Black police officers less inclined to use force than white officers, study finds

Black and Hispanic officers also make fewer stops and arrests than white counterparts
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CHICAGO — On February 11, Science magazine published a study on the impact of race and gender on police-civilian interactions in Chicago, IL. The researchers found that Black and Hispanic officers are less likely to use force than white officers, especially against Black civilians. They also make fewer stops and arrests than their white counterparts, according to the study.

“These effects are largest in majority-Black areas of Chicago and stem from reduced focus on enforcing low-level offenses, with greatest impact on Black civilians,” the report stated.

The authors wrote that the study was necessitated by the high-profile incidents of police brutality against Black Americans in the last year, arguing that it is important to know if race and gender affects the exchanges between officers and civilians. 

The findings suggest that diversity reforms can improve police treatment of minority groups, the authors stated.

“Diversification is a widely proposed policing reform, but its impact is difficult to assess,” according to the report. 

The researchers assessed three year’s worth of records of daily patrol assignments to compare the average behaviour of the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) officers of different demographic profiles who are working in comparable environments.  

The study also found that female officers are also less inclined to dispense violence than male officers, which holds true for all racial groups. 

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