Thursday, November 07, 2019

Police officers of which race are most likely to use deadly force?

The Media constantly do stories of white officers who seem trigger happy, especially if the suspect is black. Is such a portrayal accurate?

No. This study analyzes data on 291 officers involved in 106 shootings in New York City. Shooting officers were compared to non-shooting officers at the same scene. The authors found that black officers were 3.1 times more likely to shoot suspects than officers of other races. That's a big difference.

New research has reported that officers with high scores on impulsivity are quicker to pull the trigger than highly-controlled officers. Impulsivity is a major cause of criminality, too, and has been used to explain the black/non-black gap in crime.

1 comment:

  1. scottynx2:52 AM

    This is fascinating, thanks. This is no obscure researcher that found this. It looks like Greg Ridgeway is Associate Professor of Criminology and Statistics at UPenn (stats Phd). Prior to this, he had a few gigs like 1) Acting Director of the National Institute of Justice and 2) Director of the RAND Safety and Justice Program and the RAND Center on Quality Policing.

    I wanted to see where this was written up. There are very few press results for "Greg ridgeway" & "3.3" It looks like this is because he sort of pulled a Putnam in trying to hide this non-pc result by not putting out a press release. He succeeded as the mainstream media totally ignored it. Heather MacDonald wrote about it in a WSJ blog (unfortunately behind paywall), Dailywire and manhattan-institute.org wrote it up, and besides that there is this Science Mag interview:

    "Q: You also found that black officers were 3.3 times more likely to shoot than other officers.

    A: I opted not to put out a press release on this one, simply because I thought that would end up being the dominating story. In fact, Jim Fife [a key researcher in this area], when he first noted 30 years ago that black NYPD officers were twice or three times as likely to shoot, faced a lot of criticism, even though he also said they’re working in different environments. I don’t have the luxury of sort of explaining away that finding.

    Q: So what do you make of that finding?

    A: I can’t explain it. No explanation for that. There’s also no policy recommendation I would ever make based on that. Because at the same time, I believe we do need to encourage and diversify our police departments for a variety of other reasons—transparency, and so that our departments resemble the communities they police.

    Q: Do you worry the study could be used to dismiss concerns about white officers shooting black men?

    A: I think [the study] focuses the problem. I don’t think we need to make this about white officers shooting young black men. It’s about police officers shooting young black men.

    Q: Could the finding be specific to NYPD?

    A: New York is the only place I’ve done this and the only place I’ve been able to do it. I’ve tried other cities, and they often don’t collect sufficient data of all the officers that are on the scene.

    Q: Have any of your earlier findings been misinterpreted?

    A: Yeah, I had this headline in The New York Times. It was something like, “Analyst says NYPD is stopping a lot of blacks—and they should.” … Nowhere in the report did it say they should stop more black people. It said in some aspects, the police seem race-neutral in areas where they were believed to be racially biased. In other places where they were believed to be racially biased, we indeed found, yep, they are. … And that kind of nuance is difficult to communicate succinctly".

    See science mag: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/02/which-police-officers-are-quick-shoot-statistician-wants-know

    It's been 4 years and there has only been 7 citations. This isn't someone that should be able to be summarily dismissed, but he purposefully let the world dismiss him.

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