TikTok user Kelsey (@authentikelsey) sparked a whirlwind of comments with a now viral clip requesting to hear from family members of “bad cops.” She asks in the video, “What side of TikTok is for the family members and children of bad cops? Cuz I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one ready to talk.”
@authentikelsey #lookingformyallies #badcops #trauma #brotherhood #137shots #cleveland ♬ original sound – user8851849829951
According to Fatherly, her query is one that is rooted in reality. The outlet published an article titled “Police and Violence at Home: Cops Abuse Wives and Kids at Staggering Rates” which states “that police officers in the United States perpetrate acts of domestic violence at roughly 15 times the rate of the general population.”
However, the piece goes on to state that these statistics are “notoriously difficult to gather” as they “are skewed by a culture of silence and intimidation.”
The story’s author, Andrew Burmon, cited Canadian journalist Alex Roslin, who penned a book about the subject: “Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence.” Roslin has deeply studied domestic abuse cases and found that the majority of these reports either come from “biker gang spouses” and “police wives.”
Roslin called the fact that some officers abuse their families at home an “open secret” and referred to a 1991 report conducted by Leonor Johnson, a sociologist who wrote that a staggering 40% of officers at the time were more than likely guilty of violence against their families at home. These findings were submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives.
More recently, the Atlantic reported in 2014 that “police have a much bigger domestic-abuse problem than the NFL does.” The professional sports league has seen various domestic abuse/assault charges come up in recent years, but according to studies, law enforcement employees are by and large greater perpetrators of violent acts against spouses and children.
Kelsey elaborated on her previous TikTok in a follow-up video, in which she shared her own story. “What I’m looking for are the people whose family members have been charged with abuse of power, and what that looked like at home on the other side.”
She then goes on to describe what that looked like for her. Kelsey says her father, a police officer, was on trial for nine years, presumably for the aforementioned abuse of power. She claims that during that time, he was abusive toward her and her siblings and cheated on her mother, who worked incessantly to make up for his lost paychecks. Kelsay also alleges that he killed their pet dog.
“I’m ready to tell about it,” she says in the video.
@authentikelsey Reply to @medicrich #cleveland #137shots #netflix #badcops #trauma #truth ♬ original sound – user8851849829951
Her first video received over 700,000 views. TikTokers who responded to @authentikelsey urged her to “speak her truth,” while others listed accounts and resources where she could report alleged abusers.
“I’m not sure…speak your truths but be careful… you know the bad ones got issues and will turn on family too,” one viewer wrote.
“You’re actually the 2nd person I’ve seen on my FYP for this same reason. when you’re ready to talk we’re ready to listen,” another noted.
“I’m a police wife that’s pro-reform. I’ll keep an eye out on my platform and over at @policespouses4change. Thank you for speaking up!” a third said, linking to their page that works to organize police spouses against police brutality.
Other viewers echoed her sentiments, included a commenter who said that they were a child of a member of law enforcement.
“Ope. Not me being the former chiefs daughter and we e been no contact for two years,” one user wrote.
“Be careful. Make sure you are talking from a safe distance, physically and digitally. My ex had access to systems to track me down,” a second added.
“What about the kids the cops never helped? I called and they never stopped my father, just turned their heads… I’m talking,” a third claimed.
“Looks like this is where I may make my video debut,” another said.
There were some commenters who accused @authentikelsey of just trying to get back at her ex, to which she responded to in the aforementioned follow-up TikTok. She notes that the ‘bad cop’ in question was her father, not an ex.
While the “40% statistic” is one that comes up often in discussions regarding police brutality, it is also one that is hotly debated.
A thoroughly referenced Reddit post lists that The National Center for Women and Policing referenced two separate studies which support the 40% figure. The trouble is one of the studies was never published, and the 1991 report which Leonor Johnson testified was actually submitted in 1988. The Redditor who made the post said that they attempted to contact Johnson regarding the study, but never heard back from them.
However, they did mention a 1992 report called Interspousal Aggression in Law Enforcement families which conducted a “survey of 385 married male officers, 40 married female officers, and 115 female spouses” and while there was “some overlap” when the groups in the study were combined “you get a total of 40% of officers claiming that either they were violent towards their spouse or that their spouse was violent towards them.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to @authentikelsey for further comment.
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