Questions for the Liz — What About Violent Cops?

My friend Dr. Liz Solomon Wright is an academic psychologist with a really solid knowledge of statistics and research methods and an army of students she could farm these questions out to, but we all need to consider these questions I think.

Ferguson, Los Angeles, the border with Mexico, In jails, on the highways , on college campuses– the list goes on this year. The one thing in all of this that I have not heard about in focusing on the victims is “Why are there so many exceptionally violent cops?”

What is going on in the police culture that encourages or allows extreme violence? On the flippant side, do they play too many violent video games? From the scientific/curiosity standpoint, wouldn’t we all feel dumb if there was a chemical in police uniforms that made people become violent? Does an “us vs. them” mentality change the way they way they do their job? Is there such a mentality out there? Is there something inherent in the role that makes them aggressive? (Zimbardo’s psychology experiment thought so).
Do policemen use steroids? I bet many do.

Has racism actually gone up in this
society? Has violence in the city actually gone up? I’m not saying they have or haven’t, but do the increases in violence correlate with these things? I can’t imagine they do.

The one thing so much of this has in common is … Police. We need police because we need to be safe and I’d like to think that most police aren’t more violent than they have to be, but the days of full on Bloods vs Cripps gang wars seem gone, so what’s going on? It simply makes no sense to me that this kind of increase should happen with the economy getting slightly better or slowly better.

It is possible that only reporting has changed, so we know about it more. But what if that’s not it? Shouldn’t we investigate?




2 thoughts on “Questions for the Liz — What About Violent Cops?

  1. I would love to see some statistics on what percentage of cops are “really violent”. And it would be interesting to see how the US compares to other countries in this regard.

    • Bob: agreed. I suspect that — because of gun laws — there is less elsewhere. But, given that, police should be less afraid of criminals as well. There are so many variables. Cities vs. suburbs, etc.

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