Understanding Police Brutality: How lack of police accountability leads to the disproportionate abuse of African Americans

  • Maria Gonzalez Student
Keywords: police brutality, lack of accountability, African Americans, scientific racism, stereotypes, justified violence, prosecutors, code of silence, police immunity


Police misconduct, particularly police brutality, is the excessive and unwarranted force that has become a systemic issue. Police brutality is being reported and documented at higher rates due to technology. Black communities are disproportionately affected by police brutality. The African American community is significantly affected by police brutality as the probability and likelihood of being targeted by police is higher for Black communities. However, police brutality is not being addressed even when sufficient evidence is present. The lack of accountability for police brutality has led to death and physical harm to many individuals, especially Black people. Thus, for this research paper, I investigate whether the lack of accountability explains why African Americans disproportionately experience police brutality. During my research, I found three potential reasons, one being that violence against African Americans has become justified due to stereotypes that depict Black people as criminals, violent, and dangerous. Second, prosecutors are enabling police brutality as they protect police officers due to self-interest or fear of retaliation by police. Lastly, law enforcement agencies and police officers have used the code of silence and police immunity to evade accountability. With my findings based on statistical and qualitative analyses, I argue that these three factors may explain why the lack of accountability for police brutality are reasons why African Americans remain disproportionately victimized by law enforcement.