- The Washington Times
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

In the most sweeping study of its kind, police were more reluctant to shoot black suspects than their white counterparts, contradicting the widely accepted “racist cop” narrative driving movements such as Black Lives Matter.

Instead, the Washington State University research, which was conducted before the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, lends support to previous studies pointing to a “reverse racism” phenomenon in policing.

“We need to move beyond the post-Ferguson atmosphere where all use of force against a racial/ethnic minority person is considered biased and unreasonable until proven otherwise,” concluded the study, published in the May edition of the academic journal Criminology & Public Policy.

The study, “The Reverse Racism Effect,” examined the behaviors of 80 police officers from Spokane, Washington, the largest sample size of its kind using state-of-the-art, life-size video simulators with actors posing as suspects.

The officers were given real handguns rigged to shoot lasers instead of bullets and wore their on-duty uniforms to create a more realistic environment.

Officers took “significantly longer” — 200 milliseconds on average — in deadly force scenarios to shoot armed black suspects than armed white suspects, controlling for variables such as “demeanor, language, dress, distance from participant, movement, location, sound and light levels.”

The WSU study concludes that fear of the “social and legal consequences” is the most likely explanation for the officers’ hesitation when confronted with black suspects. Click HERE to read the full report.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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