Tags: Law Enforcement | Study | Racial Bias | Police Shootings

Study Finds No Racial Bias in Police Shootings

Study Finds No Racial Bias in Police Shootings
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By    |   Monday, 11 July 2016 11:59 AM

There is no racial bias in shootings involving police officers, contrasting what is a widespread public perception, according to a new study by an award-winning Harvard economist.

The study, however, does confirm that in almost all other interactions with police, black people are treated more harshly. The detailed report tried to take into account for how, where and when the suspects encounter the police, The New York Times explains.

Harvard Economics Professor Roland Fryer, the author of the study, said it was the most surprising result of his career.

The study did not address specifically the most noted killings of black suspects by police across the nation, but instead examined more than 1,000 shootings in 10 major police departments, in Texas, Florida and California in order to determine a more widespread pattern.

Fryer and a group of students spent about 3,000 hours gathering detailed data from police reports across the country and tried to factor in as many conditions as they could into the study.

However, Fryer did say that there are possible problems with the data. Even the FBI admits that official statistics on police shootings are poor and these accounts are from the perspective of the officer, which can't always be taken at face value.

But the professor said he was aware of these difficulties and used a variety of models that controlled for different scenarios and possibilities.

The Bates Student gave a possible explanation for the non bias in shootings but the clear mistreatment of black people in all other encounters with police. For example, black people are more likely to be touched, handcuffed, pushed to the ground or pepper-sprayed by a police officer, even in cases where the policeman himself said the suspects were compliant.

One theory is that an officer is much more careful when firing his weapon, because the cost of unnecessarily doing so can be very high in terms of, among other things, his career, while excessive use of lesser force is much more rarely punished.

Fryer focused on that data to speculate that the failure to punish excessive everyday force, which is much more frequent than police shootings, is an important contributor to young black disillusionment and anger.

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There is no racial bias in shootings involving police officers, contrasting what is a widespread public perception, according to a new study by an award-winning Harvard economist.
Study, Racial Bias, Police Shootings
366
2016-59-11
Monday, 11 July 2016 11:59 AM
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