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Columbia Law School

Law Enforcement and Corrections

Race

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Race And Reasonableness In Police Killings, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Alexis D. Campbell Jan 2020

Race And Reasonableness In Police Killings, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Alexis D. Campbell

Faculty Scholarship

Police officers in the United States have killed over 1000 civilians each year since 2013. The constitutional landscape that regulates these encounters defaults to the judgments of the reasonable police officer at the time of a civilian encounter based on the officer’s assessment of whether threats to their safety or the safety of others requires deadly force. As many of these killings have begun to occur under similar circumstances, scholars have renewed a contentious debate on whether police disproportionately use deadly force against African Americans and other nonwhite civilians and whether such killings reflect racial bias. We analyze data ...


Profiling And Consent: Stops, Searches, And Seizures After Soto, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Amanda Geller Jan 2020

Profiling And Consent: Stops, Searches, And Seizures After Soto, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Amanda Geller

Faculty Scholarship

Following Soto v. State (1999), New Jersey was the first state to enter into a Consent Decree with the U.S. Department of Justice to end racially selective enforcement on the state’s highways. The Consent Decree led to extensive reforms in the training and supervision of state police troopers, and the design of information technology to monitor the activities of the State Police. Compliance was assessed in part on the State’s progress toward the elimination of racial disparities in the patterns of highway stops and searches. We assess compliance by analyzing data on 257,000 vehicle stops on ...


Police, Race, And The Production Of Capital Homicides, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Amanda Geller Jan 2018

Police, Race, And The Production Of Capital Homicides, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Amanda Geller

Faculty Scholarship

Racial disparities in capital punishment have been well documented for decades. Over 50 studies have shown that Black defendants more likely than their white counterparts to be charged with capital-eligible crimes, to be convicted and sentenced to death. Racial disparities in charging and sentencing in capital-eligible homicides are the largest for the small number of cases where black defendants murder white victims compared to within-race killings, or where whites murder black or other ethnic minority victims. These patterns are robust to rich controls for non-racial characteristics and state sentencing guidelines. This article backs up the research on racial disparities to ...


Race And The New Policing, Jeffrey Fagan Jan 2017

Race And The New Policing, Jeffrey Fagan

Faculty Scholarship

Several observers credit nearly 25 years of declining crime rates to the “New Policing” and its emphasis on advanced statistical metrics, new forms of organizational accountability, and aggressive tactical enforcement of minor crimes. This model has been adopted in large and small cities, and has been institutionalized in everyday police-citizen interactions, especially among residents of poorer, often minority, and higher crime areas. Citizens exposed to these regimes have frequent contact with police through investigative stops, arrests for minor misdemeanors, and non-custody citations or summons for code violations or vehicle infractions. Two case studies show surprising and troubling similarities in the ...


New Policing, New Segregation: From Ferguson To New York, Jeffrey Fagan, Elliott Ash Jan 2017

New Policing, New Segregation: From Ferguson To New York, Jeffrey Fagan, Elliott Ash

Faculty Scholarship

Modern policing emphasizes advanced statistical metrics, new forms of organizational accountability, and aggressive tactical enforcement of minor crimes as the core of its institutional design. Recent policing research has shown how this policing regime has been woven into the social, political and legal systems in urban areas, but there has been little attention to these policing regimes in smaller areas. In these places, where relationships between citizens, courts and police are more intimate and granular, and local boundaries are closely spaced with considerable flow of persons through spaces, the “new policing” has reached deeply into the everyday lives of predominantly ...


Group Threat, Police Officer Diversity And The Deadly Use Of Police Force, Joscha Legewie, Jeffrey Fagan Jan 2016

Group Threat, Police Officer Diversity And The Deadly Use Of Police Force, Joscha Legewie, Jeffrey Fagan

Faculty Scholarship

Officer-involved killings and racial bias in policing are controversial political issues. Prior research indicates that (perceived) group threat related to political mobilization, economic competition, and the threat of black crime are is an important explanations for variations in police killings across cities in the United States. We argue that a diverse police force that proportionally represents the population it serves mitigates group threat and thereby reduces the number of officer-involved killings. Count models support our argument. They show that group threat is largely driven by the threat of black crime. Black-on-white homicides increase officer-involved killings of African Americans but black-on-black ...


Stops And Stares: Street Stops, Surveillance, And Race In The New Policing, Jeffrey Fagan, Anthony A. Braga, Rod K. Brunson, April Pattavina Jan 2016

Stops And Stares: Street Stops, Surveillance, And Race In The New Policing, Jeffrey Fagan, Anthony A. Braga, Rod K. Brunson, April Pattavina

Faculty Scholarship

The use of proactive tactics to disrupt criminal activities, such as Terry street stops and concentrated misdemeanor arrests, are essential to the "new policing." This model applies complex metrics, strong management, and aggressive enforcement and surveillance to focus policing on high crime risk persons and places. The tactics endemic to the "newpolicing"gave rise in the 1990s to popular, legal, political, and social science concerns about disparate treatment of minority groups in their everyday encounters with law enforcement. Empirical evidence showed that minorities were indeed stopped and arrested more frequently than similarly situated Whites, even when controlling for local social ...


Stops And Stares: Street Stops, Surveillance, And Race In The New Policing, Jeffrey Fagan, Anthony A. Braga, Rod Brunson, April Pattavina Jan 2016

Stops And Stares: Street Stops, Surveillance, And Race In The New Policing, Jeffrey Fagan, Anthony A. Braga, Rod Brunson, April Pattavina

Faculty Scholarship

The use of proactive tactics to disrupt criminal activities, such as Terry street stops and concentrated misdemeanor arrests, are essential to the “new policing.” This model applies complex metrics, strong management, and aggressive enforcement and surveillance to focus policing on high crime risk persons and places. The tactics endemic to the “new policing” gave rise in the 1990s to popular, legal, political and social science concerns about disparate treatment of minority groups in their everyday encounters with law enforcement. Empirical evidence showed that minorities were indeed stopped and arrested more frequently than similarly situated whites, even when controlling for local ...


Risk As A Proxy For Race: The Dangers Of Risk Assessment, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2015

Risk As A Proxy For Race: The Dangers Of Risk Assessment, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

Actuarial risk assessment in the implementation and administration of criminal sentencing has a long history in this country – a long and fraught history. Today, many progressive advocates promote the use of actuarial risk assessment instruments as part of a strategy to reduce the problem of "mass incarceration." Former Attorney General Eric Holder has called on the U.S. Sentencing Commission to hold hearings to further consider the matter of risk assessment and prediction tools in sentencing and parole.

The objective – to reduce our massive over-incarceration in this country – is critical and noble. But risk assessment tools are simply the wrong ...


Stops And Stares: Street Stops, Surveillance And Race In The New Policing, Jeffrey Fagan, Anthony A. Braga, Rod Brunson, April Pattavina Jan 2015

Stops And Stares: Street Stops, Surveillance And Race In The New Policing, Jeffrey Fagan, Anthony A. Braga, Rod Brunson, April Pattavina

Faculty Scholarship

The use of proactive tactics to disrupt criminal activities, such as Terry street stops and concentrated misdemeanor arrests, are essential to the “new policing.” This model applies complex metrics, strong management, and aggressive enforcement and surveillance to focus policing on high crime risk persons and places. The tactics endemic to the “new policing” gave rise in the 1990s to popular, legal, political and social science concerns about disparate treatment of minority groups in their everyday encounters with law enforcement. Empirical evidence showed that minorities were indeed stopped and arrested more frequently than similarly situated whites, even when controlling for local ...


Risk As A Proxy For Race, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2010

Risk As A Proxy For Race, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

Today, an increasing chorus argues that risk-assessment instruments are a politically feasible way to resolve our problem of mass incarceration and reduce prison populations. In this essay, I argue against this progressive argument for prediction: using risk-assessment tools to decrease prison populations would unquestionably aggravate the already intolerable racial imbalance in our prison populations and will not address the real source of mass incarceration, namely the admissions process. Risk has collapsed into prior criminal history, and prior criminal history has become a proxy for race. This means that using risk-assessment tools, even for progressive ends, is going to significantly aggravate ...


Henry Louis Gates And Racial Profiling: What's The Problem?, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2009

Henry Louis Gates And Racial Profiling: What's The Problem?, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

A string of recent studies has documented significant racial disparities in police stops, searches, and arrests across the country. The issue of racial profiling, however, did not receive national attention until the arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., at his home in Cambridge. This raises three questions: First, did Sergeant Crowley engage in racial profiling when he arrested Professor Gates? Second, why does it take the wrongful arrest of a respected member of an elite community to focus the attention of the country? Third, why is racial profiling so pervasive in American policing?

The answers to these questions are ...


Against Prediction: Sentencing, Policing, And Punishing In An Actuarial Age, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2005

Against Prediction: Sentencing, Policing, And Punishing In An Actuarial Age, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

Actuarial methods – i.e., the use of statistical rather than clinical methods on large datasets of criminal offending rates to determine different levels of offending associated with one or more group traits, in order to (1) predict past, present or future criminal behavior and (2) administer a criminal justice outcome – now permeates the criminal law and its enforcement. With the single exception of racial profiling against African-Americans and Hispanics, most people view the turn to the actuarial as efficient, rational, and wealth-maximizing. The fact is, law enforcement agencies can detect more crime with the same resources if they investigate citizens ...


Rethinking Racial Profiling: A Critique Of The Economics, Civil Liberties, And Constitutional Literature, And Of Criminal Profiling More Generally, Bernard Harcourt Jan 2004

Rethinking Racial Profiling: A Critique Of The Economics, Civil Liberties, And Constitutional Literature, And Of Criminal Profiling More Generally, Bernard Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

New reporting requirements and data collection efforts by over four hundred law enforcement agencies across the country – including entire states such as Maryland, Missouri, and Washington – are producing a continuous flow of new evidence on highway police searches. For the most part, the data consistently show disproportionate searches of African-American and Hispanic motorists in relation to their estimated representation on the road. Economists, civil liberties advocates, legal and constitutional scholars, political scientists, lawyers, and judges are poring over the new data and reaching, in many cases, quite opposite conclusions about racial profiling.


Rethinking Racial Profiling: A Critique Of The Economics, Civil Liberties, And Constitutional Literature, And Of Criminal Profiling More Generally, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2003

Rethinking Racial Profiling: A Critique Of The Economics, Civil Liberties, And Constitutional Literature, And Of Criminal Profiling More Generally, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

New data on highway stops and searches from across the country have spawned renewed debate over racial profiling on the roads. The new data reveal consistently disproportionate searches of minority motorists, but, very often, an equal or lower general success rate – or "hit rate" – associated with those searches. Economists are developing new models of racial profiling to test whether the data are consistent with policing efficiency or racial prejudice, and argue that equal hit rates reflect that the police are maximizing the success rate of their searches. Civil liberties advocates are scrutinizing the same data and, in most cases, reaching ...