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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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Blind Justice

Blind Justice

Police Shootings in Memphis

(p.368) Chapter 15 Blind Justice
Race, Ethnicity, and Policing

James J. Fyfe

NYU Press

This chapter addresses the use of force by police by identifying factors that explain the disproportionate number of black males who are victims of police shootings. Using a hazard-based typology of shootings and data from New York City and Memphis, it demonstrates that the difference in shooting rates between the two cities can be attributed to the greater frequency with which Memphis officers shot fleeing property crime suspects in nonlife-threatening encounters. Moreover, an examination of the types of shootings by suspect race indicates that this deadly force practice disproportionately involved black suspects, leading to the conclusion that Memphis police differentiated racially by shooting blacks in circumstances less threatening than those in which they shot whites.

Keywords:   use of force, black males, police shooting, New York City, Memphis, shooting rates, nonlife-threatening encounters, suspect race, trigger fingers

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