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NCJ Number: 92935 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Police Shootings Demystified - The Chicago Study
Journal: Justice Reporter  Volume:1  Issue:6  Dated:(November - December, 1981)  Pages:1-8
Author(s): W A Geller
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Analyses of data drawn from an extensive study of all police shootings by and of Chicago police officers from 1974 to 1978 suggest that police shootings need not be the product of split second decisions and may be avoided through the use of more deliberative, less risky tactics by better trained officers.
Abstract: Over the study period, 523 civilians were shot by police, 85 percent intentionally and 14 percent unintentionally. The vast majority of intentional shooting victims were shot because of their use or threatened use of a deadly weapon against the officer or another person. However, 17 percent of the victims were shot when offering no resistance other than flight. Robbery was the situation in which police most frequently shot civilians. The racial distribution of the civilians shot by Chicago police -- 20 percent white, 70 percent black, and 10 percent Hispanic -- is highly disproportionate to Chicago's resident population. However, other comparisons show that blacks and whites were equally likely to be shot by police based on their forcible felony exposure. In addition, situations in which blacks were most often shot were those associated with higher fatality rates. Some patterns regarding the race of both officers and civilian victims suggested overinvolvement of black officers as shooters, particularly in off-duty incidents, while others suggested overinvolvement of white officers. Most variance seems explainable by residency and deployment patterns of officers of different races, and the data do not support the racist theory of police shootings. The study found that shootings were strongly correlated with forcible felony arrest statistics, not correlated to time, and inconclusively associated with departmental initiatives. At least a third of all incidents reported in the study could have been avoided. The paper outlines control strategies in four areas: policy development, police enforcement, personnel practices, and training and weapons. Tables are included.
Index Term(s): Illinois; Municipal police; Police use of deadly force; Police-minority relations
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