Fear of being branded racist increases police support for excessive force

July 18, 2019

It's a tense time for racial relations, particularly when it comes to relationships between minority communities and the police departments that patrol them. Many officers are acutely aware of the stereotype of the racist cop, and are concerned that they may be perceived as treating people differently because of the color of their skin.

It turns out that worry may inspire poorer policing, including greater use of unreasonable force. New research finds evidence of "a particularly vicious cycle of stereotype threat, police force, and public trust," in which officers who feel their legitimacy has been questioned feel justified in resorting to coercive tactics. This was true of both black and white officers, according to the study, published in the journal Law and Human Behavior.

 Read the full article by Tom Jacobs of Pacific Standard Magazine