Do White Police Officers Unfairly Target Black Suspects?
39 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2016 Last revised: 3 Jun 2020
Date Written: November 15, 2016
Using a unique new data set on police-involved homicides, we apply several discrimination tests to determine if white police officers discriminate against black suspects. We find that the probability of an unarmed black suspect being killed by a white police officer is not significantly greater than the probability of a black suspect being killed by a black police officer. We also find that while black officers are generally more likely than white officers to kill unarmed black suspects at a higher rate than they kill unarmed white ones, the differences in these gaps for black and white officers are not statistically significant. These findings are inconsistent with taste-based discrimination on the part of white police officers.
Keywords: discrimination, police use of force, racial bias
JEL Classification: K42, J71
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation