The recent killings of unarmed Black men and women by police officers have sparked outrage and protest throughout America. The police brutality quotes below document the effects of police brutality, its deep-rooted racism, and how we can make a difference.
How do you feel about the police?
Police brutality has been a constant issue throughout the entirety of American history. Recent cases have reinvigorated the monumental Black Lives Matter movement, whose mission is to “eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.”
Today, our collection of quotes are from activists, politicians, celebrities, and more who have been affected by police brutality.
Our impactful quotes are listed below.
Don’t forget to also check out these racism quotes that inspire inclusion for all.
Powerful police brutality quotes
1. “We’re not anti-police… we’re anti-police brutality.” – Al Sharpton
2. “There’s no book to figure out how not to become a victim of police brutality.” – Mike Colter
3. “If the only time you have a public opinion on civil violence in this country is when police face harm or sadly, death, then you come across as disingenuous, your intentions, suspicious, and your perspective, riddled with bias and prejudice. Empathy is not a limited resource.” — Kovie Biakolo
4. “We have seen communities cry out in pain, generation after generation, because of racism and police brutality.” – Jaime Harrison
5. “It is up to us to take a stand and demand that they ‘stop killing us,’ We’re going to stand up as a community and fight against anyone who believes that murder or any violent action by those who are sworn to protect us should consistently go unpunished.” — Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
6. “When you hear these stories about different cases of police brutality, don’t even just make that person just another hashtag, another statistic. That is somebody’s father, brother, sister, mother – be more aware of what that means.” – KiKi Layne
7. “Very few police officers are ever held accountable for even the most egregious shootings and acts of violence.” – Shaun King
8. “We have a lot of people that are oppressed. We have a lot of people that aren’t treated equally, aren’t given equal opportunities. Police brutality is a huge thing that needs to be addressed. There are a lot of issues that need to be talked about, need to be brought to life, and we need to fix those.” – Colin Kaepernick
9. “When you ask people to name victims of police brutality, for the most part, nobody will give you a woman’s name.” – Kimberle Williams Crenshaw
10. “No one’s pro-police brutality.” – Kenya Barris
11. “A system cannot fail those it was never built to protect.” — Vann Newkirk
Police brutality quotes about American society
12. “I’m sick of watching ‘Blue Lives Matter’ supporters idly stand by any police officer simply because he wears blue, ignoring the facts that should make them cringe in disbelief and horror. Police brutality is systemic, not anecdotal.” – Seph Lawless
13. “I believe there’s a huge conflict of interest when local prosecutors investigate cases of police violence within their own communities.” – Franchesca Ramsey
14. “We loathe mass incarceration. We loathe police brutality. But most of us have absolutely no idea how to address the critical flaws in our justice system.” – Shaun King
15. “The power to prevent violence is a power that no police force seems to have anywhere in the United States.” – John Abizaid
16. “If you’re calling for an end to unrest, but not calling out police brutality, not calling for health care as a human right, not calling for an end to housing discrimination, all you’re asking for is the continuation of quiet oppression.” – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
17. “Taking on systemic racism—and rebuilding trust between police and citizens—will require contributions from us all.” – Hillary Clinton
18. “This is the problem with the United States: there’s no leadership. A leader would say, ‘Police brutality is an oxymoron. There are no brutal police. The minute you become brutal you’re no longer police.’ So, what, we’re not dealing with police. We’re dealing with a federally authorized gang.” – KRS-One
19. “The truth is that the police reflect America in all of its will and fear, and whatever we might make of this country’s criminal justice policy, it cannot be said that it was imposed by a repressive minority.” ― Ta-Nehisi Coates
Police brutality quotes about race
20. “Most middle-class whites have no idea what it feels like to be subjected to police who are routinely suspicious, rude, belligerent, and brutal.” – Dr. Benjamin Spock
21. “I can’t bring myself to watch yet another video, not because I don’t care, but because we’re all just a few videos away from becoming completely desensitized. The public execution of Black folks will never be normal.” ― Andrena Sawyer
22. “Our police force was not created to serve black Americans; it was created to police black Americans and serve white Americans.” ― Ijeoma Oluo
23. “The ruling class give carte blanche to law enforcement, who in turn press down on those most stranded by the neoliberal state, the poor– and more so, the Black poor.” – Nicolas Powers
24. “It saddens me that African Americans – when they express their pain, when they protest about police violence, when they question inequality, when they raise issues of bondage and discrimination – African Americans are seen as not patriotic.” – Bryan Stevenson
25. “When we started making ‘Selma,’ the Black Lives Matter movement didn’t exist. The parallels between Martin Luther King staging these marches, suffering police brutality… we weren’t even aware when making the film that these sorts of things would start to happen again in 2015.” – Stephan James
26. “Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to de-escalate, disarm and not kill white people every day. So what’s going to happen is we’re going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours.” – Jesse Williams
27. “Under Democratic presidents and Republican presidents, we have had for 40 years an unrelenting tide of police abuse against African Americans.” – Van Jones
28. “I am often asked what it is like to be on the ‘front line.’ But I do not use the term ‘front line’ to describe us, the protesters. Because everywhere in America, wherever we are, our blackness puts us in close proximity to police violence.” – DeRay Mckesson
Police brutality quotes about injustice
29. “Revolution against injustice anywhere in the world brings benefit and justice for everyone everywhere in the world.” ― Abhijit Naskar
30. “I don’t know where we go from here because those of us who recognize the injustice are not the problem. Law enforcement, militarized and indifferent to black lives, is the problem.” – Roxane Gay
31. “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu
32. “When you believe in something, fight for it. And when you see injustice, fight harder than you’ve ever fought before.” – Brad Meltzer
33. “It is often easier to become outraged by injustice half a world away than by oppression and discrimination half a block from home.” – Carl T. Rowan
34. “Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.” – Frederick Douglass
35. “Delay in justice is injustice.” – Walter Savage Landor
36. “When you see corruption, when you see injustice, you speak up. You don’t just shut up and say it’s none of my business.” – Manal al-Sharif
37. “Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you have to agree with people and their beliefs to defend them from injustice.” – Bryant H. McGill
38. “A kingdom founded on injustice never lasts.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca
39. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King. Jr
Police brutality quotes about protesting
40. “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” – Elie Wiesel
41. “It is better to protest than to accept injustice.” – Rosa Parks
42. “When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.” – Bayard Rustin
43. “To sin by silence, when they should protest, makes cowards of men.” – Ella Wheeler Wilcox
44. “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ― Anne Frank
45. “To protest against injustice is the foundation of all our American democracy.” – Thurgood Marshall
46. “We run into police brutality often and it’s always a problem that we always have to protest and speak out.” – Polo G
47. “Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.” – Albert Einstein
48. “A single whisper can be quite a disturbance when the rest of the audience is silent.” – Anthony Marra
49. “Protesting is a fundamental aspect of our democracy, and I will always encourage this course of action, but it can be intimidating.” – Layla Moran
50. “We won’t stop protesting. It’s the engine that moves society forward.” – Jordi Cuixart
More police brutality quotes and sayings
51. “We were unarmed, but we knew that blackness armed us, even though we had no guns.” – Ibram X
52. “Humankind seems to have an enormous capacity for savagery, for brutality, for lack of empathy, for lack of compassion.” – Annie Lennox
53. “Weakness is what brings ignorance, cheapness, racism, homophobia, desperation, cruelty, brutality, all these things that will keep a society chained to the ground, one foot nailed to the floor.” – Henry Rollins
54. “The person who is brutally honest enjoys the brutality quite as much as the honesty. Possibly more.” – Richard J. Needham
55. “I am depressed rather at the wave of brutality sweeping over the country.” – John Burns
56. “Never mind a world that can’t see past brutality.” – Ric Ocasek
57. “One could laugh at the world better if it didn’t mix tender kindliness with its brutality.” – D. H. Lawrence
58. “It is only our humanity that can deliver us from the brutality of our achievements.” – Henry Rollins
59. “There’s nothing but brutality and bravery or cowardice that comes out of war. That’s pretty much it.” – Michael Cimino
60. “There are so many things going on in this world that are unbelievable. A lot of gun violence and police brutality.” – Kemba Walker
How do you protest injustice?
Protesting is a necessary part of American democracy. When actions within our country endanger our freedom as Americans, we have the right to protest and demand the rights that are supposed to be guaranteed to us.
Police brutality is one of the many issues in America that threatens the freedom of its citizens, especially those who are of color.
We have to keep talking about this issue. We have to keep having those difficult conversations; whether they’re with friends, family members, or neighbors. Through acknowledging injustice, we create a glimmer of hope that can incite change.
Which of these police brutality quotes and sayings resonated with you the most? We would love to hear your thoughts.
November 16, 2020 7:00 AM EST