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University of Michigan

Community Awareness: Police Brutality in the U.S.

University of Michigan via Coursera


The tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery have sparked a wave of renewed protests against police brutality across the United States. These nationwide uprisings have transformed into an intense interest from the public around understanding systemic racism and abuse of power. Millions of Americans and people around the world are watching incidents of police violence and excessive force captured on video, but are looking to learn about the inequalities at the root of these incidents. While the calls of Black Lives Matter protesters to #DefundThePolice are being heard for the first time by many Americans, they are part of a longstanding effort by communities and activists to reinvest in communities rather than policing and prisons. In this course, you will learn about the history of police violence in America, become aware of laws and policies that prevent accountability, understand the demands of protesters, and gain the knowledge and tools to fight for change locally. The content for this Community Awareness course is adapted from a Teach-Out launched in July of 2020 from experts from across the United States involved in activism, social work, law, government, and higher education.


  • Introduction and History
    • An introductory history to the roots of modern policing in the United States.
  • Understanding the Impact of Police Violence
    • An overview of some of the many costs of police violence to the lives of individuals and communities impacted by police violence.
  • Policing in a Modern Context
    • In this module, we will cover some of the pressing issues in the patterns and practices of modern policing in the United States that present challenges to preventing police violence and misconduct.
  • Responding to Police Brutality
    • In this module, we will explore the various ways that individuals and communities are working to respond to systemic police violence and misconduct from the arts and popular culture to our experts thoughts on how we can address policing issues locally and nationally.
  • Taking action
    • In this module, you will find resources, advice, and strategies for planning how you can contribute to positive change in your community and develop an action plan to move forward.

Taught by

Teach-Out Experts


4.3 rating at Coursera based on 11 ratings

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