Mark Hoekstra Interview on Fox News 7 Features Working Paper on Race and Police Use of Force

Jun 26, 2020
Summary: Mark Hoekstra, PERC’s Rex B. Grey Professor, was interviewed on Austin’s Fox 7 news about the results of his working paper on race and police use of force on Thursday, June 25, 2020.
The paper, “Does Race Matter for Police Use of Force? Evidence from 911 Calls,” co-authored with CarlyWill Sloan, newly appointed Assistant Professor at Claremont Graduate University and a former PERC Graduate Fellow, uses 911 calls from two U.S. cities to study how the race of the dispatched police officers affect how often use of force occurs in minority or white neighborhoods.
Results show that white officers use force 60% more often than black officers, on average, and fire their guns twice as often. “The other major finding that I’d point out is white and black officers scale up their use of force quite differently as they get dispatched from white neighborhoods to black neighborhoods. For example, white officers are 30% more likely to use force in white neighborhoods, but they are twice as likely to use force in black neighborhoods. And, if you look at just force in which a gun is used, you know both officers are doing pretty much the same thing when they are dispatched to white neighborhoods, but when they are dispatched to otherwise similar calls in black neighborhoods, those white officers are five times as likely to fire their weapons,” said Hoekstra.
Prior research has been limited to incidents where force was used, and therefore make assumptions about all other incidents where force was not a factor. Results from prior studies led to officer race being viewed as not an important factor when talking about the use of force. “The major difference with what we have is that we have data from 911 calls. We know that every time there is a 911 call, we know who was dispatched and we know there was a police-civilian interaction” said Hoekstra. “For example, in our study, we observe that 1 out of every 10,000 911 calls results in an officer firing his gun. Other studies will observe that 1 incident of an officer firing his gun. What they won’t observe are the other 9,999 incidences where the officer didn’t fire his gun.”
To read the full working paper, click the link above.
To see the interview, click here.