Race and the Likelihood of Arrest
Opinion surveys in the United States often report that citizens believe that race influences how police officers treat the public. This entry summarizes a recent meta-analysis by Kochel et al. (2011) that examined the existing empirical evidence on the relationship between race and a police officer’s decision to make an arrest. The findings support the conclusion that black suspects are more likely to be arrested than white suspects when encountering a police officer. This effect does not appear to be the result of various alternative hypotheses, such as the demeanor of the suspect or other observable legal and extralegal factors. Although the research consistently supported a racial bias hypothesis, the strength of the effect across studies did vary. Additional research is needed to better understand the factors that influence this relationship.
Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., was arrested for disorderly conduct in July of 2009 (Cambridge...
Recommended Reading and References
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