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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.

Also, check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily wisdom. 

See the rest of our quote database for even more inspirational ideas and thoughts.

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. “I am depressed rather at the wave of brutality sweeping over the country.” – John Burns

4. “Never mind a world that can’t see past brutality.” – Ric Ocasek

5. “Police brutality is definitely still very alive and active.” — Algee Smith

6. “There’s a lot of things that need to change. One specifically? Police brutality.” — Colin Kaepernick

7. “I think police officers are modern day heroes. I think they protect us.” –Cuba Gooding, Jr

8. “Most police officers are good cops and good people.” –Rand Paul

9. “A system cannot fail those it was never built to protect.” — Vann Newkirk

10. “No one’s pro-police brutality.” – Kenya Barris

Police brutality quotes about American society

11. “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

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

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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. “When people say ‘Black Lives Matter, that doesn’t mean blue lives don’t matter.”— Barack Obama

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. “The losers under this injustice system are the young people I know and love.”— Mariame Kaba

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. “White feelings should never be held in higher regard than black lives.”— Rachel Cargle

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. “There is civil disobedience against the military machine, protest against police brutality directed especially at people of color.” – Howard Zinn

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. “Don’t denounce our pain as savage. What’s savage is the cruel inhumanity and brutality of the police. Condemn that.” – Amandla Stenberg

54. “The person who is brutally honest enjoys the brutality quite as much as the honesty. Possibly more.” – Richard J. Needham

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55. “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

56. “We have seen communities cry out in pain, generation after generation, because of racism and police brutality.” – Jaime Harrison

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

Police brutality quotes to challenge your perceptions

61. “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

62. “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

63. “Some issues just need to be dealt with – that we’re still dealing with in the world, with police brutality and racism.” — Big Freedia

64. “America hasn’t been able to grapple with the uncomfortable reality that police brutality is encoded in this country’s DNA.” — Jemele Hill

65. “I realize I will always be the poster child for police brutality, but I can try to use that as a positive force for healing and restraint.” — Rodney King

66. “We just were saying no more police brutality. And we had enough of police harassment in the Village and other places.” — Marsha P. Johnson

67. “Freddie Gray was a story I followed closer than others, for whatever reason, in this larger narrative of police brutality.” — Stephen Malkmus

68. “If I win and get the money, then the Oakland Police department is going to buy a boys’ home, me a house, my family a house, and a Stop Police Brutality Center.” — Tupac Shakur

69. “You have to know the forces that are against you and that are trying to break you down. We talk about the problems facing the black community: the decimation of the black family; the mass incarceration of the black man; we’re talking about the brutality against black people from the police. The educational system.” — D’Angelo

70. “Just because I was at an anti-police brutality protest, doesn’t mean I’m anti-police. We want justice, but stop shooting unarmed people.” – Quentin Tarantino

Opposite of police brutality quotes to remind you there are also good ones

71. “Understand, our police officers put their lives on the line for us every single day. They’ve got a tough job to do to maintain public safety and hold accountable those who break the law.” –Barack Obama

72. “Police officers know that each time they put on their uniform, they are taking on risks to protect others.” –Mike Parson

73. “Very few police officers are ever held accountable for even the most egregious shootings and acts of violence.” – Shaun King

74. “Police officers put the badge on every morning, not knowing for sure if they’ll come home at night to take it off.” –Tom Cotton

75. “Our police officers are on the front line of a battle to maintain control of our streets.” –Priti Patel

76. “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

77. “Every day, in every city and town across the country, police officers are performing vital services that help make their communities safer.” –Eric Schneiderman

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78. “Being a good police officer is one of the most difficult, dangerous, idealistic jobs in the world.” –Thomas Hauser

79. “Each day, millions of police officers do the selfless work of putting their lives on the line to protect civilians, frequently responding to or preventing crises completely with no recognition.” –Letitia James

80. “People see police officers and think they’re such bad people. We have some who can be some bad people. But we have some great ones out there, that are here to protect us.” –Ha Ha Clinton Dix

Thought Provoking Police Brutality Quotes

81. “Brutality of brutal people reached to personal attacks; it was the result of my tolerance.” — Ehsan Sehgal

82. “I think police brutality has been going on since – I don’t know – ever since I can remember and, you know, hearing about it in my childhood.” — Goapele

83. “Ending police brutality and mass incarceration. There is growing left-right support for criminal justice reform.” — Ralph Nader

84. “I have always appreciated the honest brutality of the international film world. One need never doubt one’s worth in the market.” — Ingmar Bergman

85. “The highways of sadistically unending brutality were gustily inundated with an infinite dividers of limited indiscriminate and tyrannically lambasting hatred.” — Nikhil Parekh

86. “There is no police brutality.” — David A. Clarke Jr.

87. “The spirit of ruthless brutality will enter into every fiber of our national life.” — Woodrow Wilson

88. “Brutality jumps on me please don’t jump so hard, beastly fellow flower of tall stature.” — Jean Cocteau

89. “I see myself capable of brutality… That’s a fierce thing, to discover within yourself that which you despise the most in others.” — George Stevens

90. “With the prolific winds of change taking an optimistic stranglehold on the brutality of the previous day.” — Nikhil Parekh

Police Brutality Quotes About the Nature of Their Work

91. “I don’t want any injustice brought against the bullies. Bullies just don’t know any better. Anyone who is crying about police brutality or victimization as an adult needs to stop it and realize the privileges we have in this country.” — Ariel Pink

92. “Unreasonable force is illegal. The force used has to be reasonable under the circumstances to protect the police officers and the public.” — Kenneth Eade

93. “Never trust an armed police officer.” — Steven Magee

94. “As had been the case in the founding of Citizens Alert in 1965, the point that most linked gay politics to the struggles of other marginalized communities was that of state violence – in particular, police brutality.” — Christina B. Hanhardt

95. “The problem is, some officers put more stock in their title instead of their duty. Yes, your job title is “police.” But your duty is to protect and serve. Start there.” — Janelle Gray

96. If someone puts their hands on you make sure they never put their hands on anybody else again.” — Malcolm X

97. “I recognise Santangelo’s dad, who saves police brutality for when he gets to his son.” — Melina Marchetta

98. “It is the common peoples duty to police the police.” — Steven Magee

99. “You have this response of angry young people, with a war going on in Vietnam, a poverty program that was insufficient, and police brutality.” — Danny Glover

100. “Corrupt and incompetent police officers have a long history of being protected by their colleagues, police internal affairs and the government.” — Steven Magee

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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