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Race, Ethnicity, and PolicingNew and Essential Readings$
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Stephen K. Rice and Michael D. White

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814776155

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814776155.001.0001

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Citizens’ Demeanor, Race, and Traffic Stops

Citizens’ Demeanor, Race, and Traffic Stops

(p.287) Chapter 12 Citizens’ Demeanor, Race, and Traffic Stops
Race, Ethnicity, and Policing

Robin S. Engel

Charles F. Klahm IV

Rob Tillyer

NYU Press

This chapter explores the post-stop arrest decision in traffic stops conducted by Cleveland police officers to determine why racial disparities might exist. The study pays close attention to citizen demeanor by examining more than forty-two thousand traffic stops by Cleveland police; as part of their study, officers were also asked to rate citizen demeanor on a scale with values ranging from civil to physically resistant. Multivariate analysis shows that race/ethnicity is no longer a significant predictor of arrest when controlling for other legal and extra-legal variables, including citizen demeanor. Demeanor is a predictor of arrest and failure to account for this influential extra-legal variable represents a serious limitation in prior traffic stop studies.

Keywords:   post-stop arrest, traffic stops, Cleveland police, racial disparities, citizen demeanor, civil resistant, physically resistant, race, ethnicity

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