Article

The Reverse Racism Effect: Are Cops More Hesitant to Shoot Black Than White Suspects?

Authors:
  • Washington State University, Spokane Campus
  • Washington State University–Health Sciences, Spokane, Washington, United States
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Abstract

Research Summary Race-related debates often assume that implicit racial bias will result in racially biased decisions to shoot. Previous research has examined racial bias in police decisions by pressing “shoot” or “don't-shoot” buttons in response to pictures of armed and unarmed suspects. As a result of its lack of external validity, however, this methodology provides limited insight into officer behavior in the field. In response, we conducted the first series of experimental research studies that tested police officers and civilians in strikingly realistic deadly force simulators. Policy Implications This article reports the results of our most recent experiment, which tested 80 police patrol officers by applying this leading edge method. We found that, despite clear evidence of implicit bias against Black suspects, officers were slower to shoot armed Black suspects than armed White suspects, and they were less likely to shoot unarmed Black suspects than unarmed White suspects. These findings challenge the assumption that implicit racial bias affects police behavior in deadly encounters with Black suspects. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1745-9133.12187/abstract

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... A few research studies conducted in high-pressure environments (HPE) suggest that HPEs induce stress and compromise general decision-making in the use of lethal force (Heusler & Sutter, 2022;Landman et al., 2016;Neiuwenhaus & Oudejans, 2010;Neiuwenhaus et al., 2012;Taylor, 2020;Taylor, 2021); studies that specifically examine the role of race and racism in HPEs are sparse and inconclusive (Akinola & Mendes, 2012;Cox et al., 2014;James et al., 2016;James et al., 2013;Luini & Marucci, 2015). One approach researchers have used to simulate HPEs is to have participants engage with live "opponents" who have the capacity to shoot back fake bullets (i.e., soap cartridges), which cause a sensation of pain (Neiuwenhaus & Oudejans, 2010;Landman et al., 2016). ...
... Only a few studies have examined the role of race and racism in police officers' decisions to use lethal force within HPEs, and the results are somewhat contradictory (Akinola & Mendes, 2012;Cox et al., 2014;James et al., 2016;James et al., 2013;Luini & Marucci, 2015). In one study, civilian and police officer participants who completed a stress-inducing task before completing a task similar to Correll's paradigm had faster response times shooting Black suspects relative to White suspects (Luini & Marucci, 2015). ...
... In another study using a similar design, participants who were under stress before completing Correll's shooting task were more likely to shoot Black armed targets compared to White armed targets; however, higher levels of stress (as indicated by increased cortisol levels) correlated with fewer errors with Black armed (but not White armed) suspects, as well as greater ability to differentiate armed from unarmed Black suspects (Akinola & Mendes, 2012). In a series of studies, James and colleagues had participants interact with on-screen actors in a series of suspect encounters with branching simulations inside of a sound-isolated shooting range on a high-definition monitor; they found that unarmed White were more likely to be shot than unarmed Black suspects, and that participants were slower to shoot Black than White suspects (James et al., 2016;James et al., 2013). Cox et al. (2014) study using video simulations also found more errors and faster shooting times with White suspects compared to Black suspects. ...
Article
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Here we investigated the role of physiological stress on participants' lethal force decisions with Black suspects using a novel virtual reality (VR) paradigm. We examined the conditional and mediational roles of implicit racism and visual attention to Black suspects. For this study, we filmed a series of high-risk suspect-police interactions with a 360° video camera which, when viewed through the VR headset, embeds the participants in these scenarios from the perspective of a police officer. Embedded eye tracking in the VR enabled assessment of both physiological stress (through pupil dilation) and attention (through gaze location). Analysis of these behavioral data with criminal justice majors ( N = 39) revealed a facilitative function of physiological stress for improving accuracy in lethal force decisions, specifically among those with low levels of implicit racism. Findings also indicated that dysregulated attention—characterized by either disorganized or fixated attentional patterns—compromised lethal force decision making. Results are discussed in relation to future applications of VR to inform our understanding of cognitive and affective precursors of poor decision making. Implications include the promise of cognitive-behavioral interventions for mitigating dysregulated attention patterns, ultimately towards the end of reducing unwarranted uses of lethal force against Black men and women.
... As stated by Cesario et al. (2019, p. 587), "Insofar as Blacks and Whites have different police exposure rates, a more correct benchmark to calculate racial disparity in fatal police shootings is not population proportions but instead rates of police exposure." Other studies have found that police officers are less likely to shoot unarmed or armed Black civilians than White civilians (Fryer, 2016;James et al., 2016;James et al., 2013;Worrall et al., 2018). For example, using officer-involved shooting data from the Dallas Police Department (2003)(2004)(2005)(2006)(2007)(2008)(2009)(2010)(2011)(2012)(2013)(2014)(2015)(2016), Wheeler et al. (2018) found that Black civilians were 45% less likely to be shot than similarly-situated Whites. ...
... For example, using officer-involved shooting data from the Dallas Police Department (2003)(2004)(2005)(2006)(2007)(2008)(2009)(2010)(2011)(2012)(2013)(2014)(2015)(2016), Wheeler et al. (2018) found that Black civilians were 45% less likely to be shot than similarly-situated Whites. Likewise, studies have also found that officers take significantly more time (0.20-1.34 seconds) to shoot armed Black civilians than Whites in video simulations of "shoot-don't-shoot" decision scenarios (James et al., 2016;James et al., 2013). Lastly, Johnson et al. (2018) found that providing civilian race information to officers during a simulation experiment reduced racial biases in decisions to shoot. ...
... While the majority of studies have examined racial disparities, a few studies have also examined ethnic disparities in officer-involved shootings (see Edwards et al., 2019;Fagan & Campbell, 2020;Fryer, 2016;James et al., 2016;James et al., 2013;Johnson et al., 2019). While the studies by Fryer (2016) and James et al. (2013) found no significant difference in the likelihood of police officer shootings of both armed and unarmed Hispanic and White civilians, other scholars have found ethnic disparities in officer-involved shootings. ...
Article
The current study provides findings from a systematic review of the police use of deadly force literature over the most recently completed decade (2011–2020). After an exhaustive search of four scientific databases, 1,190 peer-reviewed articles related to the use of force were identified. Of these, 181 articles specifically examined deadly force, with 86 of them drawing on such force as the dependent variable. We found that the number of articles examining police use of deadly force increased dramatically over the course of the study period and encompassed a wide range of determinants of behavior. Citizen possession of a weapon continues to be the most consistent risk factor of police use of deadly force across decades of policing literature. Additionally, while many studies have attempted to examine the link between race and lethal force, a determination of such a relationship is difficult given both mixed findings and a lack of available national data.
... FTS technologies have been used to study variables relevant to officer performance in deadly force situations, including the impact of suspect race (e.g. James et al., 2016), officer fatigue (e.g. James et al., 2018b), and psychophysiological indicators (Johnson et al., 2014). ...
... This study contributed to the literature on officer decision-making during high-risk encounters with the public and extended the methodologies previously used to study officer behaviour in simulated environments (e.g. James et al., 2016). We addressed two key research questions: to determine whether there was a relationship between the scenario outcomes and the scenario itself (RQ1), and we analysed officers' self-reported situational factors in the deadly force scenarios to parse out salient characteristics (RQ2). ...
... Cowell et al., 2021) have cautioned officers against the reliance on individual factors to inform their actions in deadly force situations. The participants in this study limitedly reported using such descriptors to inform their decision, suggesting that factors other than individual characteristics were more relevant in these scenarios (James et al., 2013(James et al., , 2016. ...
Article
In the USA, police officer–citizen encounters are routine, and while rare, high-profile shootings underscore the acute strains that exist between the police and communities when force is inappropriately applied. This collaborative partnership explored the situational contexts that impact officer decision-making in deadly force encounters in order to inform training and practice initiatives. In this study, we analysed 39 officers’ responses to 233 simulated encounters with the public using a firearms training system. We coded participants’ performance into one of the five possible outcomes (pass, missed target, suspect shot first, shot victim, and shot too soon). The most commonly occurring outcome was pass (44.6%), followed by suspect shooting first (29.6%), and missed target (12.9%). Content analysis of self-identified situational factors revealed that across all scenarios, the officers’ decision was most commonly informed by suspect cues, environmental factors, and the presence of a firearm. Implications of the findings are discussed.
... In order to analyze it adequately, we proceed as follows: In Sect. 2, we first give a brief overview of the mounting evidence in support of the existence of shooting bias among police officers, especially but not exclusively in the US, and then we introduce two studies by James et al., (2016) and Fryer (2019) that question the existence of such bias. Although the authors confirm that there is widespread racism in non-lethal police use of force, they claim that their research could not reveal racial bias in officers' shooting decisions. ...
... Lind, 2016). However, a simulation study conducted by James et al., (2016) and an analysis of police reports by Fryer (2019) both claim that they could not reveal any racial bias in officers' shooting decisions. Thus, they dissent from a very well-confirmed and established consensus on this issue. ...
... Using what they call "state-of-the-art simulators similar to those used by law enforcement agencies in the United States and around the world to conduct deadly force judgment and decision-making training" (p. 461), James et al., (2016) aim to test the shooting bias hypothesis in a better, more realistic simulation, which would count as a proxy for police encounters with armed and unarmed subjects. ...
Article
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The shooting bias hypothesis aims to explain the disproportionate number of minorities killed by police. We present the evidence mounting in support of the existence of shooting bias and then focus on two dissenting studies. We examine these studies in light of Biddle and Leuschner’s (2015) “inductive risk account of epistemically detrimental dissent” and conclude that, although they meet this account only partially, the studies are in fact epistemically and socially detrimental as they contribute to racism in society and to a social atmosphere that is hostile to science as scholars working on issues of racism come under attack. We emphasize this final point via recourse to Kitcher’s “Millian argument against the freedom of research.”
... In each of the three studies, we employed a modified version of the Weapons Implicit Association Test (IAT) (James et al., 2016). In addition, while we do not hypothesize about the relationship between implicit and explicit beliefs in this study, we also measured participants' self-reported attitudes about Black men, as is considered a best practice in research using the IAT (Kurdi et al., 2019). ...
... We measured participants' perceived threat of Black men based on attire using a modification of the Weapons IAT. 2 The original Weapons IAT (James et al., 2016;Nosek et al., 2007) includes images of White and Black male faces and harmless objects (e.g., cellphone, soda can) and weapons (e.g., cannon, sword) to be categorized with the labels "Black American"/"White American" and "harmless object"/"weapon". Our only modification was that we used images of Black and White men that also included their clothing. ...
... However, we did not choose styles that are commonly associated with urban streetwear because we did not want racialized associations with that style to confound our ability to compare professional and casual dress effects. As in prior research (James et al., 2016), the stimuli for the weapons were black-and-white images of outdated weapons such as a canon, sword, and pistol. Employing these types of weapons ensures that there are no obvious racialized associations that may occur with more modern weapons like a Glock or an AR-15. ...
Article
Previous research has demonstrated that Black men are perceived to be more threatening than White men. Relatedly, public discourse suggests that respectable dress may reduce this perception. In this paper, we test whether professional attire reduces associations of threat with Black men. In three separate studies, participants completed a modified version of the Weapons Implicit Association Test (IAT). In Study 1, we tested whether Black men are associated with threat more than White men dressed in similar attire. In Study 2, we sought to test whether professional dress lessens the association between race and threat through intra-race comparisons. In Study 3, we assessed the perception of threat of Black men compared to White men when dressed in differing attire. Overall, findings indicate that participants associate Black men with threat more than White men, regardless of attire. Moreover, contrary to expectations, participants more strongly associate professional than casual dress with threat. The results have implications for public and scientific discourse regarding how contextual cues affect perceptions of Black men as threatening.
... Several theories have attempted to explain the mechanisms through which racial and ethnic disparities are produced. These include explicit and implicit bias theories Correll, Park, Judd, & Wittenbrink, 2002;Eberhardt, Goff, Purdie, & Davies, 2004;James, James, & Vila, 2016;James, Klinger, & Vila, 2014;James, Vila, & Daratha, 2013;Payne, 2001;Plant & Peruche, 2005;Sadler, Correll, Park, & Judd, 2012); threat theories (Klinger, Rosenfeld, Isom, & Deckard, 2016;MacDonald, Kaminski, Alpert, & Tennenbaum, 2001;Ross, 2015;Rydberg & Terrill, 2010;Terrill & Mastrofski, 2002); and administrative policy and organizational culture theories (Davis, 1971;Fyfe, 1979;Nowacki, 2015;Smith, 2004;Terrill & Paoline III, 2017;White, 2001). ...
... A substantial body of research has examined the consequences of such biasesparticularly on how they impact the use of force against black and white individuals (Correll et al., 2002;Correll, Park, Judd, Wittenbrink, Sadler, & Keesee, 2007;Eberhardt et al., 2004;James et al., 2013;James et al., 2014;James et al., 2016;Plant & Peruche, 2005;Sadler et al., 2012). Early studiesoften referred to as "shoot/don't shoot" studieswere conducted in laboratory settings where research participants were shown images of black and white individuals holding weapons or neutral objects such as wallets or phones. ...
... A series of recent studies out of the Washington State University (WSU) Simulated Hazardous Operation Tasks Laboratory has placed research participants in immersive high-definition video simulations based on actual incidents where officers were either killed or injured. Participants were given modified handguns that fired infrared beams, allowing researchers to measure exactly where the participant shot potential suspects and how long it took them to shoot following exposure to a threat (James et al., 2013;James et al., 2014;James et al., 2016;James, James, and Vila, 2018). In the first WSU study, civilians and active-duty police officers were less likely to shoot unarmed blacks compared to unarmed whites and were no more likely to shoot unarmed Latinos compared to unarmed whites. ...
Article
Purpose Determine whether black and Latino pedestrians are more likely to be frisked or subjected to the use of force under New York City's stop-and-frisk program. Methods Inverse probability weighted regression adjustment and covariate exact matching were used on the New York City Police Department's stop-and-frisk data from 2008 to 2012 to estimate the average treatment effect on the treated (i.e. the effect of being black or Latino) on four post-stop outcomes (being frisked, being subjected to any force, being subjected to weapon force, and being subjected to non-weapon force). Results The results show that being black or Latino is associated with being frisked and subjected to non-weapon force. Race and ethnicity are not associated with weapon force. Conclusions Results are contextualized in terms of threat theory, administrative and organizational policy, and implicit bias. Because black and Latino pedestrians are still more likely to be frisked and subjected to non-weapon force after matching for relevant pedestrian and stop characteristics, particular attention is paid to the role of implicit bias.
... Particularly noteworthy are the studies carried out by James and her colleagues. Interestingly, they report results that are drastically different from many of the studies included in the reported meta-analysis (e.g., evidence for a shooting bias against White individuals rather than Black individuals; James et al., 2016). Consistent with this meta-analysis, however, James et al. (2016) found that measures of implicit biases were not predictive of shooting biases. ...
... Interestingly, they report results that are drastically different from many of the studies included in the reported meta-analysis (e.g., evidence for a shooting bias against White individuals rather than Black individuals; James et al., 2016). Consistent with this meta-analysis, however, James et al. (2016) found that measures of implicit biases were not predictive of shooting biases. police-public interactions (e.g., . ...
... For example, officers' preoccupation with danger (Sierra-Arévalo, 2021;Skolnick, 1966) might make them more prone to draw and point their firearms when performing certain activities (e.g., serving warrants, making arrests) or being dispatched to certain calls for service (e.g., domestic disputes; see . Meanwhile, the science of implicit biases and stereotype threats raises concerns that a suspect's race may influence officers' decisions to draw and point their firearms (James et al., 2016;Kahn et al., 2016;Smith & Alpert, 2007;Trinkner et al., 2019). And finally, the "policing as a craft" argument (Bayley & Bittner, 1984) suggests that with experience, officers become more adept at dealing with people and resolving conflicts without relying on coercion (Bayley & Garofalo, 1989;Paoline & Terrill, 2007). ...
... 2. For exceptions, see a series of simulated experiments by Lois James and colleagues (James et al., 2013(James et al., , 2014(James et al., , 2016(James et al., , 2018a(James et al., , 2018b. See also Fryer (2019). ...
Article
The power to use force is a defining characteristic of policing, one that is accompanied by a responsibility to exercise these powers in the circumstances deemed necessary. This study analyzes data from four policing agencies to predict the likelihood of an officer drawing and pointing their firearm at a use of force incident. Findings suggest that situational factors were important in influencing whether an officer may draw and point their firearm. However, a priming effect, in which officers were more likely to draw their firearms when dispatched to an incident, may also be present. The rate that officers drew and pointed their firearms varied between jurisdictions, as did the nature of the incidents. Caution should be exercised in generalizing the results of single-site studies on police use of force, or introducing research into policy beyond the jurisdiction in which it was performed.
... Threat-perception failures can occur due to several contextual factors such as priming from a dispatch call (Mitchell & Flin, 2007;Taylor, 2020), previous experience/knowledge of a suspect, suspect race (James et al., 2016), or apparent deceptive and threatening behavior from a suspect (Aveni, 2003). Situational factors at the scene of an incident can further affect an officer's perception and action. ...
... Researchers across multiple domains are interested in threat-perception failures. For example, factors influencing police use of force that have been examined include suspect race (James et al., 2016), expertise (Boulton & Cole, 2016), and dispatch priming (Mitchell & Flin, 2007;Taylor, 2020). Recently, threat-perception failures have also been examined from the perspective of perceptual-cognitive expertise (Scott & Suss, 2019;Suss & Raushel, 2019). ...
Article
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The few perceptual–cognitive expertise and deception studies in the domain of law enforcement have yet to examine perceptual–cognitive expertise differences of police trainees and police officers. The current study uses methods from the perceptual–cognitive expertise and deception models. Participants watched temporally occluded videos of actors honestly drawing a weapon and deceptively drawing a non-weapon from a concealed location on their body. Participants determined if the actor was holding a weapon or a non-weapon. Using signal-detection metrics—sensitivity and response bias—we did not find evidence of perceptual–cognitive expertise; performance measures did not differ significantly between police trainees and experienced officers. However, consistent with the hypotheses, we did find that both police trainees and police officers became more sensitive in identifying the object as occlusion points progressed. Additionally, we found that across police trainees and police officers, their response bias became more liberal (i.e., more likely to identify the object as a weapon) as occlusion points progressed. This information has potential impacts for law enforcement practices and additional research.
... Particularly noteworthy are the studies carried out by James and her colleagues. Interestingly, they report results that are drastically different from many of the studies included in the reported meta-analysis (e.g., evidence for a shooting bias against White individuals rather than Black individuals; James et al., 2016). Consistent with this meta-analysis, however, James et al. (2016) found that measures of implicit biases were not predictive of shooting biases. ...
... Interestingly, they report results that are drastically different from many of the studies included in the reported meta-analysis (e.g., evidence for a shooting bias against White individuals rather than Black individuals; James et al., 2016). Consistent with this meta-analysis, however, James et al. (2016) found that measures of implicit biases were not predictive of shooting biases. ...
Article
Full-text available
We conducted a narrative review of existing literature to identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) necessary for officers who police in democratic societies to successfully manage potentially volatile police–public interactions. This review revealed 10 such KSAs that are frequently discussed in the literature. These KSAs include: (1) knowledge of policies and laws; (2) an understanding of mental health-related issues; (3) an ability to interact effectively with, and show respect for, individuals from diverse community groups; (4) awareness and management of stress effects; (5) communication skills; (6) decision-making and problem-solving skills; (7) perceptual skills; (8) motor skills related to use-of-force; (9) emotion and behavior regulation; and (10) an ability to treat people in a procedurally just manner. Following our review, we conducted semi-structured interviews ( N = 7) with researchers who specialize in police training and adult education, interactions with individuals in crisis, and racialized policing, as well as two police trainers with expertise in de-escalation and use-of-force training. These interviews confirmed the importance of the 10 KSAs and highlighted two additional KSAs that are likely to be critical: understanding the role of policing in a free and democratic society and tactical knowledge and skills. To ensure that police–public interactions are managed effectively, police trainers may want to focus on the development and evaluation of these KSAs—something that is not always done currently.
... The term implies that the police were more aware of the watchful eyes the public and the readiness to record them on the job, thus they were less likely to be proactive in their duties. The outcome may even result in a "Reverse Racism" effect wherein White police officers become more hesitant to shoot Black suspects, thus police shootings were not about racial inequality but rather officers trying their hardest not to shoot Black suspects (James et al., 2016). The authors report: ...
... According to Critical Race Theorist Derrick Bell (1980), his concept of interest convergence highlights when Whites have taken policy interest, it has occurred at times when it is actually more beneficial for Whites rather than people of color. Such a statement does not discount the need for White allies but recognizes many Whites still do not see such levels of differential enforcement as a problem or express a desire to act on the data available (Bonilla-Silva, 2018;Klinger et al., 2016). 2 Despite a long and brutal history of policing involving communities of color, many White academics, as a general theme and supported by these citations, were in denial in trying to explain all the reasons as to why racial bias in policing does not exist (James et al., 2016;Klinger et al., 2016;Shane et al., 2017;Shjarback & Nix, 2020;Worrall et al., 2018Worrall et al., , 2020. Sociologist Stanley Cohen (2001) described denial as a societal problem. ...
Article
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The tragic killing of George Floyd at the hands of the police resulted in hundreds of thousands of protestors marching in the streets demanding change. The call for change criticized the killing of Blacks by law enforcement and challenged White supremacy as an institution of social control and racial violence. A key component of the marches and protests was a message to the residents of the United States: “Black Lives Matter.” As society grapples with a reckoning, researchers studying police violence for the past 6 decades have been empirically and theoretically debating the reasons why use of force by law enforcement continues to have a higher proportion of Black and Brown victims compared to Whites. Although the research on fatal police killings was studied by only a small number of individuals prior to 2014, after the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri the research in different areas of the country increased rapidly as did the forms of analysis and research disciplines making their own contributions. The Washington Post and Guardian news agencies established that deaths at the hands of the police were occurring for at least 900 to 1100 individual deaths per year for which firearms resulted in the greatest cause of death. As US government agencies failed to produce a national data source on police involved killings, the media took a leading role in providing greater national understanding. The authors examine what role academic researchers contribute to the discussion for solutions, particularly those from marginalized backgrounds. As protestors march, lawyers sue and defend, and politicians create new forms of legislation, researchers need to play a more important role initiating critical studies, making sense of the data, and providing a theoretical framework for which police violence can be understood. This article will provide an overview of the literature on racialized police violence, point out key patterns involving racial and ethnic disparities, and emphasize how researchers can play a more important role in advocating for change.
... A series of studies using state-of-the-art police shooting scenario simulators suggests the existence of pro-black bias, meaning non-police and police participants were found across multiple samples to be less likely to shoot black than white suspects (James, James, & Vila, 2016;James, Vila, & Daratha, 2013;James, Vila, & Klinger, 2014). Additionally, police outperformed non-police participants in simulation trials (James et al., 2013). ...
... In the James et al. (2013) study, simulation trials took place in a sound-deadened room with participants instructed to decide to pull and shoot a modified handgun during life size video scenarios playing out over one to two minutes. During these simulations, police were less likely to shoot unarmed black suspects compared to unarmed white suspects, with James et al. (2016) suggesting the more realistic stimulus failed to result in racially motivated shooting decisions. ...
Article
Purpose The purpose of the study was to identify factors associated with officer firearm and conducted energy weapon displays. Our specific concern was whether black subjects were more likely to have firearms drawn against them relative to other subjects. Methods Officer- and incident-level “response to resistance” data from the New Orleans Police Department were analyzed. Logistic regression models controlling for officer, subject, and situational factors were estimated to predict officer weapon draws. Results When analyzing all officer-level actions, black subjects were more likely to have firearms drawn against them than other subjects, but subject race was insignificant in incident-level analyses. Additionally, situational characteristics explained more variance in the data than officer or subject characteristics alone. Conclusions We found no consistent evidence of racial bias in firearm draws. Results hinged to an extent on the samples analyzed and statistical models estimated. In addition, our findings apply solely to one city and highlight the complexity of use-of-force research and the need for further replication.
... Although there is a substantial body of research to support this conclusion, other research explicitly refutes this assumption. Such research on the counter-bias-an explicit attempt to diffuse implicit bias-suggests that some individuals who are acutely aware of increased scrutiny over biased behavior will show preferential treatment toward groups for which known biases exist (James, James, & Vila, 2016;James, Klinger, & Vila, 2014). James et al. (2016) found that officers have become more resistant to use force against minority suspects due to increased coverage of police use of force incidents in the media. ...
... Such research on the counter-bias-an explicit attempt to diffuse implicit bias-suggests that some individuals who are acutely aware of increased scrutiny over biased behavior will show preferential treatment toward groups for which known biases exist (James, James, & Vila, 2016;James, Klinger, & Vila, 2014). James et al. (2016) found that officers have become more resistant to use force against minority suspects due to increased coverage of police use of force incidents in the media. Although these studies combined leave the field mixed on the current impact of implicit bias in police decisions, continued media coverage of police use of force shootings of Black individuals likely signals to the public that biases still exist and continue to influence police actions. ...
Chapter
Historically, police have struggled to build trust and legitimacy in communities of color where the tumultuous relationship between the police and community have created contentious encounters, some ending in police use of force. Events in recent years, such as the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, among numerous other highly publicized incidents of police use of deadly force against unarmed Black men, have renewed the national conversation about disparate minority contact with police, policing practices, and policing culture. The purpose of this chapter is three-fold. First, we set out to explore how attitudes toward the police are formed and why people of color have historically low levels of trust in police. Second, we examine the effect of Ferguson and similar incidents of police use of deadly force, as well as the rise of activist groups, like Black Lives Matter, on public trust in the police and changes in policing practices and policies. Last, we explore how the rise in media attention and public outcry following police use of deadly force cases have changed police officer perceptions of policing and institutional policing practices. This chapter sheds light on the systemic issues contributing to racial disparities in attitudes toward the police and proposes several new areas of inquiry for future research.
... the healthcare setting; Nguyen et al., 2016). Surprisingly, given the potential implications of tense police-public interactions, somewhat limited empirical attention has been dedicated to this topic in the police setting specifically (see, however, James et al., 2014James et al., , 2016Wollert and Quail, 2018). This special issue was initiated as despite the vast amount of resources dedicated to training and the potential implications of delivering training in a suboptimal manner, there is currently a lack of empirical work relating to police training. ...
... A good example of this approach to developing SBT has been reported by James et al. (2014James et al. ( , 2016. To develop shoot/no-shoot simulations to measure racial bias in officer decision-making, James and their colleagues reviewed 30 years of officer-involved shootings for common situational factors, which were incorporated into their scenarios. ...
Article
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Purpose There has been an increasing emphasis on developing officers who can effectively make decisions in dynamic and stressful environments to manage volatile situations. The aim of this paper is to guide those seeking to optimize the limited resources dedicated to police training. Design/methodology/approach Drawing on research related to stress exposure training, principles of adult learning, the event-based approach to training and policing more broadly, the authors show how carefully crafted training scenarios can maximize the benefits of police training. Findings The authors’ review highlights various training principles that, if relied on, can result in scenarios that are likely to result in the development of flexible, sound decision-making skills when operating under stressful conditions. The paper concludes with an example of scenario development, which takes the reviewed principles into account. Originality/value The authors hope this discussion will be useful for police instructors and curriculum designers in making evidence-informed decisions when designing training scenarios.
... To test these hypotheses, a randomized controlled experiment was developed utilizing pre-recorded dispatch audio and an interactive police firearms training simulator. These types of simulators have increasingly been used to study police decision-making in the context of deadly force encounters (e.g., James et al., 2016;Taylor, 2019b). While some may criticize the relatively sterile nature of video simulations in comparison to real world deadly force encounters and question the transferability of any findings (e.g., Guy, 2019); experimental designs utilizing high fidelity simulations or scenarios, in which experienced practitioners are able to use ergonomically identical equipment, are widely used in both the research of and training for rare and dangerous phenomena in many other high-risk professions. ...
... While there are exceptions (e.g., James et al., 2016), the theory of identical elements has largely been ignored by scholars conducting "simulator" style research on police use of deadly force "decision-making" using a mouse or keyboard click rather than an ergonomically identical and functionally similar simulated firearm and/or static screen shots with a picture of a weapon or object overlaid rather than the visual stimuli of a human being rapidly pulling an object from a pocket or waistband (e.g., Correll et al., 2014;Johnson et al., 2018). The problem with this approach was demonstrated by the differences in outcomes seen in the muzzle-position study. ...
Article
The purpose of this study was to explore the feasibility of engineering resilience into the split-second decision environment police officers face during potential deadly force encounters. Using a randomized controlled experiment that incorporated a police firearms training simulator and 313 active law enforcement officers, this study examined the effects of muzzle-position-where an officer points their weapon-on both officer response time to legitimate threats and the likelihood for misdiagnosis shooting errors when no threat was present. The results demonstrate that officers can significantly improve shoot/no-shoot decision-making without sacrificing a significant amount of time by taking a lower muzzle-position when they are dealing with an ambiguously armed person-a person whose hands are not visible.
... However, evidence suggests that socialization processes could better explain minority officers' behavior (e.g., Wilkins & Williams, 2008), and police officers may not disproportionately target minority suspects (Menifield et al., 2019). In an experiment on police shooting decisions, James et al. (2016) found the "reverse racism effect" whereby police officers are slower to shoot armed Black suspects and less likely to shoot unarmed Black suspects compared to White suspects. Further, the evidence of symbolic representation from individual-level data appears not as solid as expected (Headley et al., 2021;Lee & Nicholson-Crotty, 2021), implying that increasing minority representation itself may not be enough to improve policing equity. ...
... Thus, while several studies provide evidence for shooter biases of police officers, the evidence appears inconsistent with regard to the outcome variables in which the biases occur. This inconsistency is also evident in studies that demonstrated shooter bias effects only in initial task trials but not in later trials (e.g., , studies which did not demonstrate racial bias among police officers in any outcome variable (Cox et al., 2014), or studies which observed reversed biases, apparently "favoring Black suspects" (James et al., 2013, p. 189, Experiment 3;James et al., 2016). Taken together, previous lab research suggests mixed findings. ...
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The present research assesses potential correlates of discriminatory police behavior, comparing police and civilian participants in a first person shooter task (FPST) as well as on various self-report measures of intergroup contact, intergroup attitudes, and ideological beliefs in three preregistered studies. Study 1 (N = 330), using a FPST with a short response window (630 ms), did not observe shooter biases in reaction times, error rates and signal detection parameters in neither police nor civilian participants. Study 2a (N = 290), using a longer response window (850 ms), observed a shooter bias in reaction times, error rates, and response criterion in both civilian and police participants. These shooter biases were largely driven by faster reactions, fewer errors, and more liberal shoot decisions for armed Arab (vs. White) targets. Study 2b (N = 191; 850 ms response window) closely replicated shooter biases in reaction times, error rates, and response criterion in a sample of civilian online participants. Across studies, we observed similar results in the shooter task for police and civilian samples. Furthermore, both police and civilian participants expressed anti-Muslim and anti-Arab attitudes across a variety of self-report measures. However, compared to civilians, police participants reported higher levels of anti-Muslim attitudes on some measures as well as higher levels of social dominance orientation, which might pose additional risk factors for discriminatory behavior. Lastly, while we observed reliable individual differences in self-reported intergroup attitudes, ideologies, and intergroup contact, none of these characteristics correlated with shooter biases.
... Thus, while several studies provide evidence for shooter biases of police officers, the evidence appears inconsistent with regard to the outcome variables in which the biases occur. This inconsistency is also evident in studies that demonstrated shooter bias effects only in initial task trials but not in later trials (e.g., , studies which did not demonstrate racial bias among police officers in any outcome variable (Cox et al., 2014), or studies which observed reversed biases, apparently "favoring Black suspects" (James et al., 2013, p. 189, Experiment 3;James et al., 2016). Taken together, previous lab research suggests mixed findings. ...
Preprint
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The present research assesses potential correlates of discriminatory police behavior, comparing police and civilian participants’ in a first person shooter task (FPST) as well as on various self-report measures of intergroup contact, intergroup attitudes, and ideological beliefs in three preregistered studies. Study 1 (N = 330), using a FPST with a short response window (630 ms), did not observe shooter biases in reaction times, error rates and signal detection parameters in neither police nor civilian participants. Study 2a (N = 290), using a longer response window (850 ms), observed a shooter bias in reaction times, error rates, and response criterion in both civilian and police participants. These shooter biases were largely driven by faster reactions, fewer errors, and less hesitant shoot decisions for armed Arab (vs. White) targets. Study 2b (N = 191; 850 ms response window) closely replicated shooter biases in reaction times, error rates, and response criterion in a sample of civilian online participants. Across all studies, we observed similar results in the shooter task for police and civilian samples. Furthermore, both police and civilian participants expressed anti-Muslim and anti-Arab attitudes across a variety of self-report measures. However, compared to civilians, police participants reported higher levels of anti-Muslim attitudes on some measures as well as higher levels of social dominance orientation, which might pose additional risk factors for discriminatory behavior. Lastly, while we observed reliable individual differences in self-reported intergroup attitudes, ideologies, and intergroup contact, none of these characteristics correlated with shooter biases.
... Officers possess a variety of means to escalate and/ or control a situation; de-policing may inhibit an officer's decisions within an encounter. In some situations, one may see officers demonstrate a hesitancy to use force (James et al., 2016;Worrall et al., 2018). If officers change their use of force behaviour, there may be both negative and positive consequences to this behavioural shift. ...
Article
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Contemporary discussions on policing focus on the impact of intense external scrutiny on proactive policing practices. Some commentators suggest negative feedback directed at law enforcement inhibits police willingness to engage in proactive police practices. This effect, known as 'de-policing' , endangers communities due to officer disengagement in crime prevention techniques. To examine this effect, previous research relies on crime data to examine de-policing; few studies explore how officer-initiated actions, such as a stop, shift in the wake of a de-policing effect. Using data from the Stanford Open Policing Project, this paper examines how officer-initiated behaviour (vehicle and pedestrian stops) changes after a negative public scrutiny shock (in this case, the shooting of Michael Brown). Further, the study examines how crime rates changed after Brown's death. The findings of this paper suggest police proactivity declined and crime increased after Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, Missouri. Policy implications, future research avenues, and theoretical enhancements to de-policing are discussed.
... The three actors were all white men of approximately the same age. Race in particular was controlled among the actors in the stimuli to prevent any biases due to racial influences (Correll, Park, Judd, & Wittenbrink, 2002; but see also James, James, & Vila, 2016;Ma & Correll, 2011). Detailed analyses of threat rating differences for these different individual stimuli have been reported elsewhere (Biggs, Pettijohn, & Gardony, 2021); those analyses represent and describe distinct outcomes from the work presented here. ...
Article
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The use of lethal force is a combination of threat perception and individual judgment that sometimes warrants a behavioral response. This simplified description implicates perceptual factors and individual differences in lethal force decision making, which ongoing research continues to address. However, personality-based factors have been less explored as to how they might affect either threat perception or behavioral responses in a lethal force decision. The current investigation examined multiple personality traits with the potential to influence lethal force decision making, including aggression, impulsivity, and the Big Five traits. These measures were compared to threat perception and behavioral responses made to a variety of lethal force stimuli broadly categorized as clear threats, ambiguous threats, and clear nonthreats. Samples were recruited from combat-trained infantry, military recruits, and the civilian community to control for prior lethal force training. Although there was a strong omnibus relationship between threat perception and the likelihood of a behavioral response, neither military training nor personality differences had any impact on threat perception or a binary (e.g., shoot/don't-shoot) behavioral response. Therefore, we conclude that perception dominates personality in lethal force decision making when the threat assessment decision is limited to factors such as weapon presence or posture rather than emotion.
... Not all studies implicate a shooter bias, however.Correll et al. (2007b) compared trained police officers to a sample of college students and found the police did not exhibit such a bias against unarmed African Americans, andJames et al. (2016) found that officers are less likely to shoot African Americans whether armed or unarmed. ...
Article
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Much research has found that implicit associations between Black male faces and aggression affect dispositional judgments and decision-making, but there have been few investigations into downstream effects on explicit episodic memory. The current experiment tested whether such implicit associations interact with explicit recognition memory using an associative memory paradigm in younger and older adults. Participants studied image pairs featuring faces (of Black or White males) alongside handheld objects (uncategorized, kitchenware, or weapons) and later were tested on their recognition memory for faces, objects, and face/object pairings. Younger adults were further divided into full and divided attention encoding groups. All participants then took the race faces implicit association test. Memory for image pairs was poorer than memory for individual face or object images, particularly among older adults, extending the empirical support for the age-related associative memory deficit hypothesis (Naveh-Benjamin in J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cognit 26:1170–1187, 2000) to associations between racial faces and objects. Our primary hypothesis—that older adults’ associative memory deficit would be reduced under Black/weapon pairings due to their being schematically related stimuli—was not confirmed. Younger adults and especially older ones, who were predominantly White, exhibited an own-race recognition bias. In addition, older adults showed more negative implicit bias toward Black faces. Importantly, mixed linear analyses revealed that negative implicit associations for Black faces predicted increased explicit associative memory false alarm rates among older adults. Such a pattern may have implications for the criminal justice system, particularly when weighting eyewitness testimony from older adults.
... Indeed, implicit racial associations and stereotypes about Black people tend to be more negative than explicitly reported attitudes, and they are pervasive, some even among Black people . Implicit anti-Black associations are also prevalent among police officers, with studies using implicit association tests revealing that 73% of officers automatically linked Black race to negative concepts (Andersen et al., 2021) and 96% exhibited racial bias on a weapon categorization task (James et al., 2016). ...
Article
We call for psychologists to expand their thinking on fair and just public safety by engaging with the “Abolition Democracy” framework that W. E. B. Du Bois articulated as the need to dissolve slavery while simultaneously taking affirmative steps to rid its toxic consequences from the body politic. Because the legacies of slavery continue to produce disparities in public safety in the United States, both harming Black people and the institutions that could keep them safe, psychologists must take seriously questions of history and structure in addition to immediate situations. In this article, we consider the state of knowledge regarding psychological processes that contribute to discriminatory public safety. We also identify ways in which theorizing about discriminatory public safety can be improved by appreciating the historical and sociopolitical context in which policing occurs. © 2021 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
... Second, at least two situational variables are likely salient to police executives as they decide what steps to take in the aftermath of such an event: the race of the citizen involved and whether he or she was armed. In recent years there has been substantial academic and political debate over the (implicit or explicit) role of citizen race in officers' decision-makingespecially regarding the use of deadly force (Edwards et al., 2019;Goff et al., 2016;James et al., 2016;Nix, Campbell, Byers, & Alpert, 2017;Ross, 2015). On the one hand, the findings from many prior studies (e.g., Fryer, 2016) are difficult to make sense of because they condition on mediator variables (stops, arrests, or fatal shootings), which biases the relationship between citizen race and outcomes of interest Ross et al., 2018). ...
... The current evidence also contributes to a growing understanding about the psychological processes involved in use-of-force. The most thorough evidence of decision biases thus far has been documenting the role of prejudices and stereotypes in affecting bias during a threat response [61][62][63][64][65][66] . For use-of-force training implications, threatening contexts can produce more reliable learning effects than non-threatening contexts 67 and inducing stress or emotion can actually aid identification in certain tasks [68][69][70] . ...
Article
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Stress can impact perception, especially during use-of-force. Research efforts can thus advance both theory and practice by examining how perception during use-of-force might drive behavior. The current study explored the relationship between perceptual judgments and performance during novel close-combat training. Analyses included perceptual judgments from close-combat assessments conducted pre-training and post-training that required realistic use-of-force decisions in addition to an artificially construed stress-inoculation event used as a training exercise. Participants demonstrated significant reductions in situational awareness while under direct fire, which correlated to increased physiological stress. The initial likelihood of firing upon an unarmed person predicted the perceptual shortcomings of later stress-inoculation training. Subsequently, likelihood of firing upon an unarmed person was reduced following the stress-inoculation training. These preliminary findings have several implications for low or zero-cost solutions that might help trainers identify individuals who are underprepared for field responsibilities.
... needs to adhere to principles of effective adult learning and reflect operational realities Jenkins et al., 2021). However, despite the consequential nature of outcomes in these fields, especially policing (e.g., strained community relations, subject and officer injuries/death, lawsuits, etc.; Geller and Scott, 1992;White and Fradella, 2016), to date, there is limited published research on how to improve police training, including scenario-based training (SBT; see however, James et al., 2016;Wollert and Quail, 2018). ...
Chapter
In order to optimize public and officer safety, law enforcement training needs to adequately prepare officers for the complex tasks they will experience in the field. The incorporation of carefully-designed scenario-based training (SBT) into pre- and in-service training is essential for the development of effective decision making during dynamic, potentially volatile interactions with the public. This chapter provides an overview of various frameworks that should be adopted when developing SBT before identifying some issues to consider throughout this process. Finally, this chapter provides practical examples of how the development process can be completed. Given the very challenging task that curriculum designers and police trainers have to develop skilled police officers, this chapter seeks to provide valuable guidance to those seeking to optimize limited resources to improve police training.
... In general, a lethal force decision is derived from a threat assessment, which is defined here as holistic processing of the scenario to include a wide array of factors such as weapon presence, determining hostile intent, and emotion-to list only a few of the many factors involved. The most welldocumented potential bias in these decisions has been racial or stereotype-based biases that alter decision making when identifying weapon presence (Correll et al., 2002;Correll et al., 2006;Ma and Correll, 2011;Sim et al., 2013; but see also James et al., 2016;. Notably, the decision is not a static one as evidence accumulates prior to the final decision to fire a shot . ...
Article
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Objective Identify whether contextual information may unintentionally alter decision-making during lethal force training. Background Lethal force decisions inherently involve a threat assessment, where an individual learns to identify a threat and use force commensurate to the situation. This decision is ultimately subject to numerous cognitive influences, particularly during training where artificial factors may bias decision-making. Method Participants made threat assessments for tasks that presented hostile stimuli (pointing guns) and non-hostile stimuli (holding cell phones). Experiment 1 identified issues in target design by applying scoring rings as cues to targets, whereas Experiment 2 used bullet holes to assess cues due to target reuse. Experiment 3 applied these cues equally to hostile and non-hostile stimuli to prevent a predictive relationship from forming. Results Significant cueing effects were observed in both Experiments 1 and 2. For Experiment 3, response times were not impacted by the invalid cues as participants could no longer reliably use the cue to distinguish between hostile and non-hostile stimuli. Conclusion Stimulus-related factors can unintentionally create predictive relationships during lethal force training. These predictive factors are problematic because they allow participants to make threat assessments during training in a way that would never be realistic in the field. Application Modifications should be made to hostile and non-hostile targets in equal measure to avoid creating an unintentionally predictive relationship that identifies hostile targets. In practice, scoring rings and bullet holes should be added to non-hostile stimuli to better parallel hostile stimuli.
... Second, this and most all other OIS research using either micro-or macro-level data do not in any way measure officer bias, prejudice, or discrimination. The only OIS research that attempted to integrate some measure of officer bias was James et al. (2016), who used an Implicit Association Test developed by Project Implicit at Harvard University. The authors reported no association between this measure of officer bias and the decision to shoot in a simulated OIS environment. ...
Article
There has been a substantial body of research examining the reasons behind the police officers’ use of deadly force. Little research has been done to examine how race and ethnicity interact with other factors in the use of deadly force. With data collected in Dallas, Texas, the present study examines the influence of individual, situational, and neighborhood characteristics on officers’ decision to use deadly force. The present study also provides an alternative approach to logistic regression models by estimating predictive probabilities of officers shooting at citizens. The results show that when officers make decisions to shoot at citizens, situational factors are more important than demographic and neighborhood factors. Interactive effects constructed based on the race/ethnicity of the police officer and citizen showed almost no influence on the decision to shoot at a citizen. Finally, the present study concludes with a discussion of implications for policy development and future research.
... This approach limits potential biases due to any racial influences. Although the decision to shoot is fundamentally a cognitive process, much previous research has focused on social and/or situational factors, such as how racial prejudices influence the decision (Correll et al., 2002(Correll et al., , 2014Correll, Park, Judd, Wittenbrink, Sadler, & Keesee, 2007;James et al., 2014;Plant et al., 2011;Sadler et al., 2012; but see also James et al., 2016;Ma & Correll, 2011). This factor-and others like it-are more social than cognitive and depend on implicit individual biases. ...
Article
Deciding when to use lethal force inherently depends on assessing threat, a process that itself incorporates numerous perceptual factors. The current study assessed the relationship between the subjective perception of a threat and a binary behavioral response to a threat (e.g., shoot/don’t-shoot or go/no-go). For images of human actors, combined posture and weapon presence impacted threat perception and significantly influenced the likelihood of behavioral threat response. Interestingly, for ambiguous threat stimuli, perceived threat became an increasingly poor predictor of the decision to use lethal force. Specifically, while ambiguous stimuli were often rated as equally threatening across participants, these threat ratings held a fraction of their explanatory power compared to the omnibus test. These results demonstrate an intriguing disparity between subjective threat perception and the behavioral response to use force that does not apply well to ambiguous cases or adequately explain errors in lethal force decisions.
... For nearly two decades, researchers have studied the question of racial bias in police officers' decisions to use deadly force. Without question, the most common experimental task used is the First-Person Shooter Task, in which participants are shown pictures of armed and unarmed Black or White men and asked to press buttons labeled "shoot" and "don't shoot" ( As another attempt to reintroduce those factors present in actual decisions but missing in experimental studies, at least three independent research groups have used some version of an immersive shooting simulator similar to those used for training by law enforcement (Cox et al. 2014;James et al. 2013James et al. , 2014James et al. , 2016Pleskac et al. 2020). As depicted in the right panel of Figure 3, participants in such studies stand in front of a projection screen and watch life-sized videos recorded from a first-person point of view. ...
Article
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This article questions the widespread use of experimental social psychology to understand real-world group disparities. Standard experimental practice is to design studies in which participants make judgments of targets who vary only on the social categories to which they belong. This is typically done under simplified decision landscapes and with untrained decision makers. For example, to understand racial disparities in police shootings, researchers show pictures of armed and unarmed Black and White men to undergraduates and have them press "shoot" and "don't shoot" buttons. Having demonstrated categorical bias under these conditions, researchers then use such findings to claim that real-world disparities are also due to decision-maker bias. I describe three flaws inherent in this approach, flaws which undermine any direct contribution of experimental studies to explaining group disparities. First, the decision landscapes used in experimental studies lack crucial components present in actual decisions (Missing Information Flaw). Second, categorical effects in experimental studies are not interpreted in light of other effects on outcomes, including behavioral differences across groups (Missing Forces Flaw). Third, there is no systematic testing of whether the contingencies required to produce experimental effects are present in real-world decisions (Missing Contingencies Flaw). I apply this analysis to three research topics to illustrate the scope of the problem. I discuss how this research tradition has skewed our understanding of the human mind within and beyond the discipline and how results from experimental studies of bias are generally misunderstood. I conclude by arguing that the current research tradition should be abandoned.
... Although our work does not address differential rates of police use of force, the lack of public interest in the topic is interesting in that it seems to reflect an ongoing debate within academia. A number of studies have produced laboratory results suggesting that officers are in fact slower to use force against minority suspects (James, James, & Vila, 2016;James Klinger, & Vila, 2014;James, Vila, & Daratha, 2013), and researchers have suggested as a result that police may be "reverse racists" against White suspects. Other research has produced similar results, suggesting that early use of force is not disproportionately applied to Black suspects (Fryer, 2016;Wheeler, Phillips, Worrall, & Bishopp, 2017). ...
... Second, at least two situational variables are likely salient to police executives as they decide what steps to take in the aftermath of such an event: the race of the citizen involved and whether he or she was armed. In recent years there has been substantial academic and political debate over the (implicit or explicit) role of citizen race in officers' decision-makingespecially regarding the use of deadly force (Edwards et al., 2019;Goff et al., 2016;James et al., 2016;Nix, Campbell, Byers, & Alpert, 2017;Ross, 2015). On the one hand, the findings from many prior studies (e.g., Fryer, 2016) are difficult to make sense of because they condition on mediator variables (stops, arrests, or fatal shootings), which biases the relationship between citizen race and outcomes of interest Ross et al., 2018). ...
Article
Body-worn cameras (BWC) have diffused rapidly throughout policing as a means of promoting transparency and accountability. Yet, whether to release BWC footage to the public remains largely up to the discretion of police executives, and we know little about how they interpret and respond to BWC footage – particularly footage involving critical incidents. We asked a nationally representative sample of police executives (N = 476) how supportive they were of legislation that would mandate releasing BWC footage upon request as public information, and presented them with an experimental vignette about BWC capturing one of their officers fatally shooting an [armed/unarmed] [Black/White] suspect. Results indicated inconsistency in executives’ attitudes and decision-making: (1) less than one-third of executives supported such legislation, (2) suspect race and armed/unarmed status shaped how executives felt media would cover the incident and whether they would state publicly that the shooting was justified, and (3) agency size conditioned the effects of armed/unarmed status on executives’ perceptions.
Chapter
When a police officer uses deadly physical force, the public often questions this behavior. There may be times, however, when deadly force might be expected by the public. For example, as first responders to terrorist and active shooter events, officers are expected to quickly end the confrontation, and deadly force may be the only option available. Contemporary scholarship, however, does not explore the public’s view of when the use of deadly force is acceptable or expected. This chapter offers an exploratory examination of when deadly force is acceptable to the American public. A vignette research design was used that described an active shooter event, integrating four contextual dimensions that might influence the use of deadly force. A convenience sample of college students responded to an online survey to explore the public’s views of the need to use deadly force. Results indicate that respondents receiving vignettes in which the officer uses deadly force, rather than not, are more likely to agree with this behavior. Further, non-White students are less likely to agree with the immediate use of deadly force.KeywordsDeadly forcePolice shootingsVignette researchActive shooter
Article
We use an altmetric aggregator, the Altmetric Attention Score (AAS), to rank the influence of articles published in Criminology & Public Policy from the journal's inception through July 31, 2022. We also rank articles based on specific AAS components, namely, Twitter, news, and policy document mentions. Last, we regress AASs on article‐level predictors, including research category, funding, open access type, and time since publication. With few exceptions, policing scholarship far outweighs other categories of research in terms of AAS‐measured societal impact. In contrast to bibliometrics (e.g., citation counts), altmetrics measure scholarship's societal impact, including its influence on policy. Since Criminology & Public Policy was initially created with the intention of influencing crime‐related policy, it is important to gauge the extent to which that has occurred. Other policy‐oriented (or perhaps all) criminal justice/criminology journals should evaluate their influence via altmetrics.
Article
This article theorizes the contemporary meaning and significance of populism in Black politics. It is based on a reading of the mass protests characteristic of the Black Lives Matter movement across the US during 2020. The argument developed suggests contemporary Black populism evidenced by its multicultural and multiracial mobilizations during 2020 comprised and catalyzed several strategic social orientations, organized around the public ventilation of critical affective repertoires of Black feeling. The idea of Black feeling is emphasized historically and curatorially via the public mourning of Black families over the police killing of Black people and the public rage of Black protesters. The article also develops the idea of a populism of Black feeling involved in activating and influencing a marking and critique of white sovereignty that split white solidarity into supporters and opponents of BLM. In highlighting this split in whiteness as symptomatic of a post-civil rights crisis of white sovereignty, the article suggests Black populism is now a significant dimension of entrenching that crisis.
Article
How police officers exercise their unique power to use deadly force continues to be a topic of interest among academics and has recently become arguably the most visible public policy issue related to the criminal justice system in the United States. Academic interest in officers’ use of deadly force includes attention to how officers make the decision to discharge their firearms during encounters with citizens. Binder and Scharf posited that actions and decisions made by officers early in a high-risk police-citizen encounter can impact their decision to use deadly force at the conclusion of the encounter. This decision-making model, however, has been subject to very little empirical scrutiny in the decades since it was proposed (see Fridell & Binder; Scharf & Binder for notable exceptions). To bring their comprehensive framework back to the forefront and provide additional empirical assessment, the authors used the Binder and Scharf model as a framework to examine 82 officers’ decisions to shoot or hold fire in incidents that involved multiple officers who ultimately made different decisions regarding lethal force. Results from the qualitative analysis suggest that the presence and actions of other officers on scene can have a notable impact on officers’ decision-making during a high-risk police-citizen encounter. Furthermore, findings from this study extend the Binder-Scharf model by highlighting the role of conscious and unconscious decision-making and the impact of social roles on officers’ choices during an officer-involved shooting.
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We endorse Cesario's call for more research into the complexities of “real-world” decisions and the comparative power of different causes of group disparities. Unfortunately, these reasonable suggestions are overshadowed by a barrage of non sequiturs, misdirected criticisms of methodology, and unsubstantiated claims about the assumptions and inferences of social psychologists.
Article
In psychology, causal inference – both the transport from lab estimates to the real world and estimation on the basis of observational data – is often pursued in a casual manner. Underlying assumptions remain unarticulated; potential pitfalls are compiled in post-hoc lists of flaws. The field should move on to coherent frameworks of causal inference and generalizability that have been developed elsewhere.
Article
This commentary expands the discussion of Cesario's Missing Forces Flaw by identifying and discussing variables that influence police shooting decisions but are often absent from bias-based research. Additionally, the closing identifies novel recommendations for future contextually related research.
Article
Police officers partially rely on implicit and explicit stereotypes in their interactions with the public. We investigated if these attitudes are reciprocated, specifically, if people of color implicitly fear police, and whether the events of the summer of 2020 changed the public's attitudes about police. Seven hundred and fifty‐nine college students (235 BIPOC) participated, 373 in 2019, 386 in fall 2020. BIPOC participants more readily implicitly associated police officers with threat; implicit police‐as‐threat scores increased after the summer of 2020 regardless of race. Explicit attitudes showed the same pattern: BIPOC participants had less favorable attitudes of police; participants in Fall 2020 had less favorable attitudes of police. Implicit attitudes were predicted by race, time, the experience of being treated with (dis)respect, and an emphasis on the binding aspect of morality. Explicit attitudes were predicted by the same variables, as well as specific community variables, the moral foundation of individualizing, and implicit attitudes.
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This article examines focus group responses from an England Police Force Independent Advisory Group (IAG). It explores the role played by IAG members in advising police on cultural matters associated with Honour Based Abuse (HBA), Forced Marriage (FM) and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Findings illustrate that IAG members, largely ethnic minority female in composition, possess a wealth of knowledge, skills, and experience. They adeptly scrutinise officer decision-making, provide useful case management interventions and challenge the dominant narrative. They propose that statutory services inadvertently perpetuate racial stereotypes by tokenistic use of ethnic minority professionals. IAGs expose that health professionals hold vital information about FGM adult victims, which under current UK guidance they are not obligated to disclose. IAGs are an untapped operational resource, capable of supporting professionals (and thereby victims) within Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences. Documenting of IAG decisions is necessary to evaluate their consistency, value, and long term impact.
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The recruitment of women and minority group members was intended to move Canadian police forces towards societal representation and to enhance services provided to, and improve relations with, women and racially marginalized groups. This review contemplates progress towards these goals at a time of extraordinary public dissatisfaction with Western policing. A rationale is offered for reconsidering the 50% representation target for women and it is emphasized just how little we yet know about racial bias in policing. The review ends with a call for rigorous, apolitical, research to untangle the complex interactions underscoring the considered questions within.
Article
Blacks, Latinx, and American Indians are killed by police at a disproportionately higher rate than Whites and Asians, but whether racial discrimination accounts for these killings remains disputed. We contribute to this debate by examining structural conditions in U.S. metropolitan areas that are associated with the expected count of police-caused killings. Using an economic competition model, we find that the size of the metropolitan Black population (relative to the White population) positively predicts the expected count of police-caused killings for Blacks. Moreover, the size of the Latinx population (relative to Whites) predicts the expected count of police-caused killings of Latinx civilians. Furthermore, we find that metropolitan areas with more mixed-race neighborhoods experience higher expected counts of police-caused killings, specifically, for all, Black and White civilians. Finally, we find that overall population size also predicts the expected number of people killed by the police but violent crime does not, calling into question accounts that deaths are a function of crime. Our findings suggest, first, that the underlying conditions that lead to the deaths of Black and Latinx people at the hands of police are different than police-caused deaths of people of other races. Second, in developing solutions to the serious social problem of police-caused deaths, we need to look beyond the proximal causes of these deaths (i.e., the police) to the distal factors operating at the metropolitan level that promote White supremacy.
Article
This paper analyzes the more than 70,000 police use of force incidents in New Jersey from 2012 to 2016 to examine the association of a citizen’ s race and ethnicity with the likelihood of officers pointing a firearm, shooting, and the number of shots discharged. Our study suggests that Black and Hispanic New Jerseyans are not more likely to experience force incidents involving a firearm relative to other citizens who experience police use of force, however this relationship is conditioned on the size of the place the incident occured. Black residents of smaller municipalities are almost twice as likely (OR = 1.70), and Hispanic residents more than twice as likely (OR = 2.30), than white citizens to have an officer pull their service weapon out during a stop. Furthermore, among all use of force incidents where a gun is brandished by police, Black and Hispanic residents are more likely to be shot, and shot numerous times compared to white citizens. While some of the relationship between race and force is mediated by crime type and subject behavior, a relationship between race and force remains. The need for systematic data reporting from smaller agencies and implications for research and policy are discussed.
Chapter
A significant body of applied police research has investigated the effectiveness of various use of force (UOF) training approaches that traditionally cover decision-making (i.e., shoot/no-shoot), situational awareness, and resilience. However, there remains a lack of established educational standards for police UOF instructors beyond physical and tactical competence, including pedagogical principles to promote effective learning. The authors aim to provide police agencies and UOF instructors around the world with a pragmatic framework of evidence-based training that promotes learning, retention, and practical application. The chapter begins with an overview of essential skills and knowledge related to UOF followed by identification of various methodological approaches suitable for instruction of both novice and expert police officers. The chapter will also outline a train the trainers instructor course that is currently offered at the Police University College of Finland. This chapter informs consistent and adequate pedagogical training for and by UOF instructors.
Conference Paper
Given the potential consequences of errors in use of force (UOF), police officers are regularly evaluated for their competency in a variety of related skills, including lethal force decision-making. Limited time and resources for learning new or refreshing existing UOF skills often results in concurrent training and evaluation through reality-based scenarios. Depending on agency resources, a variety of live or virtual simulation approaches are employed that each pose their own benefits and limitations. However, the applied police literature has yet to consider: a) the implications of combining learning and evaluative goals in a single task, and b) the potential influence of live versus virtual modes of delivery on police UOF performance. The current observational study recorded UOF decision-making errors (i.e., shoot/no-shoot) and autonomic arousal in 187 police officers during their agency's annual UOF requalification day, which also presented novel training on verbal de-escalation techniques. All officers completed two live reality-based scenarios in staged environments at the agency and three video simulations that were projected onto a wall in a different training room. Low rates of lethal force errors were observed overall, with 0.81% errors in live simulations and 5.92% errors in video simulations. Both conditions elicited significant autonomic arousal relative to baseline, indicative of similar levels of operational stress and task engagement in video and live assessment modalities. Multidisciplinary research in the fields of adult learning theory and neurophysiology of perception, behaviour, learning, and stress will inform a discussion of the current findings as they are relevant to UOF training and evaluation in police.
Article
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Lethal force training incorporates a wide variety of methods to prepare an individual for a potential use of force encounter. Although many efforts aim to increase realism through stress, there is a critical aspect of lethal force training that does not often receive careful attention or intervention: target design. Realistic targets are essential to simulating a threat assessment that could prompt use of lethal force, making the targets themselves critical to training initiatives. Among various target types, there is a specialized variety known as “shock targets.” These variants have an intentionally complex or provocative design intended to challenge the shooter by making shoot/don’t shoot decisions particularly difficult. We explored the limitations of repeatedly using these targets. Experiment 1 compared two repeated target types among novel threats, including a clearly threatening individual (clear threat) and a seemingly approachable individual attempting to conceal a pointed weapon (shock target). Participants demonstrated robust learning effects for the shock target throughout the experiment. More importantly, the target lost most of its shock value by the third presentation, indicating a valuable but limited use for this target type. In experiment 2, we reduced contextual information to a simple drawpoint, and participants responded as quickly to the obscured threat as if it were clearly presented. These combined results indicate that target repetition is problematic for realistic threat assessments, and trainees will not benefit from repeated use of shock targets.
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The treatment of victims and complainants by the police is examined in this pioneering new work. Case studies, based on interviews carried out at the University of Portsmouth’s Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, in the United Kingdom, reveal that victims and complainants are routinely discredited by police agencies. Whilst in the United States, victims may include anyone subjected to police interrogation, particularly those of African-American origin, complainants across the globe may include victims of rape, bereaved families, and individual officers. The reason why certain victims and complainants are targeted by policing agencies is complex and leads to an investigation into police bias, covert practices, and one of the most common areas of policing: road death investigations. Consequently, other members of the criminal justice system, such as prosecutors, coroners, and hospital pathologists (medical examiners) are shown to often corroborate the police’s version of events compromising victims’ rights and the very nature of justice. Given recent miscarriages of justice and public relation campaigns on behalf of the police, Eccy de Jonge argues that never before has a greater openness on the inner workings of the police been needed to fully support the interests of those the criminal justice system is meant to serve.
Article
Media attention relevant to law enforcement use of force in the last decade finally alerted the scientific community to the need for more research regarding law enforcement discretion and decision making. The purpose of this study was to synthesize the existing literature to explore the motivating factors for law enforcement use of force. This study will utilize a social–ecological framework to systematically examine factors that impact officer decisions to use force at the individual and community levels. The paper includes recommendations for research and practice through an equity lens that highlights the disparate use of force against men of color in particular. Interventions, trainings, education, and research to stop the promotion of perceived safety over justice will be highlighted. Highlights • Social‐ecological framework is used to examine use of force at the individual and community level. • We discuss recommendations for research through an equity lens that highlights community organizers. • Interventions, trainings, and education to stop the promotion of perceived safety over justice are highlighted.
Technical Report
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We found the PPD’s policies to be in need of significant refinement. Officers need more less-lethal options. In addition, the department’s use of force policies need to be more explicit and officers need more training on them. Regarding training, it is essential that the PPD establish a field training officer (FTO) program. We also found that much of the PPD’s training on use of force concepts and tactics is too infrequent, lacks the appropriate concepts, and, at times, lacks standards, which leaves officers inadequately prepared to make decisions in an increasingly complex environment. The PPD’s investigations of deadly force incidents need to be completed in a more timely fashion. In particular, discharging officers should be interviewed within 72 hours of an incident. Furthermore, the scope of the investigation and reporting on the administrative side needs to be expanded to reflect the goals of the use of force review board. The PPD’s review process needs to enable the department to hold officers accountable, learn from deadly force incidents, selfcritique, and change as a result. Last, in an effort to maximize transparency, the PPD should request the independent investigation of unarmed officer-involved shooting (OIS) incidents from another capable and legitimate authority. The department also needs to improve its relations with the police advisory commission and be more forthcoming with deadly force investigative files and data.
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Judges, lawyers, and court staff have long recognized that explicit, or consciously endorsed, racial prejudices have no place in the American justice system. However, more subtle biases or prejudices can operate automatically, without awareness, intent, or conscious control. Members of the court community are beginning to identify this subtler form of racial bias, or implicit racial bias, as a partial explanation for persistent racial disparities in the criminal justice system. In the absence of empirically vetted interventions, some judges have created and currently use their own specialized jury instructions in hopes of minimizing expressions of such bias in juror judgment. However, depending on how these instructions are crafted, they may produce unintended, undesirable effects (e.g., by increasing expressions of bias against socially disadvantaged group members among certain types of individuals, or by making jurors feel more confident about their decision(s) without actually reducing expressions of bias in judgment). To prevent the distribution and implementation of jury instructions that may do more harm than good, any instruction of this kind must be carefully evaluated. In the present study, the authors sought to examine the efficacy of one specialized implicit bias jury instruction. Mock jurors who received the specialized instruction evaluated the strength of the defense’s case in subtly different ways from those who received a control instruction, but the instruction did not appear to significantly influence juror verdict preference, confidence, or sentence severity. Interestingly, the authors were unable to replicate with this sample the traditional baseline pattern of juror bias observed in other similar studies (c.f., Sommers & Ellsworth, 2000; Sommers & Ellsworth, 2001), which prevented a complete test of the value of the instructional intervention. Authors address several possible explanations for this failure to replicate, explore the possibility of shifts in cultural awareness and in the spontaneous correction for bias, and discuss implications for future work.
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Background Research on racial bias in the United States includes findings that Americans tend to view blacks as more dangerous than whites. Some have argued that this bias provides a likely explanation for the disproportionate number of ethnic and racial minorities shot by police. One piece of evidence for this proposition comes from experimental work in which research participants push “shoot” or “don’t shoot” buttons when still images of people and objects that may or may not be weapons are presented in rapid succession. These studies have established that participants tend to subconsciously pair black individuals with weapons and white individuals with neutral objects. However, it is not clear from these studies that the subconscious racial bias identified by researchers affects actual decisions to shoot, perhaps because the techniques used to assess the bias-shooting link bear so little resemblance to real-world shootings. Methods This paper reports on the results of a novel laboratory experiment designed to overcome this critical limitation by using high-fidelity deadly force judgment and decision-making simulators to assess both subconscious and behavioral bias among 48 research participants, recruited from the general population. Results Study results suggest that subconscious associations between race and threat exhibited by participants are not linked to their shooting behavior. Conclusions The implications of this finding for understanding how race and ethnicity affect decisions to shoot, and for conducting empirical research on this important topic, are discussed.
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Objective: To demonstrate that psychophysiology may have applications for objective assessment of expertise development in deadly force judgment and decision making (DFJDM). Background: Modern training techniques focus on improving decision-making skills with participative assessment between trainees and subject matter experts primarily through subjective observation. OBJECTIVE metrics need to be developed. The current proof of concept study explored the potential for psychophysiological metrics in deadly force judgment contexts. Method: Twenty-four participants (novice, expert) were recruited. All wore a wireless Electroencephalography (EEG) device to collect psychophysiological data during high-fidelity simulated deadly force judgment and decision-making simulations using a modified Glock firearm. Participants were exposed to 27 video scenarios, one-third of which would have justified use of deadly force. Pass/fail was determined by whether the participant used deadly force appropriately. Results: Experts had a significantly higher pass rate compared to novices (p < 0.05). Multiple metrics were shown to distinguish novices from experts. Hierarchical regression analyses indicate that psychophysiological variables are able to explain 72% of the variability in expert performance, but only 37% in novices. Discriminant function analysis (DFA) using psychophysiological metrics was able to discern between experts and novices with 72.6% accuracy. Conclusion: While limited due to small sample size, the results suggest that psychophysiology may be developed for use as an objective measure of expertise in DFDJM. Specifically, discriminant function measures may have the potential to objectively identify expert skill acquisition. Application: Psychophysiological metrics may create a performance model with the potential to optimize simulator-based DFJDM training. These performance models could be used for trainee feedback, and/or by the instructor to assess performance objectively.
Article
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Prior research has sought to identify appropriate mechanisms that can effectively control police officers' decisions to use deadly force. Using data from Philadelphia for a period of more than two decades, this article employs interrupted time series analysis (ARIMA) to examine the impact of two changes in administrative policy on monthly levels of deadly force in Philadelphia. Findings support prior deadly force research suggesting that administrative policy can be an effective deadly force discretion control, but the Philadelphia experience indicates that formal policy can be outweighed by the personal philosophies and policies of the chief, and that its impact is limited to elective encounters.
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The connection between police use of deadly force and the criminal homicide rate has long been recognized in the literature. Their temporal relationship, however, has seldom been examined. The present study suggests that earlier research has underestimated the importance of the temporal relationship between the homicides that present the greatest level of public danger and police use of deadly force. This research suggests that police use of deadly force can best be understood through a "ratio-threat" version of the danger-perception theory. Through a time-series analysis of data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Supplementary Homicide Reports over a 21-year period, the ratio-threat hypothesis is confirmed. The results suggest that, on a national level, there exists a temporal connection between predatory crime and police use of deadly force. Implications for theory and future research are discussed.
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Political or threat explanations for the state's use of internal violence suggest that killings committed by the police should be greatest in stratified jurisdictions with more minorities. Additional political effects such as race of the city's mayor or reform political arrangements are examined. The level of interpersonal violence the police encounter and other problems in departmental environments should account for these killing rates as well. Tobit analyses of 170 cities show that racial inequality explains police killings. Interpersonal violence measured by the murder rate also accounts for this use of lethal force. Separate analyses of police killings of blacks show that cities with more blacks and a recent growth in the black population have higher police killing rates of blacks, but the presence of a black mayor reduces these killings. Such findings support latent and direct political explanations for the internal use of lethal force to preserve order.
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Objective Advance the methodological techniques used to examine the influence of suspect race and ethnicity on participant decisions to shoot in an experimental setting. Methods After developing and testing a novel set of 60 realistic, high definition video deadly force scenarios based on 30 years of official data on officer-involved shootings in the United States, three separate experiments were conducted testing police (n = 36), civilian (n= 72) and military (n = 6) responses (n = 1,812) to the scenarios in high-fidelity computerized training simulators. Participants’ responses to White, Black and Hispanic suspects in potentially deadly situations were analyzed using a multi-level mixed methods strategy. Key response variables were reaction time to shoot and shooting errors. Results In all three experiments using a more externally valid research method than previous studies, we found that participants took longer to shoot Black suspects than White or Hispanic suspects. In addition, where errors were made, participants across experiments were more likely to shoot unarmed White suspects than unarmed Black or Hispanic suspects, and were more likely to fail to shoot armed Black suspects than armed White or Hispanic suspects. In sum, this research found that participants displayed significant bias favoring Black suspects in their decisions to shoot. Conclusions The results of these three experiments challenge the results of less robust experimental designs and shed additional light on the broad issue of the role that status characteristics, such as race and ethnicity, play in the criminal justice system. Future research should explore the generalizability of these findings, determine whether bias favoring Black suspects is a consequence of administrative measures (e.g., education, training, policies, and laws), and identify the cognitive processes that underlie this phenomenon.
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The current work proposes an approach for eliminating automatic bias by repeatedly exposing people to social stimuli where group membership (e.g., race) is unrelated to stereotypicality (e.g., being a violent criminal). Participants completed a computer program where they pretended they were police officers and decided as quickly as possible whether to shoot at Black and White suspects. Although initial responses to the program were biased by the race of the suspect, extensive practice with the program where race was unrelated to the presence or absence of a gun eliminated race biases immediately after practice (Study 1) and 24 h later (Study 2). However, this elimination of bias did not occur when race was related to the presence of a gun (Study 3). The final study (Study 4) revealed that extensive practice on the program led to the inhibition of racial concepts. The findings are discussed in terms of their implications for the elimination of automatic forms of bias.
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Using a simple videogame, the effect of ethnicity on shoot/don't shoot decisions was examined. African American or White targets, holding guns or other objects, appeared in complex backgrounds. Participants were told to "shoot" armed targets and to "not shoot" unarmed targets. In Study 1, White participants made the correct decision to shoot an armed target more quickly if the target was African American than if he was White, but decided to "not shoot" an unarmed target more quickly if he was White. Study 2 used a shorter time window, forcing this effect into error rates. Study 3 replicated Study 1's effects and showed that the magnitude of bias varied with perceptions of the cultural stereotype and with levels of contact, but not with personal racial prejudice. Study 4 revealed equivalent levels of bias among both African American and White participants in a community sample. Implications and potential underlying mechanisms are discussed.
Article
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The current work examined police officers' decisions to shoot Black and White criminal suspects in a computer simulation. Responses to the simulation revealed that upon initial exposure to the program, the officers were more likely to mistakenly shoot unarmed Black compared with unarmed White suspects. However, after extensive training with the program, in which the race of the suspect was unrelated to the presence of a weapon, the officers were able to eliminate this bias. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for the elimination of racial biases and the training of police officers.
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Police officers were compared with community members in terms of the speed and accuracy with which they made simulated decisions to shoot (or not shoot) Black and White targets. Both samples exhibited robust racial bias in response speed. Officers outperformed community members on a number of measures, including overall speed and accuracy. Moreover, although community respondents set the decision criterion lower for Black targets than for White targets (indicating bias), police officers did not. The authors suggest that training may not affect the speed with which stereotype-incongruent targets are processed but that it does affect the ultimate decision (particularly the placement of the decision criterion). Findings from a study in which a college sample received training support this conclusion.
Article
We examined implicit race biases in the decision to shoot potentially hostile targets in a multiethnic context. Results of two studies showed that college‐aged participants and police officers showed anti‐Black racial bias in their response times: they were quicker to correctly shoot armed Black targets and to indicate “don't shoot” for unarmed Latino, Asian, and White targets. In addition, police officers showed racial biases in response times toward Latinos versus Asians or Whites, and surprisingly, toward Whites versus Asians. Results also showed that the accuracy of decisions to shoot was higher for Black and Latino targets than for White and Asian targets. Finally, the degree of bias shown by police officers toward Blacks was related to contact, attitudes, and stereotypes. Overestimation of community violent crime correlated with greater bias toward Latinos but less toward Whites. Implications for police training to ameliorate biases are discussed.
Article
The February 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin has slowly reignited the national conversation about race and violence. Despite the sheer volume of debate arising from this tragedy, insufficient attention has been paid to the potentially deadly mix of guns and implicit bias. Evidence of implicit bias, and its power to alter real-world behavior, is stronger now than ever. A growing body of research on “shooter bias” reveals that, as a result of implicit bias, White and Black Americans are more likely to shoot unarmed Black men than unarmed White men. The problem has been diagnosed. What remains to be determined is the solution. While defusing implicit bias is a daunting task, the stakes are too high to ignore the problem. States, responsible for laws regulating gun ownership and use, must help defuse implicit bias before it becomes deadly.
Article
In this article, the authors identify three methodological short-comings of the classic Princeton trilogy studies: (a) ambiguity of the instructions given to respondents, (b) no assessment of respondents' level of prejudice, and (c) use of an outdated list of adjectives. These shortcomings are addressed in the authors' assessment of the stereotype and personal beliefs of a sample of University of Wisconsin students. In contrast to the commonly espoused fading stereotype proposition, data suggest that there exists a consistent and negative contemporary stereotype of Blacks. Comparing the data from the Princeton trilogy studies with those of the present study, the authors conclude that the Princeton trilogy studies actually measured respondents' personal beliefs, not (as typically assumed) their knowledge of the Black stereotype. Consistent with Devine's model, high- and low-prejudiced individuals did not differ in their knowledge of the stereotype of Blacks but diverged sharply in their endorsement of the stereotype.
Article
Normal Accidents analyzes the social side of technological risk. Charles Perrow argues that the conventional engineering approach to ensuring safety--building in more warnings and safeguards--fails because systems complexity makes failures inevitable. He asserts that typical precautions, by adding to complexity, may help create new categories of accidents. (At Chernobyl, tests of a new safety system helped produce the meltdown and subsequent fire.) By recognizing two dimensions of risk--complex versus linear interactions, and tight versus loose coupling--this book provides a powerful framework for analyzing risks and the organizations that insist we run them. The first edition fulfilled one reviewer's prediction that it "may mark the beginning of accident research." In the new afterword to this edition Perrow reviews the extensive work on the major accidents of the last fifteen years, including Bhopal, Chernobyl, and the Challenger disaster. The new postscript probes what the author considers to be the "quintessential 'Normal Accident'" of our time: the Y2K computer problem.
Article
This paper tests two perspectives on the use of deadly force by police officers: the “community violence” and the “conflict” hypotheses. From descriptive data on felons killed in the Supplemental Homicide Reports it appears that police-caused homicides are predictable responses to acts or threatened acts of violence. An examination of the largest U.S. cities revealed a strong relationship between levels of economic inequality and the rate of felon killing by police officers as well as a weaker, yet consistent relationship between percent black and felon killing, supporting the conflict hypothesis. A relationship exists between violent crime rates and felon killing, but violent crime most often plays an intervening role between other social factors and the rate of felon killing. Our findings suggest that economic inequality should be included in any macro-level explanation of police-caused homicide.
Article
This paper1 reports on a study of police officers killed in the line of duty and civilians killed by the police. The study was originated in 1971 in reaction to news reporting on the several mass media outlets at the local and national levels which focused on FBI statistics indicating police officers were being ‘assassinated’ at an alarming rate. A police reporter for an educational television station alarmed viewers with a report that 125 law enforcement officers had been killed in 1971, an increase of almost two and one-half times over 1963 when only 55 police officers were killed in all of that year. Police killings of citizens, however, were reported as isolated events. Although the death of civilians at the hands of police occurred from time to time, no news analyst attempted to show this as a national phenomenon.
Article
Shooting incidents involving patrol officers are examined for the effect of suspect race and degree of hazard in the number of shots fired and hits made on suspects. Additional tests examine frequencies of shooting incidents among Blacks and Whites with respect to city population and various measures of police-citizen contact. Finally, fatalities are examined with respect to involvement in shooting and arrest rates. The results suggest an effect for degree of hazard; however, there was no evidence to suggest police bias against Blacks.
Article
Using a videogame to simulate encounters with potentially hostile targets, three studies tested a model in which racial bias in shoot/don't-shoot decisions reflects accessibility of the stereotype linking Blacks to danger. Study 1 experimentally manipulated the race-danger association by asking participants to read newspaper stories about Black (vs. White) criminals. As predicted, exposure to stories concerning Black criminals increased bias in the decision to shoot. Studies 2 and 3 manipulated the number of White and Black targets with and without guns in the context of the videogame itself. As predicted, frequent presentation of stereotypic (vs. counterstereotypic) targets exacerbated bias (Study 2) and—consistent with our process account—rendered stereotypes more accessible (Study 3). Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
Participants played a videogame in which they were required to make speeded shoot/don’t-shoot decisions in response to armed and unarmed targets, half of whom were Black, half of whom were White. Event-related brain potentials (ERPs), recorded during the game, assessed attentional processes related to target race and object type. Early ERP components (i.e., the P200 and N200) differentiated between Black and White targets, as well as between armed and unarmed targets. Explicitly measured cultural stereotypes predicted both this racial ERP differentiation and racial bias in the game. Most importantly, the degree of racial differentiation in the early ERP components predicted behavioral bias in the videogame and mediated the relationship between cultural stereotypes and bias.
Article
Thesis--State University of New York at Albany. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 543-560). Photocopy of typescript.
The Effectiveness of Use of Force Simulation Training Final Report
  • Craig Bennell
  • Natalie J Jones
Bennell, Craig and Natalie J. Jones. 2005. The Effectiveness of Use of Force Simulation Training Final Report. Psychology Department, Carleton University, Ottowa, Canada.
Policing and Homicide, 1976-98: Justifiable Homicide by Police, Police Officers Murdered by Felons
  • Jodi Brown
  • Patrick Langan
Brown, Jodi and Patrick Langan. 2001. Policing and Homicide, 1976-98: Justifiable Homicide by Police, Police Officers Murdered by Felons. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice.
Deadly Force: What We Know: A Practitioner's Desk Reference on Police-Involved Shootings
  • William A Geller
  • Michael Scott
Geller, William A. and Michael Scott. 1992. Deadly Force: What We Know: A Practitioner's Desk Reference on Police-Involved Shootings. Washington, DC: Police Executive Research Forum.
Into the Kill Zone: A Cop's Eye View of Deadly Force
  • David Klinger
Klinger, David. 2004. Into the Kill Zone: A Cop's Eye View of Deadly Force. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Specifying and testing the threat hypothesis: Police use of deadly force
  • Alan E Liska
  • Jiang Yu
Liska, Alan E. and Jiang Yu. 1992. Specifying and testing the threat hypothesis: Police use of deadly force. In (Alan E. Liska, ed.), Social Threat and Social Control. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Reducing Inherent Danger: Report of the Task Force on Police-on-Police Shootings
  • Christopher Stone
  • Zachary Carter
  • Thomas Belfiore
  • Ella M Bully-Cummings
  • Herbert Daughtry
  • Michael J Farrell
  • George Gascon
  • Arva Rice
  • Lew Rice
  • Damon T Hewitt
Stone, Christopher, Zachary Carter, Thomas Belfiore, Ella M. Bully-Cummings, Herbert Daughtry, Michael J. Farrell, George Gascon, Arva Rice, Lew Rice, and Damon T. Hewitt. 2010. Reducing Inherent Danger: Report of the Task Force on Police-on-Police Shootings. New York: New York State Task Force on Police-on-Police Shootings.
Final Report: Developing a Common Metric for Evaluating Police Performance in Deadly Force Situations
  • Bryan J Vila
  • Lois James
  • Stephen M James
  • Lauren B Waggoner
Vila, Bryan J., Lois James, Stephen M. James, and Lauren B. Waggoner. 2012. Final Report: Developing a Common Metric for Evaluating Police Performance in Deadly Force Situations. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.
is an assistant professor at the Washington State University (WSU) College of Nursing, and is a core faculty member in the WSU Sleep and Performance Research Center (SPRC) She has a BA in Psychology from Trinity College Dublin, and received her Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from WSU in 2011
  • Lois James
Lois James, Ph.D. is an assistant professor at the Washington State University (WSU) College of Nursing, and is a core faculty member in the WSU Sleep and Performance Research Center (SPRC). She has a BA in Psychology from Trinity College Dublin, and received her Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from WSU in 2011. During her time at WSU, Dr. L.
James's research focus is on understanding the impact of fatigue and other stressors on human performance. His particular area of expertise is on the impact of fatigue and distraction on officer driving performance
  • S Dr
Dr. S. James's research focus is on understanding the impact of fatigue and other stressors on human performance. His particular area of expertise is on the impact of fatigue and distraction on officer driving performance.
Shots fired: A typological examination of New York City police firearms discharges, 1971-75. Unpublished PhD dissertation submitted to SUNY
  • James J Fyfe
Fyfe, James J. 1978. Shots fired: A typological examination of New York City police firearms discharges, 1971-75. Unpublished PhD dissertation submitted to SUNY, Albany.
Reducing Inherent Danger: Report of the Task Force on Police-on-Police Shootings
  • Hewitt
Hewitt. 2010. Reducing Inherent Danger: Report of the Task Force on Police-on-Police Shootings. New York: New York State Task Force on Police-on-Police Shootings.
The police officer's dilemma: Using ethnicity to disambiguate potentially threatening individuals
  • Correll
  • Vila
Stereotypes and racial bias in the decision to shoot
  • Correll