A young nigga got it bad 'cause I'm brown
And not the other color so police think
they have the authority to kill a minority
The Anti-Police Song is a subtrope of the Protest Song focused on being a protest of and/or an expression of anger, frustration, or disgust with the police or other law enforcement. The Anti-Police Song often deals with themes of Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop, the Dirty Cop, Police Brutality, Police Are Useless, The Bad Guys Are Cops, perceived or actual bigoted/racist behavior by law enforcement officers, perceived or actual injustice and corruption in the process of law enforcement, and similar.
Related to Cop Hater, which is a character who hates the cops.
- Dead Kennedys
- "Police Truck", which depicts (in its uncensored version), police officers taking out a police truck for a night of Police Brutality and drinking culminating in raping someone inside the police truck.
- "I Fought The Law (And I Won)" (and a cover of the Cricket's version) fits this. It's about Dan White, a San Francisco ex-cop turned politician who murdered the gay politician Harvey Milk and the mayor George Moscone, and got away with it, largely because he was a former cop.
- "Out To Get Me" by Guns N' Roses, which is about persecution by the brutal LAPD.
- "Fuck The Police" by N.W.A, from Straight Outta Compton, is an obvious example of the trope, being a Boastful Rap about a "Reason You Suck" Speech against the LAPD for its brutality and bigoted racism against African-Americans, putting the LAPD "on trial."
- "No Law Or Order" by Hanoi Rocks.
- "Ridin'" by Chamillionaire is a Glam Rap example that underwent Memetic Mutation.
- "Cop Killer" from the album Body Count by Body Count, a metal group co-founded by rapper Ice-T. This song may be the most infamous and effective example of this kind of this song, and raised so much controversy at the time it was releasednote that it was removed from later reissues of the album.
- "I Shot The Sheriff" by Bob Marley from Burnin', in which the narrator turns out to have killed the racist sheriff in self-defence. Also, "Rebel Music" from Natty Dread, in which the police is targeted for arresting people for drug possession.
- "Sheriff John Brown" by The Coral is an Answer Song to "I Shot the Sheriff", in which it turns out that it wasn't even the narrator who killed the Sheriff, but the even more racist preacher, who shot the sheriff because he had last minute qualms about killing the narrator.
- "Sound of da Police" by KRS-One.
- "GO COPS" by Rucka Rucka Ali is an Affectionate Parody version of these songs set to the sound of Kesha's Tik Tok - but one which makes the same points.
- "Great Cop" by Fugazi. Furious guitars? Check. Yelling/growls from Ian Mackaye? Check. We have a seriously angry tune.
- "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)" from Goats Head Soup by The Rolling Stones:
The police in New York City
Chased a boy right through the park
In a case of mistaken identity
They put a bullet through his heart
- "I Fought The Law" by Bobby Fuller, Covered Up by The Clash, makes even someone who was robbing people with a weapon more sympathetic than the "law" that originally forced him into crime in the first place, then punishes by means of the Chain Gang.
- Another song Covered Up by The Clash is Junior Murvin's "Police and Thieves", which finds commonality between the two groups in "scaring the nation with their guns and ammunition."
- And there's also The Clash's own original song "Guns of Brixton" from London Calling, which flat-out fantasises about oppressed London black men killing the cops en masse. "Cheat" has the narrator flatly state, "I hate all the cops", as well as in several songs about crime including "Police on my Back", "Jail Guitar Doors" and "Bankrobber".
- "Prologue, August 29, 1968" by Chicago had audio footage of the chant "the whole world is watching", which was chanted by protesters at the 1968 Democratic Convention who were clashing with Chicago police.
- "Chicago" by Graham Nash also refers to the protesters' clash with Chicago police at the 1968 convention.
- In Quebec, Bonjour La Police (Hello the Police) was a song by comedic group Rock & Belle Oreilles. Named after a skit of the same name, it continues its theme of depicting police officers as doughnut-obsessed, incredibly stupid violent individuals. The song is obviously meant as a joke and achieved memetic status in Quebec during the 80s and 90s, so much that saying "Bonjour La Police" to a police officer was likely to cause a rather hostile reaction.
- "Get Your Riot Gear" by Five Iron Frenzy is very critical of Denver PD's reaction to the 1998 Superbowl riot. The liner notes have an explanation from Reese Roper that it's criticizing a specific incident, and isn't meant to be a blanket "cop-bashing" song. Then Reese cheekily adds, "It's a true story. If you don't like it, make all complaints to the Denver Police Department; they'd love to hear from you."
- Zig-Zagged by South Park in a teaser for its twentieth season. A stadium full of football fans stand to sing to the Star Spangled Banner's suit.
Colin Kaepernick is brave! Cops are pigs, cops are pigs
Wait, someone just took my stuff, I need to call the cops
Oh no, I just said cops are pigs! Who's going to help me get my stuff?
Why did I listen to Colin Kaepernick? He's not even any good
Oh, I just got all my stuff back, cops are pigs again, cops are pigs
Colin Kaepernick is a good backup...
- "Badge and A Bullet" by Stray From the Path. It focuses on abuse of power and the "above the law" attitude.
- The Levellers have made a number of these, including "The Battle Of The Beanfield", "Dirty Davey", "PC Keen" and "61 Minutes Of Pleading".
- From MDC, we have "Dead Cops", "I Remember", "Let's Kill All the Cops", "No More Cops"...among others. What else would you expect from a band most commonly referred to as "Millions of Dead Cops"?
- The Pogues, Birmingham Six is about the wrongful detention and conviction of six men of the right nationality who were within fifty miles of an IRA bombing outrage in Birmingham, England, who were beaten and tortured into confessing to a crime they did not commit, by the West Midlands Constabulary.
There are six men in Birmingham,
In Guildford there's four of 'em,
Picked up and tortured and framed by the Law
While the filth get promotion, they're still doing time,
For being Irish in the wrong place and at the wrong time!
- Unexpectedly reversed in "On the Beat, Pete" from ''Absolutely" by Madness, which is a song from the point of view of a kindly Old-Fashioned Copper who helps the disabled and lost tourists, banters with criminals, and is compassionate to tramps and prostitutes.
- "God's Cop" by Happy Mondays is an unusually personal example of this, being a direct attack on James Anderton, the notoriously right-wing, fundamentalist Christian, and homophobic Chief Constable of Greater Manchester.
- "Klink" by Death Grips.
- The Dicks had "Hate the Police", probably their most well known song (which was aided by the fact that Mudhoney Covered Up the song), a Villain Song from the perspective of an abusive, racist police officer:
Mommy, mommy, mommy, look at your son,
You might have loved me, but now I've got a gun
You'd better stay out of my way - I think I've had a bad day!
Daddy, daddy, daddy, proud of your son
Got himself a good job, killing niggers and Mexicans
I'll tell you one thing, it's true - you don't find justice, it'll find you!
- "Killing in the Name" by Rage Against the Machine is one of the more well known examples of this. An anger-fueled song against police brutality, with lyrics that equate some members of law enforcement with the KKK ("Some of those that work forces, are the same that burn crosses").
"Those who died, are justified,"
"For wearing a badge, and the chosen whites!"
"You justify those that died,"
"For wearing a badge, and the chosen whites!"
- "IPC" by the synthpop group Light Asylum is an empowering anthem about standing up to police injustice.
Fight girls, get tough, fight cops, who try to rape us!
- Poison Idea's "The Badge", which was famously covered by Pantera for The Crow soundtrack.
Do you think this corruption will ever stop?
What makes a person want to be a cop?
Ran a red light, storm the house and bust the guy
Do you like to see his children cry?
- Operation Ivy's "Officer" is an indirect version- the first verse sounds like it's describing a corrupt police officer, but by the second verse it becomes more clear that it's about a macho, violent, elitist punk rocker, who the singer is negatively comparing to a cop.
- Frank Zappa: Freak Out! gives us "Trouble Every Day," which while not a 100% example (it mainly criticizes the media coverage of its subject matter), was written in response to the Watts Riots and features a verse about the police culpability in the incident.
"Wednesday I watched the riots, see the cops out on the street.
Watch them throwing rocks and stuff, and chokin' in the heat."
- "Kinky Boots" by the Irish Brigade is a song making fun of British policies during The Troubles, and the people who followed them, such as the Royal Ulster Constabulary and Special Air Service. It Crosses the Line Twice by singing the British were homosexuals to the tune of Melanie's "Brand New Key".
And when we go on night patrol
We hold each other's hands
For we are the British Army
And we're here to take your land.
- Vincent E.L.'s "Fuck the Fire Department" is a spoof of these types of songs, as well as an example by analogy- in this case, it's about a world where fire departments regularly burn down people's homes.
- Left at London's "Do You See Us?" and "as blue as a bruise" are anti-police songs written in response to the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests.
- "Disillusion in a Discordant System" by Acrania thanks its blistering criticism against corruption in the police force and Police Brutality. Most notable is its use of pig squeals in its ending breakdown as a metaphor for the people revolting against and killing the cops who have screwed them over for so long
- Brazilian band Titãs had "Polícia", written after two members were arrested for drug possession. It led to an ironic moment after the drummer's girlfriend was kidnapped, and when he arrived at the police station following her release, the cops greeted him singing that song.
- Kris Kristofferson's "The Law is for Protection of the People" drips with sarcasm and eventually compares cops to the soldiers who crucified Jesus.
'Cause the law is for protection of the people
Rules are rules, and any fool can see
We don't need no riddle-speakin' prophets
Scarin' decent folks like you and me
- clipping. have a couple of notable ones: "Knees On The Ground" is a chilling depiction of a black boy being shot dead by a cop, and the militarised police presence at the resulting protest. "Chapter 319" is a furious song written as a direct response to the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, based around a sample of Floyd's rapping from his Screwed Up Click days.
- The death of amateur boxing coach Liddle Towers after being arrested and allegedly beat by police in jail in 1976 inspired a string of protests songs like "Time for Truth" by The Jam, "The Murder of Liddle Towers" by Angelic Upstarts and "Blue Murder" by Tom Robinson Band from the nascent punk scene.
- Besides Blue Murder", Tom Robinson Band also recorded famous Protest Song "Glad To Be Gay" which skewers the tabloid press and social homophobia in its latter verses, but starts with a take down of Police Brutality against gay clubs.
The British Police are the best in the world
I don't believe one of these stories I've heard
'Bout them raiding our pubs for no reason at all
Lining the customers up by the wall
Picking out people and knocking them down
Resisting arrest as they're kicked on the ground
Searching their houses and calling them queer
I don't believe that sort of thing happens here