What are the leading explanations for police corruption?

The leading explanations of police corruption include the so-called blue wall of silence, a lack of rigorous training, and the absence of a federal database that tracks corrupt officers.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One specific case of police corruption to look to involves murder. In May 2020, Derek Chauvin, a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, pressed his knee against the neck of George Floyd for more than nine minutes. Floyd died due to Chauvin’s knee, yet the Minneapolis Police Department released a statement that attributed Floyd’s death to “medical distress.” The statement also claimed that Floyd “physically resisted officers.” As video footage of the scene proved, none of that was true.

The misleading statement reveals a leading cause of police corruption. From this example, one could claim that the initial goal of the police is not to present the truth but to cover their tracks and to try and conceal their criminal behavior. This pattern is sometimes informally called the blue wall of silence or the code of silence. These terms point out that the welfare of criminal police officers tends to take priority over the truth. By not speaking out, or by disseminating falsehoods, police create an environment in which accountability and punishment can be avoided.

The police’s capacity to deceive is evinced in numerous other cases where police officers acted in criminal and murderous ways. The shooting of Breonna Taylor, for instance, featured many falsehoods manufactured by police to try to cover up and excuse their lethal conduct.

For additional leading causes of police corruption, consider how the absence of comprehensive training leaves police officers prone to corruption. One could also talk about how the lack of an official federal database that keeps track of corrupt police officers fosters corruption.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
Illustration of a paper plane soaring out of a book

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial