Police brutality is a term used to describe the excessive use of force by police officers. Police brutality can become a major issue especially when the police are from a different social group as the people they police. In such a situation, the general population may view the police as oppressors, while the police may begin to view the population as criminals.

Many believe this has been the case with African-Americans in the United States, and Catholics in Northern Ireland. It also applies to violent incidents against political dissent in which the police attacked protesters such as during the Quebec City Summit of the Americas.

See also: Amadou Diallo, Ramparts, Rodney King, police oppression