Where is police brutality most common? Police brutality in Chicago and other cities is commonplace, with some cities and states experiencing more instances than others. According to recent statistics, police brutality most often occurs in America’s largest cities, including Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston, New York, and Chicago.
Learn more about the facts of police brutality and what cities in Illinois have the highest rates of police brutality.
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Addressing Police Brutality in Illinois
Police brutality is a serious issue that has occurred and continues to occur in Illinois, along with many other states across the country.
However, it can be difficult to identify specifically what police brutality is. According to most sources, police brutality refers to an abuse of power or use of excessive force on behalf of police officers, often illegally.
For instance, police officers may engage in assault and battery, torture, or even murder in extreme instances. Police brutality may also refer to instances of intimidation, false arrest or another type of harassment, verbal abuse, and other types of mistreatment toward civilians.
Common Forms of Police Brutality
There are several types of police brutality that can occur, depending on how officers interact with civilians and arrestees. The forms include:
- Excessive Use of Force — One primary type of police brutality involves excessive use of force, which happens when a law enforcement officer exerts unnecessary physical violence when detaining or arresting individuals. For example, an officer may hit an arrestee when he or she is presenting no threat to the officer. Officers could also restrain individuals unnecessarily when they aren’t resisting arrest.
- Harassment and Intimidation — Police officers could also engage in different forms of harassment and intimidation when arresting or detaining someone. An example of this could involve verbal abuse that’s demeaning and makes the individual feel inferior.
- Discrimination and Racial Profiling — Another form of police brutality may entail racial profiling or discrimination based on race, gender, sexuality, or another trait.
Any of these instances of police brutality may warrant a lawsuit and compensation resulting from damages that victims or their loved ones sustain due to officers’ abuse of power.
What Is the Impact on Victims and Communities?
Police violence has a significant impact on individual victims and the surrounding communities, which is why these instances are so serious.
Police brutality can cause severe physical injuries to victims, sometimes to the point of being fatal. Even if an officer doesn’t cause physical injury, he or she may cause serious emotional distress in the victim, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and severe depression.
In addition, rogue police officers who engage in an abuse of power can cause mistrust in many communities. For instance, communities comprising largely minority populations may not be willing to trust police departments and cooperate with them due to instances of police brutality, especially instances that involve racial profiling or discrimination.
Factors Contributing to Police Brutality in Illinois
Multiple factors influence police brutality throughout the U.S. Based on the facts about police brutality, the following are some main contributing factors in these instances.
Systemic Issues in Law Enforcement Agencies
Police departments may be lacking in certain areas when it comes to preventing police brutality.
Departments could fail to do proper background checks and take other measures to ensure the officers they hire won’t be prone to an abuse of power or use of excessive force. They may also neglect to provide sufficient training for officers that teaches them to use only necessary force during interactions with civilians.
Additionally, officers who have engaged in any form of brutality may not see repercussions for their actions by superiors, which can encourage them to continue their behavior.
Lack of Accountability and Transparency
Oftentimes, officers who engage in even fatal instances of violence don’t face charges or prosecution for their actions. Although some instances of fatal police interactions have a clear legal justification behind them, others may not as police departments fail to hold negligent or malicious officers accountable.
Departments may also fail to disclose instances of police brutality in an attempt to conceal these instances and preserve the department’s reputation.
Racial Disparities in Police Interactions
Many instances of police brutality are racially motivated and involve officers who racially profile or otherwise discriminate against individuals of varying races and ethnicities. They may target areas with a minority population or individuals of specific races.
Racial disparity appears to be a significant issue among police departments all over the country—data from the 2022 Police Violence Report from Mapping Police Violence found that most unarmed people that the police killed that year were people of color, including 32 Black, 19 Hispanic, and three Asian/Pacific Islander victims.
Geographical Analysis of Police Brutality in Illinois
Police brutality is a huge problem across the country, and Illinois is no exception. The city of Chicago, in particular, has seen many police brutality cases over the years, with many of them resulting in fatalities.
Recent data shows just how pervasive police brutality is in this state.
What Cities Have the Highest Rates of Police Brutality Incidents in Illinois?
Chicago is the city with the highest rate of police brutality in Illinois, with the rankings of other cities unclear. However, Chicago is far from the only city in Illinois that has seen a degree of police brutality.
According to police brutality in the United States statistics from a recent Mapping Police Violence report, the Chicago Police Department alone is responsible for 98 killings in a 10-year span, translating to an average annual killing rate of 3.3.
Also, according to Mapping Police Violence, 2022 to 2023 saw other police killings across Illinois, including:
- One death by gunshot in Harvard
- One death by gunshot in Fox Lake
- One death by gunshot in Geneva
- One death by gunshot in Des Plaines
- One death by gunshot in Joliet
Laws and Regulations in Place to Prevent Police Brutality
There are multiple laws and regulations dictating what cops can and can’t do in Illinois and across the U.S., with new ones on the horizon to help further reduce the risk of police brutality among police departments.
Laws Against Police Brutality
Several laws are in place to minimize the chances of police brutality and hold officers and departments accountable.
One law is the Use of Deadly Force law, which only authorizes the use of deadly force in self-defense and other similar circumstances. This law also requires officers to warn of the use of firearms before discharging their weapons.
With the civil rights movement of the 1960s came Title 6 of the Civil Rights Act, which makes it illegal for police officers to discriminate against individuals on the basis of color, race, nationality, religion, and gender.
Another law working against police brutality is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This law protects disabled individuals from discrimination, including instances of excessive force, unlawful detention, and the failure to accommodate the individual’s disability.
Title 18 of the U.S. Code also protects against discrimination. This law makes it illegal for officers to intentionally cause bodily injury or attempt to do so using dangerous weapons on the basis of race, religion, sexuality, nationality, disability, or gender.
Constitutional Rights Preventing Police Brutality
In addition to the laws listed above and others, the U.S. Constitution also gives people protections against police brutality.
For instance, the Fourth Amendment keeps officers from conducting illegal searches and seizures of people’s property. Police officers also must lawfully arrest and detain individuals under this law, which means that detainees must give officers consent before the officers can search them.
The Fifth Amendment is another protection for Americans. Based on this amendment, individuals can refuse to answer questions and remain silent to avoid inadvertently compromising their case. Officers normally disclose this right to individuals upon arrest when reading their Miranda rights.
Another amendment to consider is the Eight Amendment, which protects people from cruel and unusual punishment. As a result of this amendment, officers could face repercussions if they use unnecessary force to arrest or detain an individual.
One last amendment is the Fourteenth, which allows people to undergo due process, or fair treatment under the American judicial system. It also protects against unlawful seizure and false imprisonment.
Working to Reduce Police Brutality and Hold Officers Accountable
Police brutality remains one of the biggest ongoing issues in the U.S. Police officers continue to engage in excessive use of force and abuse of power in Illinois and beyond, causing injuries and long-term distress to victims and their communities.
In Illinois, Chicago is the city that sees the highest rate of police brutality, as one of the country’s largest cities.
If you or a loved one is the victim of police brutality, and you want to hold the liable officers and departments accountable, connect with an experienced police brutality lawyer to discuss a potential case. You may be able to seek justice and compensation for the harm resulting from an officer’s abuse of power.