Police violence and racial segregation in the USA

In that year of 2020 the world was moved by the image of George Floyd being choked by a policeman who knelt on his neck. However, this type of police violence against blacks is nothing new.

Historically, the United States was a segregationist country, despite boycotts and the repudiation of American public opinion against Apartheid in South Africa, blacks do not have the same right as whites in that country, even after the repeal of segregationist laws.

The Jim Crow Laws, laws of racial segregation, were laws that were created a few years after the abolition of slavery in the southern states, as a reaction of the conservative society of the time against the political rights of newly freed black slaves.

There were spaces for white and colored people who were the Afro-descendant population and Native Americans. Schools were separate, public places, seats on the bus. It was in this context that Rosa Parks’ act of disobedience (! 955), by not giving her place on the bus to a white man, turned the black civil rights movement in the United States. Personalities like Martin Luther King appear at this point in the struggle to end racial segregation.

Segregation of spaces by skin color. “Colored” means people of color, that is, people with dark skin.

The racial segregation laws were abolished in 1964, but historical segregation has left its mark on North American society.

Police violence is the part that most opens up the racism that exists in the United States. It is not recent that news about some type of police violence against African Americans is published in the media. The Hashtag “Blacklivesmatter” that reappeared in 2020, actually emerged in 2013 as a reaction to the acquittal of security guard George Zimmerman in the murder of young Trayvon Martin.


You may have seen a documentary on criminal investigation by the American police. In the United States, the police can use a variety of resources when it comes to a murder investigation. Some detectives work hours and hours on solving a case.

To get an idea of ​​how far the police are going to solve a case, watch the episode of “Small Cities in a Panic: Map of Death” from the Discovery ID subscription TV channel. In short, a white upper middle class woman disappeared in a small American town and through various investigations the police came to the conclusion that her husband had murdered and hidden the body but could not prove it in court and the husband did not want to confess or even say where the body was.

So they watched her husband 24 hours a day and the suspect got a restraining order against the police. In the end the man got tired and ended up committing suicide and left a note with the location of the body.

At the other extreme are the murders of rappers Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G (also known as Biggie Smalls), which occurred in 1996 and 1997 respectively, which were never selected. There was investigative work by the police in both cases and one of the detectives became so obsessed that he ended up having to be removed from the Biggie murder case. However, investigators were limited by the amount of resources provided by the police department.

The Notorious B.I.G and Tupac.

Only after the case of The Notorius B.I.G (Christopher Wallace )’s mother against the Los Angeles police department was a task force set up with enough resources to investigate the Christopher Wallace case (Tupac was killed in Las Vegas).

There was a suspicion that corrupt police officers were involved in the death of rapper Biggie, but when that suspicion was removed, this task force was closed. The Unsolved series on Netflix shows how this whole process went.

Unsolved, Netflix.

But this distinction between blacks and whites for the American police is not just limited to the difference in resources for solving murder cases.

There is another series on Netflix, Eyes That Condemn (When They See Us) that portrays one of the greatest injustices committed in the 1990s. Five black boys are forced to confess to a crime they did not commit. In this series we also see racism in the speeches and actions of Donald Trump (President of the USA 2017-2021).

In Brazil there is also this difference in the treatment of whites and blacks by the police, we have already seen an image of police violence against blacks living in the periphery and communities. However, racism in our country is veiled and as we are a country with enormous social inequality, the financial condition is also a factor of segregation. As we saw in the case of the raped white blogger and the white millionaire rapist, he was allegedly acquitted for lack of evidence.

This veiled racism in Brazil needs another post, because it has many nuances, I will do this analysis in the future.

Racism is a problem that unfortunately persists today and society needs to recognize it as an urgent matter to be resolved. And the police need to be trained to avoid this kind of distinction between skin color.

Portuguese Version

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