Do White Police Officers Unfairly Target Black Suspects?

Citation data:

SSRN Electronic Journal

Publication Year:
2016
Usage 42306
Abstract Views 35962
Downloads 6344
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Mentions 5
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SSRN
SSRN Id:
2870189
DOI:
10.2139/ssrn.2870189
Author(s):
Lott, John R.; Moody, Carlisle E.
Publisher(s):
Elsevier BV
Tags:
discrimination; police use of force; racial bias
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article description
Using a unique new data set on police-involved homicides, we apply several discrimination tests to determine if white police officers discriminate against black suspects. We find that the probability of an unarmed black suspect being killed by a white police officer is significantly greater than the probability of a black suspect being killed by a black police officer. We also find that while black officers are generally more likely than white officers to kill unarmed black suspects at a higher rate than they kill unarmed white ones, the differences in these gaps for black and white officers are not statistically significant. These findings are inconsistent with taste-based discrimination on the part of white police officers.