It’s Official: Race May Be Factor in Police Shootings

By Jorge Rivas Feb 25, 2010

The most recent national analysis from the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that Blacks and Latinos were nearly three times as likely as whites to be searched by police—and Blacks were almost four times as likely as whites to be subjected to the use of force. According to the Chicago Tribune, The Justice Department is so alarmed by these findings that they’re funding research that looks at the "implicit, unconscious racial biases that may be driving such statistics and affecting police behavior."

"If in fact police have implicit biases—if they automatically associate blacks with crime—then that would be relevant to an officer in a split-second, shoot-or-don’t-shoot situation," said Lorie Fridell, a criminology professor at the University of South Florida who is creating a new anti-bias police training program with funding from the Justice Department. "Is the officer more inclined to believe he sees a gun in the hand of a black person, rather than a cell phone? I think that is possible."

Image used under creative commons license via Thomas Hawk.