Access Minnesota

21 June 2017

Racial Bias in Policing (Rebroadcast)

For the week of June 25, 2017

A jury recently acquitted former St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez of wrongdoing in the shooting death of Philando Castile. But many questions linger about racial inequities in our law enforcement and criminal justice systems. Academic studies present a complicated picture of how race impacts interactions between the police and the public. This week, a look at the research surrounding racial bias in policing. This interview originally aired on Access Minnesota in July of 2016.

Guest: Michelle Phelps, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota and Faculty Affiliate at the Law School’s Robina Institute and the Minnesota Population Center

  • Part 1 – 12:23

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    Phelps sites studies that show African American drivers are three times more likely to be pulled over by police; Black men age 25 or younger have a 28% chance of being pulled over; and, police officers are more likely to rough-up Black suspects. “Together that creates this pattern of bias,” Phelps says, “that creates differential outcomes for black and white Americans and deferential attitudes towards the police.” Bias exists on an individual level, both in police officers and in all of us, Phelps says, but also on a structural level. Inequality in neighborhoods, education and income also contribute to implicit bias.

  • Part 2 – 14:13

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    How do we reduce racial bias and excessive use of force by police? Requiring police to wear body cameras and carry liability insurance are two proposals in Minnesota. Placing greater accountability on police officers could have beneficial results; however, Phelps worries these are “technological solutions to fundamental divides between communities and police.”

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