Patterns of Injustice: Police Brutality in the Courts

Susan Bandes
1999 Social Science Research Network  
Legal consequences often hinge on whether events or incidents are categorized as isolated or connected, individual or systemic, anecdotal or part of a larger pattern. Courts tend to portray incidents of police brutality as anecdotal, fragmented, and isolated rather than as part of a systemic, institutional pattern. Though numerous doctrines-including federalism, separation of powers, causation, deference, discretion, and burden of proof--provide partial explanations for the judicial
more » ... n of police misconduct, it seems clear that courts cannot, or do not choose to, see systemic patterns for reasons that transcend doctrinal explanations. This article explores those reasons, which, ultimately, are relevant not only to police brutality but to the larger judicial tendency to anecdotalize systemic government misconduct.
doi:10.2139/ssrn.165395 fatcat:xhne4rwpljfkzo3esf3yeda2ja