The Role of Race in Police Interdictions: Evidence from the New York Police Department's Use of Stop, Question & Frisk Policing

33 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2015 Last revised: 9 Mar 2016

See all articles by Matthew Friedman

Matthew Friedman

New York University (NYU) - Brennan Center for Justice

Date Written: January 4, 2015

Abstract

This paper investigates the impact taste-based racial preferences have on police officers' selection of suspects for interdiction. Using data provided by the New York Police Department I estimate that African-American suspects are less likely than their white counter parts to be found in possession of contraband when searched by police, a finding that is consistent with racially biased policing within the model of police-suspect interaction this paper puts forth.

I report two novel results. First, this paper identifies suspect responses to interrogation as a previously unresearched channel through which race can disproportionally affect the probability police will correctly select guilty suspects for searches. It also shows that the relative (to Caucasians) probability that police recover contraband from an African-American suspect diminishes with spatial proximity to areas where African-Americans are stopped most intensively. My paper shows this finding to be consistent with racially-differentiated suspect responses to intensive policing, making it the first to positively associate racial disparities in policing intensity with differential suspect behavior.

Keywords: Policing, Racial Bias, Law Enforcement, Criminal Justice, Unequal Treatment,

JEL Classification: J71, K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Friedman, Matthew, The Role of Race in Police Interdictions: Evidence from the New York Police Department's Use of Stop, Question & Frisk Policing (January 4, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2689766 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2689766

Matthew Friedman (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Brennan Center for Justice ( email )

161 Avenue of the Americas
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New York, NY 10013
United States

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