Harvard Professor Studies Racial Bias By Cops In Their Use of Excessive & Lethal Force

police racism

Roland G. Fryer, a Harvard economist has conducted a study looking into racial bias by cops in their use of both excessive and lethal force and has come to some surprising results.

The study concludes that there is racial bias in the police’s use of excessive force. It revealed figures showing that in stop and frisk searches it is;

  • 18% more likely that an officer will push a black civilian into a wall;
  • 24% more likely that an officer will point their gun at a black civilian;
  • 25% more likely that an officer will use pepper spray or their baton in an encounter with a black civilian.

In other words, black individuals are more likely to have their civil rights violated through police brutality or misconduct. These figures are reflective of news stories across the nation including incidents of excessive force by NYPD. According to the New York Times, a recent report found that San Francisco Police Department stop a disproportionate number of black individuals for searches. The statistics also reveal that black individuals make up 40% of civilians involved in police shootings, yet they only make up 4% of the population.

Despite the striking figures from this report, the Harvard study found that there is no racial bias in the use of lethal force. Essentially, the statistics demonstrate that there is no bias in police shootings: a surprising result given the recent string of high profile police shootings of black civilians, including ones involving NYPD.

However, this Harvard study has come under harsh criticism. Among other flaws in the study, the data used was confined to Houston and so findings are not necessarily applicable nation wide, and the study does not use statistics from NYPD. Therefore, taking this study in the context of such criticism and recent events, it is hard to say that there is no bias in cops’ use of lethal force.

If you believe that you are the victim of excessive force or lethal force by NYPD, then contact the attorneys at PetersonDelleCave LLP for a free consultation.