Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Study shows racial bias in police use of force, but not in shootings

The media has chosen to give extensive coverage to police shootings of African-Americans, and ignore those of Caucasians. They are owned by and depend for ad revenue on big business. NPR is no better, it caters to its corporate donors. It appears that they attempt to cause increased divisiveness, to keep us from working together for our common good. Unfortunately, they have largely succeeded.

The results are consistent with computer simulations. See below.

By Quoctrung Bui New York Times July 11, 2016

A new study confirms that black men and women are treated differently in the hands of law enforcement. But when it comes to the most lethal form of force — police shootings — the study finds no racial bias.

“It is the most surprising result of my career,” said Roland G. Fryer Jr., author of the study and professor of economics at Harvard. The study examined 1,000-plus shootings in 10 major police departments, in Texas, Florida, and California.

Blacks are more likely to be touched, handcuffed, pushed to the ground, or pepper-sprayed by a police officer, even after accounting for how, where, and when they encounter the police, the researchers found.

But the result on lethal force contradicts the image of police shootings many Americans hold


It focused on what happens when police encounters occur, not how often they happen. (There’s a disproportionate number of tense interactions between blacks and the police when shootings could occur, and thus a disproportionate outcome for blacks.)


Fryer is the youngest African-American to receive tenure at Harvard and the first one to receive a John Bates Clark medal, a prize given to the most promising American economist under 40. He is not afraid of controversial questions.


In officer-involved shootings in these 10 cities, officers were more likely to fire without having first been attacked when the suspects were white. Black and white civilians involved in police shootings were equally likely to have been carrying a weapon. Both of these results undercut the idea that the police wield lethal force with racial bias.


in the arena of “shoot” or “don’t shoot,” Fryer found that, in tense situations, officers in Houston were about 20 percent less likely to shoot suspects if the suspects were black.

This estimate was not precise, and firmer conclusions would require more data. But in a variety of models that control for different factors and use different definitions of tense situations, Fryer found that blacks were either less likely to be shot or there was no difference between blacks and whites.


White officers slower to shoot black suspects, new study finds

By Christine Byers • St. Louis Post-Dispatch Feb 1, 2016

Seated at computers, white police officers in a test group were quicker to press a button labeled “shoot” at images of armed blacks than armed whites. But the study also showed that when holding guns in more realistic simulations, the same officers were faster to shoot whites.

It’s an early result in efforts at Washington State University Spokane, aided by St. Louis criminologist David Klinger, to explore the mind-set of police in making life-and-death decisions.

The finding suggests that while white officers may have an “implicit bias” to associate blacks more quickly with danger, they hesitated longer to react, explained Lois James, lead researcher and assistant professor at the university's College of Nursing.

“That’s the driving message of our paper, implicit biases do not predict how people will behave,” James said.

The report says that in realistic situations, the officers waited about a quarter of a second longer to shoot armed black men than white — and they fired by mistake on unarmed white men three times more often than on blacks.


She and her colleagues speculate, based on anecdotal evidence that includes interviews with study participants, that the hesitation may be a subconscious fear of departmental and public scrutiny after shooting a minority suspect.

“I’m not saying they’re blame free, but (police) are increasingly finding themselves in a position where they are guilty until proven innocent,” she said.


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