Again and again the data show that people of color in the U.S. are disproportionately, and systematically, stopped, frisked, arrested, and exposed to the use of force by police. Police departments and communities across the U.S. are struggling with these realities and with what has become a glaring divide in how Americans experience and relate to policing. This special collection includes research from nonprofits, foundations, and university based research centers, who have not only described and documented the issue but who also provide much-needed recommendations for addressing this chronic and tragic problem.

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Black and Hispanic Men Perceived to Be Large Are at Increased Risk for Police Frisk, Search, and Force

January 19, 2016

Social justice issues remain some of the most pressing problems in the United States. One aspect of social justice involves the differential treatment of demographic groups in the criminal justice system. While data consistently show that Blacks and Hispanics are often treated differently than Whites, one understudied aspect of these disparities is how police officers' assessments of suspects' size affects their decisions. Using over 3 million cases from the New York Police Department (NYPD) Stop, Question, and Frisk (SQF) Database, 2006–2013, this study is the first to explore suspects' race, perceived size, and police treatment. Results indicate that tall and heavy black and Hispanic men are at the greatest risk for frisk or search. Tall and heavy suspects are at increased risk for experiencing police force, with black and Hispanic men being more likely to experience force than white men across size categories.

Perceptions of Policing; Racial Bias & Profiling; Stop & Frisk