Evidence Review and Research Suggestions for the Future

Since the riots in Ferguson, the claim that police deploy lethal force disproportionately and without justification against African-Americans has gained support. Since 2014, researchers have started looking at whether racial bias influences how police deploy lethal force. According to Parini, the government ought to study differences in police shooting rates by location and deploy body cams more regularly [1, 2].
Every year, police who are on duty shoot and murder more over 1,000 people, 25% of them are black. It is difficult to totally rule out the idea that some police shootings are motivated by racial prejudice, according to author David Rothkopf. Parini claims that describing the variations among police shootings may further clarify the issue of discrimination [3-6].
This paper focuses on the existence and magnitude of bias as well as how more study and data gathering may enhance our findings. The majority of the study on which the statistics in this report are based dates to around 2015. There is no desire to minimize other forms of prejudice or to diminish the possibility that racial prejudice might trigger unwarranted confrontations that end in fatal force [7, 8].
Many people were astonished to see that there is no comprehensive official data set of police murders in the wake of Ferguson. Even while certain databases record more murders than others, this wasn’t constant across time. After Ferguson, many initiatives emerged to fill the void, mostly through compiling media accounts [9, 10].
The number of police shootings recorded by The Washington Post in 2019 was nearly a fifth more than the CDC’s “legal intervention” estimate. This might imply that differences in the use of lethal force are frequently less significant than racial inequalities in fatality rates. It omits some of the most contentious police-related deaths, including those of George Floyd, Eric Garner, and Freddie Gray [11, 12].
In comparison to 13% of the total population, black people make up just over 25% of police shooting deaths. There is strong evidence to suggest that white people are more likely to commit “suicide by officer.” Areas with a high concentration of white people could also see police use of force with more tolerance [13, 14].
There is no comprehensive database of all encounters between police and citizens nationwide. For instance, the standard for arrests will be artificially inflated if innocent Black people are frequently detained due to bigotry. A BJS poll revealed that nearly half of murders that ended in arrests began with a call to the police [15, 16].
Although the black percentage of fatal police shootings is larger than that of any other benchmark group, it is still far lower than other indicators of violent crime and engagement in the criminal justice system. If we are basing our expectations on crime data, the bigger the black percentage we should anticipate among those shot, the more discriminating we envision police to be in whom they shoot. The greater black proportions of the harsher measures are a striking trend [17, 18].
Generally, compared to the CDC’s “legal intervention” total, the Washington Post’s database of police shootings in 2019 was roughly a fifth higher. This might imply that racial inequalities in deadly force usage are frequently smaller than differences in fatality rates. The deaths of George Floyd, Eric Garner, and Freddie Gray, three of the most vehemently challenged police fatalities, are left out.
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[3] R. D. McCord, The New Veil of Race-Neutrality: A Critical Race Perspective on the Disproportionate Police Killings of Unarmed Black Males. Arkansas State University, 2019.
[4] B. O’Flaherty and R. Sethi, “Stereotypes and the administration of justice,” Available at SSRN 3808745, 2021.
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[11] L. S. Goh, “Going local: Do consent decrees and other forms of federal intervention in municipal police departments reduce police killings?,” Justice quarterly, vol. 37, no. 5, pp. 900-929, 2020.
[12] J. Wertz et al., “A typology of civilians shot and killed by US police: a latent class analysis of firearm legal intervention homicide in the 2014–2015 National Violent Death Reporting System,” Journal of urban health, vol. 97, no. 3, pp. 317-328, 2020.
[13] J. M. Brown, Policing and homicide, 1976-98: Justifiable homicide by police, police officers murdered by felons. US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice …, 2001.
[14] J. Nix and J. A. Shjarback, “Factors associated with police shooting mortality: A focus on race and a plea for more comprehensive data,” PLoS one, vol. 16, no. 11, p. e0259024, 2021.
[15] S. Baradaran Baughman, “How effective are police? The problem of clearance rates and criminal accountability,” Ala. L. Rev., vol. 72, p. 47, 2020.
[16] K. B. Nunn, “Race, crime and the pool of surplus criminality: or why the war on drugs was a war on blacks,” J. Gender Race & Just., vol. 6, p. 381, 2002.
[17] J. Nix, B. A. Campbell, E. H. Byers, and G. P. Alpert, “A bird’s eye view of civilians killed by police in 2015: Further evidence of implicit bias,” Criminology & Public Policy, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 309-340, 2017.
[18] A. C. Gray and K. F. Parker, “Race and police killings: examining the links between racial threat and police shootings of Black Americans,” Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 315-340, 2020.

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