by ensuring that the thinking process in discussing the issue was developing step by step (Paul, 1997). The difference between this analysis and that of a minimalist student is that this one encompassed questioning every possible aspect of the problem while maintaining reason (Linda, 2007).


This paper’s discussion shows that it is not easy to grasp all the aspects of the issue of police brutality. As seen, it is easy for one to form wrong conclusions if he or she fails to maintain an open mind concerning the issue. To ensure one understands all the issues involved, he or she must approach the subject with critical and logical reasoning.


Dantes, E. (2011). Police Brutality Statistics. Web.

Holbert, S. L. (2015). The Specter of Racial Profiling Obstructs Law Enforcement. San Ramon: Page Marque Press.

Linda, R. P. (2007). The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking. Dillon Beach: The Foundation for Critical Thinking.

Paul, R. W. (1997). California Teacher Preparation for Instruction in Critical Thinking: Research Findings and Recommendations. Sacramento: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

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