Police officers in Oakland, Calif., are more likely to speak to white community members with a higher level of respect than they would to black community members, a new study finds, CNN reports.
Researchers at Stanford University analyzed 183 hours of body cam footage taken during 981 traffic stops by 245 different Oakland Police Department officers in April 2014 and published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Volunteers analyzed 312 conversations between police officers and black community members and 102 between police officers and white community members and rated on a four-point scale how respectful, polite, friendly, formal and impartial the officer was.
Researchers then developed a computer model to rate how respectful each interaction was by going off pre-existing scientific literature published on politeness and respectfulness including how often police officers introduced themselves, used formal titles and please and thank you’s, and reassured safety after the stop.
"At the very least, this provides evidence for something that communities of color have reported, that this is a real phenomenon," said Rob Voigt, the lead author of the study and a doctoral student in the linguistics department at Stanford University.
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