The Fatal Interactions with Police Study (FIPS) database includes details on about 1,700 fatal interactions with police that occurred in jurisdictions across the United States during a 20-month time period from May 2013 to January 2015.
Three individual studies based on the data will be released in January, March and April 2018. The project includes contributions from public health and biostatistics experts at hospitals and universities, including Washington University in St. Louis, Saint Louis University, New York University and Harvard University.
Study 1: Race, Gender, and the Context of Unarmed Fatal Interactions with Police
In the post-Ferguson era, public opinion remains divided about the ways that race and gender intersect in relation to law enforcement’s use of lethal force. Addressing this tension within research, we explored race-gender differences in the likelihood of being killed while unarmed. More specifically, we identified 1,762 fatal interactions with police that occurred over a 20-month time period, and merged them with the nationally representative Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics survey, Uniform Crime Reports data, and census characteristics. Using hierarchical linear models, we find the odds that black Americans will be killed by police when unarmed are nearly 7 to 1—more than double the odds found in research to date—and due primarily to the unarmed status of black women.
Study 2: Why Neighborhoods Matter in Deaths by Legal Intervention: Examining Fatal Interactions between Police and Men of Color
This article addresses the concern that death by legal intervention is an outcome stratified by race and ethnicity, disproportionately experienced by boys and men of color, and predicated on the location in which law enforcement encounters them. Using multi-level statistical methods to analyze data from multiple federal agencies and online databases of police homicides, this study questions whether geospatial and agency characteristics are related to the odds that males of color will have a fatal interaction with police (FIP). There are several noteworthy findings. First, income inequality within the areas in which the FIP occurred is related to increased relative odds that males of color, and Hispanic males more specifically, will be killed by police. Second, low levels of racial segregation appeared to dramatically reduce the odds of a FIP for black males while higher levels of segregation increased the odds for Hispanic males. Third, Hispanic males were over 2.6 times as likely as others to be killed by officers from agencies with relatively higher percentages of Hispanic officers. We conclude the study with a discussion of study implications for research and policy.
Study 3: Fatal Youth Encounters with Police: Assessing Race, Geospatial and Institutional Mechanisms
This analysis addresses investigates fatal youth encounters with police by estimating the odds that individuals under the age of 25 will have a fatal interaction with police using hierarchical linear modeling and data from the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) survey, collected by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and Census characteristics. We find that the agency odds of killing someone under the age of 25 is highest for Hispanics at a ratio of 4 to 1, and significant for African Americans at a ratio of 3 to 1, in comparison to white Americans, after including geospatial characteristics, and measures of agency social cohesion, accountability, and community engagement.
Study 3 is scheduled to be released in September 2018.