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Publication Police Use of Nonfatal Force, 2002–11

Elizabeth Davis, Shelley Hyland, Ph.D., Lynn Langton, Ph.D., BJS Statisticians

November 14, 2015    NCJ 249216

Presents data on the threat or use of nonfatal force by police against white, black, and Hispanic residents during police contact. This report describes the characteristics of the contact, the type of force threatened or used, and the perceptions that force was excessive or the police behaved properly during the contact. It also examines trends in the threat or use of force and the relationship between officer and driver race and Hispanic origin in traffic stops involving the threat or use of force. Data are from the 2002, 2005, 2008, and 2011 PolicePublic Contact Surveys, which were administered as supplements to the National Crime Victimization Survey.

Highlights:

  • Across the four PPCS data collections from 2002-11, blacks (3.5%) were more likely to experience nonfatal force during their most recent contact with police than whites (1.4%) and Hispanics (2.1%).
  • A greater percentage of persons who experienced the use of force (44.1%) had two or more contacts with police than those who did not experience force (27.5%).
  • Blacks (13.7%) were at least slightly more likely to experience nonfatal force than whites (6.9%) and Hispanics (5.9%) during street stops.
  • Of those who experienced force during their most recent contact, approximately three-quarters described the verbal (71.4%) or physical (75.0%) force as excessive.
  • Of those who experienced force during their most recent contact, 86.7% did not believe the police behaved properly.

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