Examining Police Use of Force: The Breakdown of an Authority Maintenance Ritual

Geoffrey Alpert, University of South Carolina
Roger Dunham, University of Miami
John McDonald, University of South Columbia, Columbia

The purpose of this paper is to begin to develop a micro-level theory of police-citizen interactions by applying the concept of authority maintenance to a data set on police use of force from the Miami-Dade Police Department. Contrary to the majority of research on police use of force which has focused on attitudes, personality and demographic characteristics held or possessed by police officers and the suspects, the present approach focuses on the interactive process between and among the actors.

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Updated 05/20/2006