The Death of the Unarmed Assailant on Racial Fears, Ambiguous Movement, and the Vulnerability of Armed Police
in The Symbolic and Material Construction of Guns, Austin Sarat and Jonathan Obert, eds. (Oxford University Press), Forthcoming
18 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2018
Date Written: April 6, 2018
The firearms that 600,000 police officers carry in the United States are a double-edged sword. They kill about 1,000 citizens each year but also can be used to attack the police officer. Often, the reason police kill unarmed citizens is they fear their guns will be turned against them. Statistics suggest that African American men are 40% of the 94 unarmed victims who were shot and killed by police in 2015, a much larger share of unarmed deaths than of other killings by police. Clear rules from police administrators are a much more promising method of reducing this death toll than the criminal law.
Keywords: Racial risks, unarmed victims, police killings, police guns
JEL Classification: K14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation