Study: Dallas Police Don’t Target Minorities, Social Media Distorts Perception

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A new study debunks the belief that white Dallas police officers use force against blacks and Hispanics disproportionately.

The study was done by researchers at U-T Dallas, the U-T School of Public Health and the University of South Florida, and was based on more than 5,600 reports filed by Dallas police during a two year period.

University of Texas at Dallas’ Alex Piquero says when researchers took into consideration the factors in each incident, the majority of the race, ethnic differences from officer and citizen disappears.

“On average the popular perception that Dallas police are targeting minorities, doesn’t hold up in the data that we have for that two year period,” Piquero says.

He says much of the misinformation about police comes from social media.

“We see these images on cell phones cameras documenting horrible events. But they don’t always represent the pattern of findings. That’s not to diminish the events or excuse them. But if you were to look at the entire range of incidents, the norm is that there is no racial and ethnic differences between officer and citizen.”

Piquero also says that no other prior research has been able to look at the different kinds of combinations of race and ethnicity of the officer and citizen.

“The knowledge base in the research world just hasn’t been there.”

The study found that about 48 percent of the reports showed white officers using force against someone who was not white, while only 3 percent of black officers used force on a white suspect. The study says that putting the situations in context, there were few racial and ethnic differences relating to the use of force.

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