Advertisement

Search and Seizure Jurisprudence: Community Perceptions of Police Legitimacy in the United States

  • S. Hakan Can
  • Durant Frantzen
Chapter

Abstract

Perceptions of police legitimacy have a significant impact on reported crime rates and public order, particularly as it relates to police searches and seizures. Research has shown that variations in community demographics play a vital role in how the police are perceived by their constituents, as well as how crime is differentially enforced in these communities. One limitation from this line of research is the tendency to focus on racial differences (e.g., Black vs. White), with less attention devoted to ethnic variations. This study examines how perceptions of police searches and seizures (as defined by U.S. Supreme Court case law) compare in a majority-Hispanic community in the Southwest and a majority-White community in the Northeast. We also explore the differential perceptions toward police legitimacy as defined by the type of police search or seizure; that is, whether vehicle stops and searches are viewed as more or less legitimate compared to person and residential searches and whether such views vary according to race and ethnicity, as well as region. Results indicate that perceptions of police search legality are mediated by region. Differences in racial perceptions of the police were found among respondents in the Northeast, with African-Americans least likely to favor police search policies compared to Hispanics and Whites. However, no such differences were found in the Southwest. The findings are discussed within the larger context of police-community relations research.

Keywords

Police legitimacy Search and seizure Public perceptions of police Police stops 

References

  1. Alpert, G. P., MacDonald, J., & Dunham, R. G. (2005). Police suspicion and discretionary decision making during citizen stops. Criminology, 43, 407–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bayley, D., & Mendelsohn, H. (1969). Minorities and the police: Confrontation in America. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  3. Blalock, H. M. (1967). Toward a theory of minority-group relations. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  4. Blumer, H. (1958). Race prejudice as a sense of group position. Pacific Sociological Review, 1, 3–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Borooah, V. K. (2011). Racial disparity in police stop and searches in England and Whales. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 27, 453–473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Britt, C. L. (2000). Social context and racial disparities in punishment decisions. Justice Quarterly, 17(4), 707–732.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brunson, R. K. (2007). Police don’t like black people: African American young men’s accumulated police experiences. Criminology and Public Policy, 6, 71–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brunson, R. K., & Miller, J. (2006). Young black men and urban policing in the United States. British Journal of Criminology, 46, 613–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Buckler, K., Unnever, J. D., & Cohen, F. T. (2008). Perceptions of injustice revisited: A test of Hagan et al.’s comparative conflict theory. Journal of Crime and Justice, 31(1), 35–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cao, L., & Garcia, V. (2005). Race and satisfaction with the police in a small city. Journal of Criminal Justice, 33(2), 191–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Culhane, S. E., Hosch, H. M., & Heck, C. (2008). Interrogation technique endorsement by current law enforcement, future law enforcement, and laypersons. Police Quarterly, 11(3), 366–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Engel, R. S. (2008). A critique of the outcome test in racial profiling research. Justice Quarterly, 25, 1–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Engel, R. S., & Calnon, J. M. (2004). Comparing benchmark technologies for police-citizen contacts: Traffic stop data collection for the Pennsylvania state police. Police Quarterly, 7, 97–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Engel, R. S., & Johnson, R. (2006). Toward a better understanding of racial and ethnic disparities in search and seizure rates. Journal of Criminal Justice, 34, 605–617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fagan, J., & Davies, G. (2000). Street stops and broken windows: Terry, race, and disorder in New York City. Fordham Urban Law Journal, 28, 457–490.Google Scholar
  16. Franklin, T. W. (2010). The intersection of defendants’ race, gender, and age in prosecutorial decision making. Journal of Criminal Justice, 38(2), 185–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Grieco, E. M., & Rytina, N. F. (2011). U.S. data sources on the foreign born and immigration. International Migration Review, 45(4), 1001–1016.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Groh v. Ramirez. (2004). 540 U.S. 551.Google Scholar
  19. Guzmán, B. (2001). The Hispanic population (census brief 2000: C2KBR/01–3). Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.Google Scholar
  20. Hagan, J., Payne, M. R., & Shedd, C. (2005). Race, ethnicity, and youth perceptions of injustice. American Sociological Review, 70, 381–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Harris, D. (2002). Profiles in injustice. New York: New Press.Google Scholar
  22. Healey, J. (1995). Race, ethnicity, gender, and class. Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press.Google Scholar
  23. Howell, S., Perry, H., & Vile, M. (2004). Black cities, white cities: Evaluating the police. Political Behavior, 26, 45–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hurst, Y., Frank, J., & Browning, S. (2000). The attitudes of juveniles toward the police. Policing, 23, 37–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hurwitz, J., & Peffley, M. (1997). Public perceptions of race and crime: The role of racial stereotypes. American Journal of Political Science, 41, 375–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kaminski, R., & Jefferis, E. (1998). The effect of a violent televised arrest on public perceptions of the police. Policing, 21, 683–706.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kent, S. L., & Jacobs, D. (2005). Minority threat and police strength from 1980 to 2000: A fixed-effects analysis of nonlinear and interactive effects in large cities. Criminology, 43(3), 731–760.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kessler, D. K. (2009). Free to leave? An empirical look at the fourth Amendment’s seizure standard. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 99(1), 51–87.Google Scholar
  29. Mast, M. S. (2004). Men are hierarchal, women are egalitarian: An implicit gender stereotype. Swiss Journal of Psychology, 63, 107–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Massey, D. S., & Capoferro, C. (2009). The geographic diversification of American immigration. In D. S. Massey (Ed.), New faces in new places: The changing geography of American immigration (pp. 25–50). New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  31. Mata, A. G. (1998). Stereotyping by politicians: Immigrant bashing and nativist political movements. In C. R. Mann & M. S. Zatz (Eds.), Images of color, images of crime (pp. 151–167). Los Angeles: Roxbury.Google Scholar
  32. McDowell, M., & Wonders, N. (2010). Keeping migrants in their place: Technologies of control and racialized public space in Arizona. Social Justice, 7(2), 54–72.Google Scholar
  33. Murty, K., Roebuck, J., & Smith, J. (1990). The image of the police in black Atlanta communities. Journal of Police Science and Administration, 17, 250–257.Google Scholar
  34. President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice. (1967). Task force report: The police. Washington, DC: GPO.Google Scholar
  35. Provine, D. M., & Sanchez, G. (2011). Suspecting immigrants: Exploring links between racialised anxieties and expanded police powers in Arizona. Policing and Society, 21, 468–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Piquero, N. L. (2012). The only thing we have to fear is fear itself: Investigating the relationship between fear of falling and white collar crime. Crime and Delinquency, 58(3), 362–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pogarsky, G. (2004). Projected offending and contemporaneous rule-violation: Implications for heterotypic continuity. Criminology, 42, 111–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rojek, J., Alpert, G. P., & Smith, H. P. (2010). Examining officer and citizen accounts of police use-of-force incidents. Crime and Delinquency, 58(2), 301–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rojek, J., Rosenfeld, R., & Decker, S. (2012). Policing race: The racial stratification of searches in police traffic stops. Criminology, 50(4), 993–1024.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rossi, P. H., & Anderson, A. B. (1982). The factorial survey approach: An introduction. In P. H. Rossi & S. L. Nock (Eds.), Measuring social judgments (pp. 15–67). Beverly Hills: SAGE.Google Scholar
  41. Rumbaut, R. G., & Ewing, W. A. (2007). The myth of immigrant criminality and the paradox of assimilation: Incarceration rates among native and foreign-born men. Washington, DC: Immigration Policy Center, American Immigration Law Foundation.Google Scholar
  42. Schuck, A. M., & Rosenbaum, D. P. (2005). Global and neighborhood attitudes toward the police: Differentiation by race, ethnicity and type of contact. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 21(4), 391–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Smith, B. W., & Holmes, M. (2003). Community accountability, minority threat, and police brutality: An examination of civil rights criminal complaints. Criminology, 41(4), 1035–1063.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Stacey, M., Carbone-Lopez, K., & Rosenfeld, R. (2011). Demographic change and ethnically motivated crime: The impact of immigration on anti-hispanic hate crime in the United States. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 27(3), 278–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Steen, S., Engen, R. L., & Gainey, R. R. (2005). Images of danger and culpability: Racial stereotyping, case processing, and criminal sentencing. Criminology, 43(2), 435–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Stucky, T. D. (2005). Local politics and police strength. Justice Quarterly, 22(2), 139–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Terrill, W., & Reisig, M. (2003). Neighborhood context and police use of force. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 40, 291–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Tyler, T., & Huo, Y. (2002). Trust in the law. Russell: Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  49. United States v. Arvizu, 534 U.S. 266 (2002)Google Scholar
  50. Weitzer, R. (2000). Racialized policing: Residents’ perceptions in three neighborhoods. Law and Society Review, 34(1), 129–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Weitzer, R., & Tuch, S. (2002). Perceptions of racial profiling: Race, class, and personal experience. Criminology, 40(2), 435–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Weitzer, R., & Tuch, S. A. (2005). Racially-biased policing: Determinants of citizen perceptions. Social Forces, 83(3), 1009–1030.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Weitzer, R., & Tuch, S. A. (2006). Race and policing in America: Conflict and reform. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Weitzer, R., Tuch, S. A., & Skogan, W. A. (2008). Police-community relations in a majority-black city. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 45(4), 398–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Wortley, S., Hagan, J., & Macmillan, R. (1997). Just desserts? The racial polarization of perceptions of criminal ill Injustice. Law and Society Review, 31, 637–676.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Hakan Can
    • 1
  • Durant Frantzen
    • 2
  1. 1.Penn State UniversitySchuylkillUSA
  2. 2.Texas A & M UniversityCollege StationUSA

Personalised recommendations