Study: White Cops Are More Likely to Use Force Than Black Cops—Especially Against Black Suspects

Are white cops more likely to use force than black cops? A recent study suggests they are. Using data from 911 calls in which police officers are randomly chosen to respond, Mark Hoekstra and CarlyWill Sloan produce the following chart:

As you can see, white cops are always more likely to use force than black cops. But here’s what’s even more interesting: as the black percentage of a neighborhood goes up, white officers increase their use of force far more than black officers. The blacker the neighborhood, the bigger the difference in use of force.

The difference is even more dramatic when it comes to guns. In white and mixed-race neighborhoods, white and black cops use their guns at about equal rates. But as neighborhoods become blacker, the use of guns by white officers skyrockets while the use of guns by black officers increases only slightly.

This is only one study in a single city of modest size. Still, the study design is solid and the sample size of 911 calls is large. If you’ve been skeptical of claims that white cops treat black suspects worse than white suspects, you should be less skeptical now.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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