University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
Title "Stops and Stares: Street Stops, Surveillance and Race in the New Policing"
Date 2016
Author Jeffrey Fagan, Anthony A. Braga, Rod K Brunson, April Pattavmna
Author Institution Columbia University Law School
Author Role Faculty
External Link
Abstract This article examines racial disparities under a unique configuration of the street stop prong of the "new policing"-the inclusion of non-contact observations (or surveillances) in the field interrogation and observation activity of Boston Police Department officers. The authors show that Boston Police officers focus significant portions of their field investigation activity in two areas: suspected and actual gang members, and the city's high crime areas. Minority neighborhoods experience higher levels of field interrogation and surveillance activity, controlling for crime and other social factors. Relative to White suspects, Black suspects are more likely to be observed, interrogated, and frisked or searched controlling for gang membership and prior arrest history Moreover, relative to their Black counterparts, White police officers conduct high numbers of field investigations and are more likely to frisk or search subjects of all races. The authors distinguish between preference-based and statistical discrimination by comparing stops by officer-suspect racial pairs. If officer activity is independent of officer race, we would infer that disproportionate stops of minorities reflect statistical discrimination. We show instead that officers seem more likely to investigate and frisk or search a minority suspect if officer and suspect race differ. We locate these results in the broader tensions of racial profiling that pose recurring social and constitutional concerns in the "new policing."
Source Fordham Urb. L.J.
Citation 43 Fordham Urb. L.J. 539-614

This Resource Relates To
case Wilkins v. Maryland State Police (PN-MD-0003)

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