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Brutal Interrogation Tactics: How the police interrogate suspects

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Brutal Interrogation Tactics: From WWII to the Present


When people hear the term “brutal interrogation tactics,” they usually think of the military. After all, the thought of torture on US soil seems impossible. However, it is possible, and it does happen. The police can use brutal interrogation tactics to get suspects talking. Find out what these tactics are and why they are a problem.

The History of Interrogation Tactics

For centuries, interrogation has been a way for people to get information that they want or need. And for just as long, some individuals have used harsh methods to get those results. Here’s a quick look at some of the common interrogation techniques used since World War 2.

The Nazis

In World War 2, both the Nazis and the Allies used brutal interrogation tactics to get enemy soldiers to talk. However, the Nazi used particular cunning in their tactics. They would sometimes turn up the heat on enemy cells until the detainee could no longer handle the heat. Similarly, they used undernourishment as a way to get enemy soldiers talking. They would starve a soldier. Then, they would bribe him with food. If the soldier didn’t talk, then he risked dying of malnutrition.

Another common Nazi technique was sleep deprivation. By depriving someone of sleep for an extended time, they made him likely to confess to a crime he didn’t commit. The Nazis also used this technique to get information about people and events.

Other Groups Who Tortured Suspects

The Nazis weren’t the only ones to torture people. In fact, you might have a difficult time finding one country that has not used brutal interrogation tactics in one way or another. Here are some common techniques that people use across the world. In many cases, these tactics are used in attempts to get confessions for crimes.

  • Beating individuals
  • Binding them in a contorted position
  • Sleep deprivation, either to the point of hallucination or before then
  • Deprivation of food and/or drink
  • Waterboarding
  • Withholding medical care
  • Sexual humiliation
  • Subjecting individuals to extreme temperatures

Police in the US

Although you might find it hard to believe, US law enforcement officials sometimes use these tactics on suspects. It might not be legal, but this type of behavior does occur. For example, consider the case of a Latino teenager who did not get access to a bathroom. For four days, the police kept him chained up to a wall in an interrogation room. In addition to questioning him over and over again, the police did not allow him to use the bathroom. They also only fed him once in the four days that he was there. After he had enough, the young boy confessed to a crime of which he was not guilty.

In another case of harsh interrogation techniques, the police used military police interrogating techniques on suspects. During his 23 years on the police force, Jon Burge used the same techniques that he used on the Vietcong on black suspects. This included suffocation, electric shocks to the testicles, and Russian roulette. In his interrogations, the victims received both personal and emotional injuries.

Sadly, such torture still occurs. Although physical torture is less common today in police interrogations, other forms of torture occur. For example, sensory deprivation and isolation are common tactics. When you isolate someone for an extended period, the individual suffers greatly. The experience can be enough to force someone to make a false confession. Although the technique is damaging, it doesn’t leave any evidence. When someone undergoes this type of interrogation, it could remain a secret.

What’s the problem with brutal interrogation tactics?

One of the problems with harsh interrogation tactics is obvious –  they can cause emotional and physical injury to the victim. When a police officer treats you harshly, then that treatment can scar you for the rest of your life. Sometimes, the officers treat innocent individuals this way. For moral reasons, interrogation is not the way to go.

However, there is another major issue with these brutal interrogation tactics. When a police officer interrogates a suspect harshly, he might not get accurate results. The pain or discomfort of the experience could cause an individual to confess to a crime that he never committed. In the past, these false confessions occurred frequently. Whether you go back in time ten years or 100 years, harsh interrogations had the same results – innocent people confessed. You can get someone to say whatever you want when you torture them. For most individuals, there comes a point when they just want the torture to stop.

No matter what the police accuse you of, you have basic rights. These harsh interrogation techniques violate your rights. And they also cause you to say things that might not be true. If you find yourself a victim of brutal interrogation techniques, then you could be a victim of a coerced confession. With a lawyer’s help, you might be able to get justice.


If you feel you have been coerced into giving a false confession and admitting to a crime, call New York criminal defense attorney Troy A. Smith today.