Alternative Title

Police brutality and its impacts on Black and Latino males, their communities, mental health and healing

Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type



School for Social Work


Police brutality-Psychological aspects, African American men-Psychology, Hispanic American men-Psychology, Healing-Psychological aspects, Healing circles, Police brutality, Police violence, Black, Latino, Communities, People of color, Healing, Avenues of healing, Activism, Mental health


The purpose of this qualitative research study was to explore the impacts of police violence on Black and Latino males and their communities while also examining avenues of healing that could be helpful for survivors. Generally, this study focused on this question: What is the potential mental health effect of police brutality on Black and Latino males and what are avenues for healing for those affected? Twelve individual participants who identified as activists, advocates, or organizers in the Bay Area of Northern California participated in qualitative interviews that explored the impact of police violence and healing avenues. Participants were asked about the long-term impacts of police brutality on Black and Latino males and their communities, trends of police violence, barriers to healing, and healing avenues for survivors of police violence.

Major findings of this study suggest that Black and Latino males who survive police violence experience high levels of repetitive trauma, feel a sense of powerlessness through their experiences, internalize negative identities through those experiences, and struggle to share their emotions and stories due to challenges to their masculinity. Additionally, findings suggested that Black and Latino males could benefit from specific healing avenues including healing circles, engaging in advocacy and activism, and receiving support from culturally syntonic healers. The findings indicate a need to look further into how police violence affects communities of color and encourages social workers to be attuned to specific healing avenues for those impacted.




iii, 133 pages. M.S.W., Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma., 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 114-122)

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