Police Use of Force: Examining the Factors Relating to Police Officers Shooting Unarmed Black Males
Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Sister Remigia Kushner
The purpose of this study was to examine the factors relating to police officers shooting unarmed Black males and to seek to understand what impact, if any, a police officer’s race, age, years of service, or place of residence has on the decision to shoot an armed or unarmed suspect. The study examined whether or not these factors impacted the decision-making process in shoot/don’t shoot scenarios. Thirty sworn police officers participated in the quantitative study that was conducted using a Ti Lab firearms high-fidelity video simulator and a laser-modified Sig Sauer P380 handgun to engage in four shoot/don’t shoot video scenarios. The findings suggest that the police officers displayed implicit bias, but there was no activation of the bias against the Black male suspects. The participants were able to override their implicit bias. The participants shot armed White males more quickly than armed Black males, and the participants took significantly longer to shoot an armed White female than an armed Black or White male. It is recommended that future studies use a mixed-methods design to understand the pre- and post-decision points of the participants when engaging in different scenarios. Further, consideration should be given to comparing officer behavior in a simulator to an officer’s in-the-field behavior while wearing a body camera.
Davis, De Lacy D., "Police Use of Force: Examining the Factors Relating to Police Officers Shooting Unarmed Black Males" (2019). Education Doctoral. Paper 412.
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