This list of movies about police brutality is available on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and more. Unfortunately, they are part of the African-American Experience and a topic covered in many Black Documentaries On Netflix.
What is Police Brutality?
Police brutality in the United States, the unwarranted or excessive and often illegal use of force against civilians by U.S. police officers. Forms of police brutality have ranged from assault and battery (e.g., beatings) to mayhem, torture, and murder. Some broader definitions of police brutality also encompass harassment (including false arrest), intimidation, and verbal abuse, among other forms of mistreatment. (Source)
Who are Police Brutality Victims?
Here is a partial list of some of the victims of police brutality:
- George Floyd
- Ahmaud Arbery
- Breonna Taylor
- Freddie Gray
- Michael Brown
- Eric Garner
- Trayvon Martin
- Sandra Bland
- Tamir Rice
- Alton Sterling
- Philando Castile
Police Brutality Movies
I’ve scoured the internet and all of the popular streaming sites to compile this list of provocative movies on police brutality.
To ensure that there’s something for everyone on the list, I’ve divided the list into categories.
These movies document and/or reenact some of the experiences of these victims.
Police Brutality Movies on Netflix
Roger Guenveur Smith gives voice to the man at the center of the brutal police beating that helped fuel the 1992 LA riots. Spike Lee directs. | Stream on Netflix
Previously unseen footage is shaped into a fresh and timely retelling of the 1992 Rodney King trial — and the verdict that sparked civil unrest. | Stream on Netflix
This documentary chronicles simmering tension and broken trust between L.A.’s black community and police in the decade before the Rodney King riots | Stream on Netflix
The forces of family, grief and racial injustice converge in this Oscar-nominated documentary exploring the murder of filmmaker Yance Ford’s brother. | Stream on Netflix
They’re geniuses on the brink of solving time travel. But when tragedy strikes, they’ll only have so many chances to outwit fate. | Stream on Netflix
Arrested in Rome for a drug-related offense, Stefano Cucchi endures a harrowing week in custody. | Stream on Netflix
The death of a 15-year-old African American boy in Jersey City sets off a police cover-up and a search for the truth. | Stream on Netflix
Police Brutality Movies on Hulu
From the Academy Award-winning director of THE HURT LOCKER and ZERO DARK THIRTY, DETROIT tells the gripping story of one of the most terrifying moments during the civil unrest that rocked Detroit in the summer of ’67. | Stream on Hulu
A bystander films the death of a black man at the hands of police, which sparks rising tensions in a New York neighborhood as some are moved to take a stand. | Stream on Hulu
Starr Carter is constantly switching between two worlds — the poor, mostly black neighborhood where she lives and the wealthy, mostly white prep school that she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is soon shattered when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend at the hands of a police officer. | Stream on Hulu with CINEMAX Add-on
Police Brutality Movies on Amazon Prime
In 2013 in Sanford, Florida, vigilante George Zimmerman was found not guilty of the murder of 17-year-old African American Trayvon Martin. As a result, the struggle against police violence flared up under the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter and turned into one of the biggest grassroots movements in the US. The struggle against continued police violence, the role of gender, and why resistance is crucial. | Stream on Prime Video
An award-winning Tribeca Film Festival pick, COPWATCH is the incredibly timely profile of citizen-journalist-activists of WeCopwatch, an organization that films the police as a non-violent form of protesting police brutality, who are seeking to disrupt the ever-present challenge of police violence. Learn the stories behind the videos, and the great personal cost borne by the people who took them. | Stream on Prime Video
Underlining an ongoing pattern of racism and police brutality, as well as the frightening militarization of campuses nationwide, In His Own Home speaks to widespread and pervasive issues in our country that will, for the time being, remain among our most controversial and disconcerting media. | Stream on Prime Video
Gregg L Greer, Ronnie Man and Tio Hardiman and a group of untouchable leaders of their coalition in Chicago. As a team-they are fed up with corruption, police brutality, and murder. So they fight for change. | Stream on Prime Video
When a black couple is pulled over by police, a simple traffic stop becomes a nightmare they will never forget. | Stream on Prime Video
Do the Right Thing (Paid Rental)
It is the hottest day of the year on a block in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn; a scorching 24-hour period that will change the lives of its residents forever. | Stream on Prime Video
Police Brutality Movies on BET+
From executive producer Shawn Carter and The Cinemart, Rest in Power:The Trayvon Martin Story examines the life and legacy of Trayvon Martin.The 6-part documentary series looks at one of the most talked-about and controversial events of the last decade.
| Stream on BET+
Police Brutality Movies on Starz
A rookie New Orleans police officer is forced to balance her identity as a black woman after she witnesses two corrupt cops committing murder. | Stream on Starz
Police Brutality Movies on HBO / HBO GO / HBO MAX
Dashcam footage revealing her arrest went viral, leading to national protests. The film team followed the two-year case beginning shortly after Bland’s death | Stream on HBO
Police Brutality Movies on Tubi
Based on the events leading to the death of Oscar Grant, a young man who was killed in 2009 by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale district station of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system in Oakland. This is one of the most heart-wrenching police brutality movies based on true stories. | Stream on Tubi
Not familiar with Tubi? It’s one of 30 free movie streaming sites.