A World of Impunity: How Police Unions Block Meaningful Change and Exert Control

Police unions are some of the most powerful entities in America. Just to name a few ways how and why that’s the case, consider that police officers have:

This may seem farfetched, but welcome to the reality of the strength of police unions.


“No other union is afforded that type of exemption from the regular criminal process,” says human rights lawyer and law professor Justin Hansford.

Research conducted by the Racial Uprisings Lab and the University of Oxford found that when officers were unionized, the number of civilian killings increased in a ‘substantial’ way. For example, once sheriffs in Florida gained collective bargaining rights, there was a “40 percent increase in complaints of violent officer misconduct.”


And in a country where police are three times as likely to kill a Black person than a white person, this is all proof of the larger issue of white supremacy in every part of this country.

“Where labor unions empower working people, police unions disempower working people. Because what they do is they break up strikes, they break up opportunities for people to organize. They have disproportionately used violence against Black people and they disproportionately use violence against poor people,” says Hansford.

In the video above, Professor Hansford explains in more detail how police unions vary from other unions and shares why they should be abolished. Check it out.


  • Mandatory waiting periods for officers accused of misconduct.
  • Protection from accountability on the job.

There needs to be a delineation between “misconduct” (i.e. the officer was late for work or failed to fill out some paperwork properly) and breaking the law. That’s the issue. Any cop should be free to arrest and charge another cop they witness breaking the law.

The system is designed to weed out good cops.

Most Popular