Racial Inequality in Police Violence: Injuries and Fatalities from Police Use of Force

Awarded Scholars:
Jeffrey Fagan, Columbia University
Lisa Bates, Columbia University
Charles Branas, Columbia University
Project Date:
Mar 2021
Award Amount:

Co-funded by JPB Foundation

Significant attention has focused on police use of force in the killings of African Americans and other non-white civilians, but research has been hampered by data limitations. Because some government databases on police killings are problematic, several crowd-sourced datasets have recently been developed. However, killings by police are a critical but small portion of the totality of police use of force and little research has focused on national estimates of non-lethal use of force because there are no reliable nationwide reporting systems or databases. Jeffrey Fagan, Lisa Bates, and Charles Branas will address the following topics in their research project: first, they will augment and harmonize national public health and criminal justice databases that record fatal and non-fatal police use of force; and second, estimate the relative risks of police-related injury or death by civilian race, adjusted for social and economic contexts of injury or fatality location, level and intensity of police-civilian contacts, and social and economic dimensions of crime and inequality. They will develop rates of lethal and non-lethal police violence for all counties and create a continuum of police use of force. Finally, their analyses will examine police violence across a range of force, including non-fatal incidents.


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