List of cases of police brutality

List of cases of police brutality

This list compiles incidents of police brutality that have garnered significant media and/or historical attention.



  • July 09, 2011 The United Nations human rights office expressed disappointment on the use of excessive force[1][2][3] by the police against peaceful protestors in the Bersih 2.0 rally, which organised by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) calling for electoral reform in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • June 06, 2011 22-year-old Martin Neshkovski was beaten to death by Igor Spasov, a member of the special police unit Tigers, in the center of Skopje, Republic of Macedonia during the celebration of the ruling party’s VMRO-DPMNE election victory, supposedly because he wanted to climb on stage and congratulate the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski personally. After an unsuccessful attempt by the Macedonian institutions to cover up the murder[4], which was followed by two day demonstrations in Skopje, Spasov admitted the murder. Protesters kept on protesting every day starting at 18.00h demanding bigger control over special police unit members and political and moral responsibility a.k.a resignation of the Minister of Interior, Gordana Jankuloska, and the spokesman of the Ministry of Interior, Ivo Koteski.
  • Dec 27, 2010 A 24-year old man was brought to the police station in Ålesund for protective custody after drunk and disorderly conduct. While still in handcuffs, he was beaten by a senior police officer. While being brought to a holding cell he was beaten and subjected to strangulating force by the same officer. The incident was fully taped by the stations own surveillance cameras. In sept 2011, the officer was convicted to 30 days in prison and a fine of 10.000 NOK, but were allowed to keep his position as a police officer.
  • Jan 22, 2010. Yao Wei Wu was beaten by officers from Vancouver Police Department who knocked on the wrong door while investigating a report of a violent domestic dispute.[5] Speaking through a translator, Yao Wei Wu told CBC News that as soon as he opened the door the officers pulled him out of the house and beat him.


  • April 1, 2009. Passing through the G20 summit protests in London, Ian Tomlinson was struck in the back of his legs and pushed to the ground by a police constable with the Territorial Support Group in South London. He died soon afterwards. The initial police statement said that police had been alerted that a man had collapsed, and were attacked by "a number of missiles" as they tried to save his life.[6] Several videos from citizen passersby surfaced about one week after the incident and sparked public outcry. The officer has been interviewed on suspicion of manslaughter.[7]
  • December 6, 2008. 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos was shot dead by police officer Epaminondas Korkoneas shortly after 9 p.m. in the Exarcheia district of Athens, Greece. Demonstrations and riots erupted throughout Athens almost immediately after the shooting, sparking weeks of civil unrest and workplace and university occupations throughout Greece and beyond.[8]
  • September 7, 2006. Eugene Ejike Obiora, a Nigerian-Norwegian student was killed during an arrest where Obiora had behaved aggressively toward personnel at the social services office in Trondheim. Obiora died enroute to a hospital after police officer Trond Volden strangled him in the subsequent struggle. Volden and three other officers were processed for use of force but were cleared by the police investigators and the chief prosecutor. Volden had earlier been videotaped, but cleared of charges, when harassing and strangling a Ghani-Norwegian woman in 1999.[1][2]
  • July 2006. Footage shown at her trial showed 19–year–old Toni Comer being repeatedly punched, kicked and dragged to a waiting police van in Sheffield in 2006.[9]


January 3, 1998: Policemen from the North East Rand Dog Unit set their dogs on three Mozambican immigrants

Before 1990

  • 1977. Steve Biko is widely believed to have been killed by police as a result of anti-apartheid demonstrations in South Africa.[13]
  • 14–15 August 1969: During the 1969 Northern Ireland riots, the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) shot dead five Catholic civilians and opened-fire on crowds of Irish nationalist protesters.
  • 13 July 1969 in Dungiven, Northern Ireland. Catholic civilian Francis McCloskey (67) was beaten with batons by Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers during street disturbances and died of his injuries the following day. He is sometimes deemed to be the first death of "The Troubles".[14]
  • 19 April 1969 in Derry, Northern Ireland. During rioting between Irish nationalists and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), RUC officers broke into the home of Catholic civilian Samuel Devenny (42), who was not involved in the riots. The officers kicked Devenny and beat him ferociously with batons. His young daughter (who was recovering from surgery) and a family friend were beaten unconscious. His older daughter and son were also attacked. It is believed that the attack led to Devenny's death on 17 July 1969.[15]
  • 17 October 1961. The French police attacked a large demonstration of unarmed and peaceful protesters of Algerian origin, killing between 70 and 200 (numbers are uncertain, partly because many were drowned after being thrown into the Seine with their hands tied), in the Paris massacre of 1961.
  • 21 March 1960. South African police shot at a crowd of black anti-apartheid protesters, killing 69 and injuring over 180 in what became known as the Sharpeville massacre. Evidence showed that the police continued firing even when the crowd had turned to run, and the majority of those killed and wounded were shot in the back. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission later concluded that the police actions constituted "gross human rights violations in that excessive force was unnecessarily used to stop a gathering of unarmed people." (see Sharpeville massacre article for sourcing).
  • 01 April 1922: The Arnon Street killings in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Ten officers of the Ulster Special Constabulary (USC) broke into a number of Irish Catholic-owned homes and killed six Catholic civilians (including a child). This was believed to have been a reprisal for the IRA's killing of a policeman in the area.
  • 24 March 1922: The McMahon murders in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Officers of the Ulster Special Constabulary (USC) broke into a house owned by an Irish Catholic family and shot all eight males inside. Six were killed. It is believed to have been a reprisal for the IRA's killing of two policemen the day before.
  • 21 November 1920: The Croke Park massacre in Dublin, Ireland. Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) officers opened-fire on civilians who were watching a Gaelic football match in Croke Park; 14 were killed and 60–70 wounded. The attack was believed to be revenge for an IRA assassination operation earlier in the day.
  • 22 September 1920: In reprisal for an ambush by the IRA, Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) officers killed 5 civilians and burnt 16 houses/shops in west County Clare, Ireland.

Pending investigations

The investigations into these cases have not been completed. Parties involved in each case may or may not be exonerated by the investigation.

  • 62 protesters were hospitalized (including three comatose) after a brutal night-time raid on the Diaz school in Genoa where protesters were bedding down during the 27th G8 summit. In an ongoing trial (expected to conclude in 2008), twenty-eight Italian police officers are indicted for grievous bodily harm, planting evidence and wrongful arrest. A further 45 state officials, including police officers, prison guards, and doctors, are charged with physically and mentally abusing demonstrators and journalists held in a detention centre in the nearby town of Bolzaneto.[16]


  1. ^ "Malaysia: UN rights office voices concern about recent crackdown on protesters". UN News Center. 2011-7-12. Retrieved 2011-7-13. 
  2. ^ "Malaysia ‘overreacts with mass arrests’". The Jakarta Post. 2011-7-12.‘overreacts-with-mass-arrests’.html. Retrieved 2011-7-13. 
  3. ^ "UN rights disappointed by Malaysian police crackdown". The Straits Times (Singapore). 2011-7-12. Retrieved 2011-7-13. 
  4. ^ "Marching Against Police Brutality in Macedonia". Al Jazeera English (Washington DC). 2011-6-13. Retrieved 2011-6-17. 
  5. ^ "Vancouver police apologize after man beaten". CBC News. 2010-1-22. Retrieved 2010-6-21. 
  6. ^ "G20 fatality: How police view of Ian Tomlinson death changed". London: The Guardian. 8 April 2009. Retrieved 2010-05-08. 
  7. ^ Paul Lewis (17 April 2009). "Tomlinson officer questioned on suspicion of manslaughter". London: The Guardian. 
  8. ^ "Two indicted over teen shooting". Kathimerini. June 13, 2009. Retrieved September 15, 2009. 
  9. ^ Video of beating made me feel sick - Toni Comer
  10. ^ CNN News (2001-11-29). "Police jailed over dog attack". CNN. Retrieved 2007-08-30. 
  11. ^ Tendai Dumbutshena (2000-11-17). "Racist, barbaric incidnt leaves SA shellshocked". Zimbabwe Mirror. Retrieved 2007-08-30. 
  12. ^ Peter Edwards, One Dead Indian. Toronto: Stoddart Publishing Co. Ltd., 2001. pp.158-198
  13. ^ "Stephen Bantu Biko". South African History Online. Retrieved 2007-12-03. 
  14. ^ Chronology of the Conflict: July 1969, Conflict Archive on the Internet
  15. ^ Findings on Devenny investigation, Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland
  16. ^ Popham, Peter (2005-10-12). "Trial forces Italy to relive shocking police brutality". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  17. ^ "RCMP to review Taser policy in wake of airport death: commissioner". CBC. 2007-11-17. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  18. ^ "Taser video shows RCMP shocked immigrant within 25 seconds of their arrival". CBC. 2007-11-15. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  19. ^ "Video reveals G20 police assault on man who died". The Guardian (London). 7 April 2009. Retrieved 7 April 2009. 
  20. ^ "Police watchdog probing G20 death". BBC News. 6 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 

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