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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76986 Find in a Library
Title: Race and Extreme Police-citizen Violence (From Race, Crime, and Criminal Justice, P 89-108, 1981, R L McNeely and Carl E Pope, ed. - See NCJ-76982)
Author(s): J J Fyfe
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study suggests that blacks are disproportionately represented among those fired upon by police in New York City and that a close parallel exists between the racial distributions of homicide victims and police shooting opponents.
Abstract: The data sources included New York City Police Department records of all incidents in which officers reported discharging weapons and/or were subject to assaults with deadly weapons from 1971 to 1975. Burnham's sample of the races of 700 persons arrested for murder, nonnegligent manslaughter, robbery, forcible rape, and felonious assault in New York City was used to test the hypothesis that blacks and Hispanics would be overrepresented among police shooting opponents in relation to their representation in the population. Information on the race of homicide victims was used to test the hypothesis that Blacks' and Hispanics' overrepresentation among police shooting opponents would be reduced by taking into account the racial representation in reported murders and nonnegligent manslaughters. However, the available data did not distinguish between whites and Hispanics. The findings showed that while police shooting opponents were generally young and a greater proportion of the black population was young, black males in all age groups were considerably more likely to become police shooting opponents than were their white contemporaries. Blacks also made up a disproportionate share of those reportedly engaged in robberies when police intervened. However, blacks were not shot disproportionately in relatively nonthreatening situations. The data did not indicate that the disproportion of blacks among police shooting opponents was reflective of police misconduct or racial discrimination. However, data limitations did not allow researchers to examine the degree to which that disproportion was associated with the generally lower socioeconomic position of blacks. This association might be strong in view of differences among the shooting types which characterized the races (e.g., more blacks were shot during robberies and more whites during automobile thefts. A discussion of prior research, statistical data, notes, and about 20 references are included.
Index Term(s): Black/African Americans; Black/White Crime Comparisons; New York; Police use of deadly force; Police weapons use; Racial discrimination; Victimization
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