Posts from July 2016

New Study Confirms Racial Bias in Use of Force by Police

July 12th, 2016

There are a bunch of articles going around social media about a new study that apparently found no evidence of racial bias in police shootings. These articles are of varying quality, including some that are very good but with wildly misleading headlines. As a public service, here’s the original paper they’re all reporting on.

Since everyone’s big takeaway seems to be “there’s no racial bias in policework, end of story,” these two passages should be of particular interest:

On non-lethal uses of force, blacks and Hispanics are more than fifty percent more likely to experience some form of force in interactions with police.

Our results have several important caveats. First, all but one dataset was provided by a select group of police departments. It is possible that these departments only supplied the data because they are either enlightened or were not concerned about what the analysis would reveal. In essence, this is equivalent to analyzing labor market discrimination on a set of firms willing to supply a researcher with their Human Resources data!

Also note that the paper has not undergone peer review or other independent vetting.

(This article was originally published on Facebook.)

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