Political scientists report on ethnic/racial aspects of Taser use by Houston police

Sep 09, 2008

A new report co-authored by Rice political scientists Mark Jones and William Reed with colleagues at the University of Houston finds patterns and/or aberrations in the use of Tasers related to ethnicity, gender, race and geography.

The report, titled "A Statistical Analysis of the Use of Conducted Energy Devices by the Houston Police Department," constitutes one section of a larger report, "Conducted Energy Device Program Performance Audit," released by the city of Houston's controller. The report sought to answer several questions about Tasers, also called conducted energy devices or CEDs, including: Who is subject to being shocked by a Taser? What are the demographic characteristics of suspects and officers in these events? And where have these incidents occurred?

The study, based on data from December 2004 to June 2007, found Houston police officers were more likely to use Tasers on African-American suspects than on Latino or Anglo suspects. Of 1,417 Taser deployments by officers during that time frame, nearly 67 percent were used on black suspects, the study reported. About 25 percent of Houston's population is black.

In addition to determining the incidence of who was shocked by Tasers, the researchers looked at who was doing the shocking. "African-American officers were significantly less likely to use their CED than Anglo and Latino officers," the report stated. "The explanation for this observation most likely hinges on a complex set of factors related to the way in which the suspect interacted/responded to the officer and in which the officer interacted/responded to the suspect."

The report also noted, "Latino suspects were somewhat more likely to be subjected to a CED deployment than Anglo suspects. This difference was modest and driven primarily by the greater tendency of Latino officers to utilize their CED when a suspect was Latino, compared to when the suspect was an Anglo."

Finally, "the results from the CED analysis suggest that certain combinations of officer and suspect characteristics resulted in an increased probability of CED utilization," the report stated. "Depending on how the race of the officer and the race of the suspect were paired, it was possible to see significant increases and decreases in the rate of CED utilization."

Source: Rice University

Explore further: UC Santa Barbara receives $65M from Munger

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sony's quarterly loss balloons on mobile woes

31 minutes ago

Sony's losses ballooned to 136 billion yen ($1.2 billion) last quarter as the Japanese electronics and entertainment company's troubled mobile phone division reported huge red ink.

China web users laud Apple boss for coming out

32 minutes ago

Apple chief Tim Cook's announcement of his homosexuality was the top topic on Chinese Internet forums Friday, with many users lauding him as a hero—and some joking about his declaration. ...

Australia set to pay polluters to cut emissions

51 minutes ago

Australia is set to approve measures giving polluters financial incentives to reduce emissions blamed for climate change, in a move critics described as ineffective environmental policy.

Will Apple Pay be mobile pay's kick-start?

8 hours ago

If anyone can get us to use our smartphones as wallets, it's Apple. That's what experts think about the recent launch of Apple Pay, the first mobile wallet to work on an iPhone.

Recommended for you

UC Santa Barbara receives $65M from Munger

14 hours ago

A physics institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has received a $65 million donation—the largest single gift in the university's history.

Prophet's ancient seal provides insights from antiquity

20 hours ago

When a personal artifact of a religious leader is discovered nearly 1,700 years after its use, the object provides invaluable historical insights. Zsuzsanna Gulacsi, professor of Comparative Cultural Studies, ...

Billionaires' $10m gift to Yale stirs debate in China

Oct 30, 2014

A Chinese billionaire couple's $10 million gift to Yale University sparked controversy among the country's Internet users Thursday, with some arguing that the money would be better spent on schools in China.

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

NOM
not rated yet Sep 09, 2008
Had they considered that a police officer of the same race may just make the offender less likely to do something stupid enough to warrant tazering?
WillB
1 / 5 (1) Sep 10, 2008
I wish I would get payed for doing BS reports like this. Are they trying to make a case to ban tasers? I bet there is a correlation to race and gender with gun and baton use. Those should be banned too.

Mauricio
not rated yet Sep 10, 2008
I would not expect anything else from texas... or from the south, or actually from the whole usa. Can we find the same data from other countries that have black population and where the police use tasers, I bet we will not, only in usa...

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.