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50 Police Brutality Quotes About Race, Injustice, and More

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

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.

Nia Simone McLeod
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