Whether the police brutality/harassment scenes in the movie were embellished for creative licensing or not, the fact remains that police corruption, racism and brutality ran rampant in predominantly African American communities such as Compton:
a significant number [of LAPD officers] who "repetitively use
excessive force against the public and persistently ignore the written
guidelines of the department regarding force."
L.A.P.D. offices are encouraged to command and confront, not to
Minority officers are often targets of racial slurs within the police
department, the report said. It also said the department's management
consistently discouraged citizen complaints against officers and
ignored racism and sexism.
In a Rolling Stone Interview, N.W.A member Ice Cube is quoted:
We were living in the middle of dope dealing, gangbanging, police
brutality, fucking Reaganomics, and there was nowhere to escape.
As for some of the encounters with police in the movie, let's break down a few of them:
There is a scene where the members of N.W.A. are harassed by LAPD officers while standing outside of their recording studio. According to a source for The Guardian, this actually did happen. However, this incident did not inspire the concept for their song "Fuck tha Police.":
In the movie, it happens outside a recording studio in Torrance,
California where they are recording their first album, Straight Outta
Compton. In real life, members of the group did get harassed by cops
in 1987 outside of Audio Achievements in Torrance while they were
recording their first album. However, the incident didn't help to
inspire the concept for their song "F*** Tha Police." Ice Cube had
developed the concept for the song long before Dr. Dre agreed to
record it (Dre wanted to wait until he no longer had to go to jail on
weekends as punishment for too many traffic violations)
- The concert in Detroit, Michigan where N.W.A. were chased off of the stage and arrested.
According to the Detroit Free Press, N.W.A were arrested, but not the way that it was portrayed in the film:
Ice Cube told a British talk show host in 2014: "We agreed to [not
perform 'Fuck tha Police' on tour] until we got mad at the promoter.
We were like, ‘Tonight we're going to do that song.’” He continued:
“We saw the whole Detroit police department rush the stage. They threw
fireworks and stuff onstage. We took off running. Some guys ran out of
the arena, to the hotel. They corralled us, arrested us all, and all
they wanted was damn autographs for their daughters and sons.”
In the film, N.W.A are arrested in front of the auditorium and the
crowd nearly starts a riot. However, in reality the group weren't
arrested until they made it back to the hotel. Reportedly, the police
waited in the lobby until N.W.A went down to gather up that night's
groupies, and then calmly made their arrests.
Yes, there were some liberties taken for the sake of creative licensing, but it seems with these instances, there was little taken. The facts cannot be disputed that police corruption and racism was a very real issue that members of N.W.A. had to live with on a daily basis.