The Police Use of Force in Six Cities: Officers, Suspects and Situations Within the Continuum Perspective

Charles Crawford, Western Michigan University

The use of force by police officers is one of the most controversial and misunderstood actions in criminal justice. When deadly force is used there are often tragic and devastating consequences to the community and police department. There are numerous recent examples such as the 1999 shooting of unarmed West African immigrant Amadou Diallo, and the 2001 shooting of an unarmed African American suspect Timothy Thomas that sparked a riot and state of emergency in Cincinnati to name two.

This research will apply a logistic regression analysis to examine the police use of force in 7,512 adult arrest in six cities in the United States, and determine which variables- officer, suspect or situational are the strongest predictors of the choice to use force, or its escalation within the continuum perspective.

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Updated 05/20/2006