Coping with the Trauma of Police Brutality and Misconduct

By Kenneth Guyer posted 07-12-2021 01:04 PM


Police brutality and misconduct can be a problem in the U.S. and black males are often the victims. The images of unarmed people of color being mistreated by police officers have become inescapable in the past year. 

Witnessing and experiencing police violence tends to burden victims and their communities with experiences of grief, loss, and other mental and physical health concerns.

Police practices that violate civil liberties

Recent research suggests that black men in the U.S. suffer from poor mental health due to their exposure to police killings. Young black people, especially those living in economically disadvantaged communities, are stopped, interrogated, and arrested at higher rates than white youth. 

These police practices violate the civil liberties of black males and place them at more risk for suffering injuries or even death in an encounter with police officers. Victims of police brutality are protected by federal law and have a right to seek legal assistance. offers a free consultation with one of their experienced police brutality lawyers

Psychological trauma

Black adolescent males may have a fear of the police and a serious concern for their personal safety and mortality. Since childhood, they are exposed to stories of police violence and photos in the media. 

Those exposed to Intrusive stop-and-frisk policies, threats of violence, or even harsh racial insults appear to result in a higher prevalence of PTSD, according to a study published on PubMed. The psychological scars resulting from police use of force can be devastating and even if it doesn’t result in PTSD, it inevitably causes jumpiness, anxiety, and paranoia. 

Those who experience police violence often feel conflicted because the people who are supposed to help and protect them turn out to be the bad guys. For young black men, awareness of racial disparities in policing and the fact that police officers are often not held accountable gives them feelings of being powerless to protect themselves. 

They identify the law and the criminal justice system as instruments of racial oppression. Compounding the trauma of police violence is the grief and loss that killing creates in communities. 

State laws

Each state has its own laws that spell out when officers can use deadly force. The Supreme Court helps guide states in developing their laws but they still have great leeway and many of the state laws do not live up to Supreme Court standards. The prosecutors in those states usually have to rely on procedures drawn up by police departments to try and assess whether officers could be charged criminally. 

What victims of police brutality need to do 

Getting a fair recovery for victims of police brutality or misconduct can be difficult without the help of an attorney. Police officers have to exert a certain amount of force to get their jobs done so it can be hard to prove when the force they use can be considered excessive. 

Victims need to document everything, starting when the incident occurred to the days and weeks that follow. Critical information to document includes: the names and badge numbers of the police officers involved, the date time and location of the incident, the injuries sustained (photos), and how life has been impacted by the injuries (record in a journal). 

Working together with a personal injury attorney means victims can protect any evidence that could support their case. For example, if the police brutality happened in a public place, there may be video footage of the incident. A lawyer may have to serve a legal notice to the relevant authorities to ensure no one tampered with any video evidence.