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Effect of race on suspect injuries during encounters with police
  1. Edward Maguire
  1. Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, Arizona State University, Phoenix, Arizona, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Edward Maguire, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ 85004-0685, USA; edmaguire{at}asu.edu

Abstract

Objectives To estimate the effects of race and ethnicity on suspect injuries during use of force encounters with police in Tucson, Arizona.

Methods Data on all use of force cases recorded by the Tucson Police Department from January 2018 to March 2020 were analysed. Logistic regression was used to estimate the effects of race and ethnicity on the likelihood of suspect injuries controlling for a variety of other factors.

Results Overall, 28.5% of people who had force used against them by Tucson police were injured. Multivariate analyses reveal that among those who had force used against them, African-American suspects were significantly less likely than white suspects to be injured. The risk of injury for other racial and ethnic groups is about the same as the risk for white suspects. Resisting arrest and seeking to escape from police custody do not increase the risk of injury among suspects, but assaulting officers or other individuals does increase the risk of injury. Certain types of force, such as canines, firearms and TASERs, are associated with significantly elevated risks of injury among suspects.

Conclusions Numerous interest groups have raised concerns about the police use of force against minorities. Using publicly available data, this analysis examined the effects of race and ethnicity on risk of injury during the use of force encounters with police in Tucson. The findings reveal that minorities are not injured at elevated rates relative to whites. To the contrary, African-American suspects are less likely to be injured than white suspects are.

  • legal intervention
  • violence
  • multiple Injury
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Footnotes

  • Twitter @ermaguire

  • Contributors EM is the sole contributor.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The analysis of de-identified, publicly available data does not constitute human subjects research as defined by 45 CFR 46.102.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement The data used in this study are available from the Tucson Police Department: https://policeanalysis.tucsonaz.gov.

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