Please join us for a colloquium being given by Joscha Legewie, Assistant Professor of Sociology of Education at New York University's Steinhardt School.
"Racial Profiling and Use of Force in Police Stops: How Local Events Trigger Periods of Increased Discrimination"
Racial profiling and the disproportionate use of police force are controversial political issues. I argue that racial bias in the use of force increases after relevant events such as the shooting of a police officer by a black suspect. To examine this argument, I design a natural experiment using data from 3.9 million time and geo-coded pedestrian stops in New York City. The findings show that two fatal shootings of police officers by black suspects increased the use police force against blacks substantially in the days after the shootings. The use of force against whites and Hispanics, however, remained unchanged and there is no evidence for an effect of two other police murders by a white and Hispanic suspect. Aside from the importance for the debate on racial profiling and police use of force, this research reveals a general set of processes where events trigger discriminatory responses. I conclude by discussing these broader implications and future work on the role of events for racial/ethnic relations, conflict and discriminatory behavior.