Higher income level linked to police use of force against black women

Higher income level linked to police use of force against black women
Credit: Washington University in St. Louis

Black women with higher incomes are more likely to experience a forceful police interaction during a street stop, finds a new study from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

"We found that the likelihood of exposure to each type of use of force was significantly greater for black females with incomes over $50,000," said Robert Motley Jr., doctoral student and co-author of the study "Police Use of Force by Ethnicity, Sex, and Socioeconomic Class," published Jan. 31 in the Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research.

For black men, the income barometer went the opposite direction: The researchers found that having an income under $20,000 and between $20,000-$49,000 significantly increased their risk for exposure during a stop of some type of police force: police shouting, cursing or threatening arrest.

The study, co-authored with Sean Joe, the Benjamin E. Youngdahl Professor of Social Development at the Brown School, examines self-reported accounts of exposure to and perceptions of police use of force among black and white ethnic groups by sex and income level.

Motley Jr. and Joe analyzed data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics 2011 Police–Public Contact Survey, a measure administered to a nationally representative sample of U.S. residents. Participants were asked a series of questions about their most recent contact with police during a 12-month period. The analyses were limited to black and white participants whose most recent involuntary contact with police included a street stop.

The study revealed that the association of sex with police use of force varied by income status for both black and white residents.

"This finding supports prior research suggesting that police use of force among black residents, particularly black males, is a phenomenon primarily expressed in predominantly black low-income urban communities," said Motley Jr., lab manager for Joe's Race and Opportunity Lab in the Center for Social Development.

But for black women, the data went in a different direction: the higher the income, the significantly greater the risk.

"This suggests that income may be more of a determinant for exposure to police use of force for this group," he said.

For white residents, being male, having an income under $20,000, or being age 35 or older significantly increased the risk for exposure to police use of during a street stop.

The statistics showed that black males accounted for 77 percent of the street stops in the survey, compared to 23 percent for —and only 8 percent overall reported an of $50,000 or more. The mean age for blacks in the study was 28.8 years.

Meanwhile, for whites in the survey, men accounted for 62 percent of the street stops, compared to 38 percent for woman—and 34 percent overall reported incomes of $50,000 or more. The mean age for whites: 34.6 years.


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More information: Robert O. Motley et al. Police Use of Force by Ethnicity, Sex, and Socioeconomic Class, Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research (2018). DOI: 10.1086/696355
Citation: Higher income level linked to police use of force against black women (2018, February 19) retrieved 19 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-higher-income-linked-police-black.html
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Feb 19, 2018
Humm are they trying to say that highly paid educated black women have a bad attitude when it comes to authority figures.

Feb 19, 2018
Seems likely that the total number of black women making over $50K in this survey was too small to generate a significant result.

23% are women. 8% make over 50K. So that's about 2% of the total in the survey. Let's say there are 1000 in the survey (which I doubt). That's only 20 women.

Feb 19, 2018
Them uppity black women! Driving better cars than the cops can afford. How dare they!

Feb 19, 2018
Well no matter what your color if you get "uppity" when stopped by a cop you will be subject to increased scrutiny. There is an old rock&roll song that teaches everyone everything that they need to know. It's called "I fought the law and the law won". Just remember that the next time you are stopped. If you are respectful the odds are that you will even catch a break.

Feb 19, 2018
What is amazing to me is the fact that the very same people who think that a stronger government laws are the solution to equality and the environment problems think that the people that enforce governmental laws are corrupt racists. Thus we want more laws just don't enforce them. The more liberal the city the more that the people who enforce the laws are hated.

Feb 19, 2018
The Australian government apologised to the indigenous people for the wrongs of the government in the past, the Canadian government the same, the American government hardly even acknowledge the wrongs done to the their indigenous people and even less so to the enslavement of formerly free African people...it's an attitude thing...it trickles all the way down...

Feb 20, 2018
MR1, sorry to burst your cocoon of self-satisfaction.

My wife like to drive fast. She stopped street racing only when I put my foot down. Yeaah, I know, amazing! A man giving good advice to a woman. What a gander-bender.

Every single time she got stopped? The cops would walk up expecting some muscle-headed punk and find a mature, tall, blonde woman. Giving them grief for interrupting her fun. Her great-gramps built half the city before his son gambled it away. But they were still influential.

My Honey even got out of a traffic camera ticket. The photo had her face on behind the wheel. She was the only blonde cutie driving a souped-up muscle car in the county. At the unofficial hearing I sat there gape-jaw listening to her berate the department for entrapment (it helps cover the PD budget.) They apologized and the records were wiped. And as we walked out I just shook my head in amazement.

You bigots can pretend but the race is to the palest.

Feb 20, 2018
RRW why was it race???

You just admitted that she has a lot of political influence.

Feb 21, 2018
MR166, Are you going to contend that if my wife had been of the colored persuasion, that she would not have been jailed or shot?

Cause, wasn't that one of the key points to the study in this article? That Black women with 'influential' professions and executive positions are treated as criminals for driving black.

I'm curious, does it bother you that they are probably driving better cars and earning higher salaries than you?

Feb 21, 2018
"I'm curious, does it bother you that they are probably driving better cars and earning higher salaries than you?"

Not in the slightest. I admire success and all people who achieve it.

"That Black women with 'influential' professions and executive positions are treated as criminals for driving black."

What are these cops psychics? Somehow they can tell just from looking at a person that they are high paid influential professionals? There is no chance that certain people tend to mouth off more than other eh?

Feb 21, 2018
Also, I would be willing to bet that in 90% of the cases there was a lot more than mouthing off happening. I guarantee that these so called professionals refused to physically follow direct orders and in some cases were resisting arrest.

Feb 21, 2018
This is all similar to the "Hands Up Don't Shoot" lie. So called witnesses that did not even view the event were claiming that the police murdered the suspect. It is pretty hard to believe the veracity of the truly innocent civilians when 99% of the time the police version of the events are closer to the truth than the witnesses.

Feb 21, 2018
Oh yea the US is so brutal ! I just love it when dumb liberal students try to get away with the same stuff in a foreign country that they get away with here. Then everybody is supposed to cry when they get 20 years in jail.

Feb 21, 2018
Keep going, MR166, I'm sure you have another red herring in you. Maybe you'll even post something about the actual issue eventually.

Feb 22, 2018
NR166m you contend that yourself and police officers are omniscient and competent to judge that black women (or anyone else, for that matter) is automatically guilty of criminal behavior?

Because? You said so?

In that case, why even bother with courts or evidence or lawyers? And certainly you can do away with that pesky Constitution and Civil Rights.

Those taxpayers, you despise, must be obedient and submissive to any and every authority figure who accosts them.

Tell me, this will just be between the two of us. How much does the trumplestiltskin pay you to whip his fat ass?

I'll bet you look real cute all dressed up in your dominatrix vinyl dress and calf-high spike-heeled boots!

What? You are hypocrite enough to object to my assumptions about your behavior by objectifying you?

You don't like having your own steershit thrown back into your face? Cry me a river.

At least I am not threatening you with abuse of authority and violent confrontation.

Feb 22, 2018
"NR166m you contend that yourself and police officers are omniscient and competent to judge that black women (or anyone else, for that matter) is automatically guilty of criminal behavior? "

Please show me where I said that.

I am saying that 99% of the time the police do a damn good job.

But I would be in favor of the voters of a neighborhood having the ability of designating certain blocks police free zones.

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