Posted June 12, 2022 Updated Jun 12, 2022 3:43 PM CDT
TikTok user Kelsey (@authentikelsey) sparked a whirlwind of comments with a now-viral clip asking to hear from family members about “bad cops.” She asks in the video, “Which side of TikTok is for the family members and kids of bad cops?” Because I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one willing to talk.”
@authentikelsey #lookingformyallies #badcops #trauma #brotherhood #137shots #cleveland ♬ original sound – user8851849829951
According to Fatherly, her question is rooted in reality. The outlet published an article titled “Police and Violence at Home: Cops Abuse Wives and Kids at Staggering Rates,” which said “US police officers are approximately 15 times more likely to commit domestic violence than the general population.”
However, the piece goes on to say that these statistics are “notoriously difficult to collect” because they are “skewed by a culture of silence and intimidation.”
The story’s author, Andrew Burmon, quoted Canadian journalist Alex Roslin, who wrote a book on the subject, Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence. Roslin has extensively researched cases of domestic violence and found that most of these reports come from either “biker gang spouses” or “police wives.”
Calling the fact that some officers abuse their families in the home an “open secret,” Roslin referred to a 1991 report by Leonor Johnson, a sociologist, who wrote that a staggering 40% of officers at the time were most likely to be violent their families at home had committed against them. These results were presented to the US House of Representatives.
More recently the Atlantic reported in 2014 that “the police have a much bigger domestic violence problem than the NFL.” The professional sports league has seen various domestic violence/assault charges in recent years, but studies show that law enforcement officers are by and large the larger perpetrators of violent crimes against spouses and children.
Kelsey expanded on her previous TikTok in a follow-up video where she shared her own story. “What I’m looking for are the people whose family members have been accused of abuse of power and what it was like back home on the other side.”
Then she describes what it looked like for her. Kelsey says her father, a police officer, was on trial for nine years, allegedly for the aforementioned abuse of power. She alleges that he abused her and her siblings during this time and cheated on her mother, who worked tirelessly to make up for his lost paychecks. Kelsay also claims that he killed her dog.
“I’m ready to tell you about it,” she says in the video.
@authentikelsey in reply to @medicrich #cleveland #137shots #netflix #badcops #trauma #truth ♬ original sound – user8851849829951
Her first video received over 700,000 views. TikToker who responded to @authentikelsey urged her to “speak her truth,” while others listed accounts and resources where she could report suspected abusers.
“I’m not sure… tell your truth but be careful… you know the bad guys are in trouble and will turn on the family too,” wrote one viewer.
“You are actually the second person I have seen on my FYP for the same reason. When you’re ready to talk, we’re ready to listen,” noted another.
“I am a pro-reform policewoman. I’ll keep an eye on my platform and over at @policepouses4change. Thanks for speaking out!” a third said, linking to her page which is working to organize police spouses against police brutality.
Other viewers echoed their feelings, including a commenter who said they were a child of a law enforcement official.
“Op. I’m not the former Chiefs daughter and we haven’t been in touch for two years,” one user wrote.
“Be careful. Make sure you speak from a safe distance, both physically and digitally. My ex had access to systems to track me down,” added a second.
“What about the kids the cops never helped? I called and they never stopped my dad, just turned their heads… I’m talking,” a third claimed.
“Looks like I might make my video debut here,” said another.
There were some commenters who accused @authentikelsey of just trying to get revenge on her ex, to which she responded on the aforementioned TikTok follow-up. She notes that the “bad cop” in question was her father, not an ex.
While the “40% statistic” often crops up in discussions of police brutality, it’s also one that’s hotly debated.
A well-referenced Reddit post lists that the National Center for Women and Policing referenced two separate studies that support the 40% figure. The problem is that one of the studies was never published, and the 1991 report that Leonor Johnson testified was actually filed in 1988. The Redditor who wrote the post said they tried to contact Johnson about the study but never heard from them.
However, they mentioned a 1992 report entitled Interspousal Aggression in Law Enforcement Families, which conducted a “survey of 385 married male officers, 40 married female officers, and 115 female spouses,” and although the groups in the study ” some overlap” were combined: “You get a total of 40% of officers who claim that either they were violent towards their spouse or that their spouse was violent towards them.”
The Daily Dot reached out to @authentikelsey for further comment.
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*Initial Release: Jun 12, 2022 3:34pm CDT
Jack Alban is a freelance journalist for the Daily Dot, covering trending human interest/social media stories and real people’s reactions to them. He’s always trying to incorporate evidence-based studies, current events, and pertinent facts to those stories to create your not-so-average viral post.
https://www.dailydot.com/irl/children-of-bad-cops-police-domestic-abuse/ TikToker Calls Bad Cops’ Family Members, Sparking Debate