Policing the Police: Conflict Theory and Police Violence in a Racialized Society
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This paper tests models of coercive social control that are theoretically grounded in general group conflict theory and specific minority threat hypotheses. These theories assert that higher levels of minority presence and overall economic inequality will predict higher levels of social control even when other environmental factors (including crime rates) are held constant. The use of pooled time series cross-sectional data allows for the first longitudinal analysis of police homicides as a social control outcome, which produces mixed findings on racial and economic threats. As in previous research, purely economic conflict predictions find little support while racial threat hypotheses are at least partially substantiated. As part of this same analysis, police homicides and police force size are compared based on their empirical and theoretical strengths as social control outcome variables. This ultimately raises important challenges to the continued use of the police homicide variable in future conflict and minority threat research.
- Sociology