Police officers are (in theory) responsible for enforcing the law, keeping the peace, and stopping criminal activity from growing out of control. However, some people just don't like or trust the cops, either being very afraid of their presence or outright hating them with a burning passion.
There are many reasons why a person dislikes law enforcement:
- They've been arrested for a crime they did not commit.
- The punishment outweighed the crime that they committed.
- The Police Are Useless, corrupt, or even evil, being hardly any better or different from criminals themselves.
- They were a victim of Police Brutality or otherwise suffered serious violations of their civil/human rights.
- They believe that the cops are nothing but prejudiced assholes, and may find any reason to arrest or attack them simply because of their race/ethnicity, being poor, or other attributes.
- The police are agents of a government that is extremely corrupt, oppressive, or both. The cops are only there to serve a morally-bankrupt state which neglects the needs of common citizens at best, or brutally represses them for any perceived dissent at worst.
- Someone they love gets (rightfully or wrongfully) arrested/attacked/killed by the police, and said person may or may not have gone through at least one of the above, which results in them being very wary around cops because of what the other person went through.
- They're anarchists or libertarians who hate the law and/or the state itself on principle, and thus distrust anyone whose job entails enforcing the state's power over citizens. They'll often cite any of the above examples of police officers (and other government employees) abusing their authority, in order to justify their disdain for them.
- If they're not motivated by political ideology or legitimate grievances about police misconduct, then it may just come down to them being an actual criminal who simply resents the cops for arresting them in the first place.
Most of the time, their views are at least somewhat justified, but sometimes it's nothing more than pettiness and/or paranoia. Often times, they'll have a grudge towards all law enforcement, even those who are good and have not wronged this character.
Note that if a character hates the police because they arrested them for breaking the law, then it would only count if the punishment for the crime was unjustified, as it's obvious that criminals would hate the police for doing their job correctly. If a character hates the cops because someone they knew was the one arrested, then it still counts since, while they're not the ones being arrested, their experience with someone they care about being incarcerated will sour their overall opinion on the law, even if that character was a legitimate criminal.
See Anti-Police Song, a type of Protest Song that's specifically about hating the police. Closely related to, but shouldn't be confused with Cool People Rebel Against Authority, as "fuck the police" is often used as a rallying cry against authority in general. Said character may be The Paranoiac. Can overlap with Rage Against the Legal System if the character tries to take direct action against law enforcement and Cop Killer if this trope is their main motive for killing police officers. Particularly hardboiled examples have been known to sport Knuckle Tattoos with the slogan "ACAB", short for "All Cops Are Bastards" (which has become a much more popular phrase ever since the Black Lives Matter protests that happened all over the United States in the summer of 2020 following the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police).
- The minor Batman villain Wrath has a similar origin to Prometheus (see below), but predates him; his parents were thieves that a young Jim Gordon was forced to kill after they drew their guns, earning him Wrath's hatred. Wrath tried to convince Batman that Gordon killed his parents without provocation, but Bats refused to believe it.
- JLA (1997): The supervillain Prometheus has an intense hatred of the police due to his origin story, which is the inverse of that of Batman. His parents were two hippie spree killers, and he traveled across the United States with them until they were cornered by local law enforcement and were gunned down after opening fire on the surrounding police. This traumatic experience caused his hair to turn white, and he vowed to "annihilate the forces of justice" in order to get revenge for his slain parents.
- In Runaways, the titular team is generally anti-cop, because the cops used to be on the payroll of the Pride. Later members Victor, Xavin, and Klara aren't too fond of cops, either, since Victor and Xavin were tortured at the hands of S.H.I.E.L.D. during Civil War (2006) and Klara hails from a time when the cops harassed immigrants like her with impunity.
- In The Spirit (and its film adaptation), Sand Serif has a hard-core hatred of cops because one of them killed her (small-time crook) father. For Denny Colt (who had a father in the police force and became a cop himself when he grew up and he still helps the police after becoming the Spirit) this was (and still is) more hurtful than he wants to show.
- The first 87th Precinct novel is title Cop Hater and deals with what the 87th Precinct dealing with what appears to be a Serial Killer with a grudge against cops. However, it ultimately turns out to be a case of Serial Killings, Specific Target.
- Lisbeth Salander of the Millennium Series hates contacting police and the authorities due to her noticing that involving them only gave her more problems. It goes so far as refusing to call the police to inform them Martin is a serial killer.
- Rose Daniels from Rose Madder is afraid of the police because her abusive ex-husband Norman is a cop. Fortunately, she meets some cops that are actually good and take her matter with Norman very seriously because people like him give the police a bad name.
- 9-1-1: After witnessing her father and brother face police brutality, May Grant writes her college essay on her disdain for cops despite her mother being a Sergeant and titles it ‘Living with the Enemy.’
- Arrowverse: Mick Rory/Heatwave has a strong dislike of police officers, whom he refers to as "pigs". Even after he turns good, he still considers the thought of helping the police distasteful.
- Il Commissario Montalbano: The unnamed old farmer from "August Flame" hates the police, due to him being arrested years previously for molesting a teenager Rina, when in reality he actually saved her from Spitaleri. So much so that when Montalbano tries to talk to him, he threatens him with a shotgun.
- In Engrenages, Amoral Attorney Karlsson hates the police in general, because when she was a child the local cops covered up her mother being abused by her father because he was a judge, which eventually led to her mother killing herself.
- FBI: Most Wanted: In "Hairtrigger", Doug Timmons has a deep-seated hatred of the police due to their failure to intervene earlier in the school shooting he was a victim of.
- Downplayed in House of Anubis: Following the discovery that police officer Sgt. Roebuck is a member of Victor's Secret Society, is therefore untrustworthy, and that he'd openly lied to Patricia about Joy's safety and whereabouts, Sibuna had developed a general mistrust of cops. On two separate occasions afterward, a newbie would make the suggestion to take the situation to the police, and would get immediately shot down by the more experienced Sibuna members.
- In the Monk episode "Mr. Monk Bumps His Head", an amnesiac Monk talks to the woman he thinks is his wife about a job offer the local sheriff made. She immediately dismisses it, saying she hates cops.
- Reservation Dogs: Uncle Brownie calls Big a "traitor, po-po blackheart" for becoming a tribal cop.
- Shameless (US): All of the characters despise the police, usually because it runs the risk of interrupting some sort of scam they're running, but also because the police are presented as corrupt at best.
- This is a recurrent theme in rap and hip-hop music, especially of the more politically conscious variety, mainly due to police misconduct against black communities. As shown in the page quote, the song "Fuck tha Police" in the album Straight Outta Compton by N.W.A, a song protesting against Police Brutality and racial profiling of minorities.
- KRS-One has his famous hit "Sound of Da Police" ("Woop, woop / That's the sound of da police! Woop, woop / That's the sound of Da Beast!"), which details how cops are the direct successors of slavecatchers and plantation overseers. In a mildly disturbing chain of events, cops have been known to love the song.
- As ubiquitous in Punk as in Hip-Hop, stated most plainly by Folk Punk band Wingnut Diswashers Union in their song "Fuck Every Cop (Who Ever Did His Job)"
- The Phantom Thieves in Persona 5 all have varying degrees of distrust to outright resentment of the police, due to most cops they've dealt with being in the pocket of The Conspiracy and trying to pin the Mental Shutdown murders on them. In Persona 5 Strikers, police officer Zenkichi Hasagawa ends up a Sixth Ranger to the group, but it takes a long time before he's fully accepted.
Haru: [in a perfectly cheerful and polite voice] Sorry about that - we just despise the police, is all.
- In the Jeff the Killer spin-off "Jane the Killer", Jane's father is an ex-cop who now hates them, as he was framed for stealing drugs and was forced to leave. He enforces a strict "no cop" policy.
- @dril is obsessed with cops. In his telling, they constantly brutalise him with over-the-top violence in response to mild infractions like saying "mummies are made out of diapers" at the museum, or torture him by making him look at a man putting mustard on a bagel. He claims cops breastfeed criminals with gigantic fake boobs filled with milk, but later retracted this comment to include 'only some' of them. At the same time, he also worships cops, thinks they should be dual-wielding guns, and thinks they should have the right to torture him freely.
- dado, a recurring problem for the SCP Foundation, dislikes police because they keep assaulting his consumer base (i.e., everyone) and created a special donut shop (designated SCP-5740) to express it. The donuts produced by SCP-5740 are normal for civilians, but if a policeman eats one the donut causes them to excrete a live pig a few hours later.
- Gordon Freeman from Half-Life but the AI is Self-Aware despises all forms of state actors but has a particular hatred for the police and will gleefully kill any cop in his way. Justified, considering that the cop he spends the most time with is Benrey.
- Jreg: Anarcho-Fascist, a character in the Centricide series, has a strong hatred of cops because they stop him from committing hate crimes against minorities.
- SMPLive: Schlatt & Co. hate cops, likely due to their White-Collar Crime.
Connor: We don't serve cops.
Schlatt: We don't serve cops. Cops are bastards. If I see anyone on the road with a thin blue line bumper sticker, I crash my car into them and hope they die.
- Arcane: Everyone in the Undercity hates the Enforcers whose very appearance as Gas Mask Mooks, besides making them look inhuman, rubs it in their faces of the enormous wealth disparity as people from topside don't want to breathe the poisonous air in the underground that locals have to breathe every single moment and reinforces that the Enforcers act more like an occupying foreign force. The Enforcers are brutally violent to the locals and treat all of them as criminals. Vi and Powder especially hate them for killing their parents as part of a failed uprising.