A recent trend where people are sharing skits mimicking a violent arrest has gained lots of attention on TikTok. Most of these people have been white men. It seems as if the many people joining this trend are displaying a lack of care and are ignoring the dangerous reality of police violence that disproportionately affects people of color.
Glamorizing arrest is both disturbing and harmful to those who have been victims of police brutality and those who fight against it.
The trend began with TikToker Gage Bills who posted a clip where he is being aggressively handled by police, essentially cosplaying the situation like a character on a tv show, according to Blavity, a website by Black millennials. In the video, Bills went as far as putting makeup on his face to look like he had been beaten. The reenactment reached 23 million views and over three million likes as of Sept.17.
Other white TikTokers quickly followed this trend.
TikToker Brandon Calvillo, made a video of him “resisting arrest” which has 18.8 million views and over two million views. Calvillo’s video even featured another person dressed as a police officer.
It’s ironic that white men on TikTok are displaying violent interactions with police when they are more likely to leave those situations unharmed. When many Black and brown people have interactions with police, they have been harmed and even killed.
The staging of these videos makes police interactions seem like something to glorify, when in reality, they can be extremely dangerous and even fatal, especially for people of color. When stopped by police, Black Americans and Latinos are more likely to be killed or seriously injured than white people in similar situations, according to Los Angeles Times.
Black children are six times and Hispanic children are three times more likely to be at risk of death due to police intervention in comparison to white children, according to Children’s National.
Two cases of police violence against young Black and brown boys include the murders of 13-year-old Adam Toledo and 12-year-old Tamir Rice. Toledo was killed by police earlier this year, and Rice was killed by police in 2014.
These videos posted by white TikTokers were seemingly posted without any thought of how they could be harmful. The people who have gone viral from the trend don't appear to see any problems with the trend since the videos are still up for everyone to watch. This just shows how they appear to not care if these disturbing videos affect viewers.
Police brutality should not be something to make light of, especially not by white people since they don’t face the same repercussions Black and brown people do when interacting with police.
The romanticization of police brutality invalidates the experiences of many people of color who have had violent encounters with the police, and this trend counteracts efforts to end it.