Police brutality thesis

Potential or actual use of physical force as a defining feature of police activity, as well as one of the most frequent reasons for public concern about their actions, while at the same time it becomes, by virtue of its very nature, one of the most elusive dimensions for its knowledge. The studies about police brutality have alternately focused on their understanding as deviant practice or as a normal and immanent process to police activity. But more than aspects different and antagonistic, we propose that both forms of manifestation of police violence refer to the very nature of their activity and their authorization to use force against citizens.

The purpose of this work is to make an inventory of the available knowledge about the use of physical force by the police, its dimensions, characteristics and possible explanations, to propose from the theoretical debate on the subject during these last two decades, and in light of recent changes in the patterns of police violence, hypotheses that integrate the available knowledge and give intelligibility to the increase in the use of police force against citizens. The studies would indicate that the police brutality is related, on the one hand, to the expansion of the state’s punitive power, while others would emphasize situational variables such as uncertainty. However, both would be insufficient in themselves to understand the quantitative and qualitative changes in the use of physical force by the police, so, developing thesis statement on police brutality already raised by Gabaldon (1993), we will try to explain the increase in police violence as a result of processes of loss of power of the state or the police itself. The data seem to point that, far from impacting on the reduction of crime and violence, there seems to be a correlation between a greater use of physical coercion by the police and an increase in violent crimes.

Thesis statement for police brutality: the impact of the use of police force in insecurity

Some investigations of recent years demonstrate tolerance and even acceptance of the excesses in the use of police brutality, provided that is justified in the punishment and elimination of delinquents, by significant groups of public opinion. This tolerance is consistent with the leniency with which they treat cases of use illegal of the force the Administration of Justice. Police brutality would find legitimacy as a tolerated strategy to guarantee security and punish crime. It would be a reissue of the security dilemma and rights: Would not it be acceptable to tolerate some excess of the state, and in this case of the police, as a necessary price to protect us and guarantee social peace? How important is it for the state to have rights, including of the lives of those who justly violate rights and take life away fromт others, if this offers us security?

In cases such as homicides, the police make an important contribution to the increase in crime figures. In other words, police violence not only does not decrease, but could even increase crime, violence and insecurity.

This seemingly paradoxical result returns us to our initial problematic: What is the function of police brutality regulated and administered as strategic means of government of the population? The classic studies on use of the physical force of the police unfold their nature in an effective use, material, which involves coercion (repression) on refractory subjects or aggressors, and a symbolic use, which acts on the expectations of the whole social subjects. The strategic effect of the police as an instance of regulation of social life would reside in this last register, while the expectations of detection and coercion by the police would control collective acts, reducing the requirements for the effective use of force. A greater effectiveness and legitimacy for the social subjects of this symbolic operation (what is expressed in the liberal postulates about the use of violence of state: opportunity, proportionality, need), it becomes less necessary the effective use of physical force by the police. This would be one of the reasons why police violence proliferates in situations of legitimacy crisis of the state and the police.