Racial Profiling: Police Violence

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The United States has reported an increase in the number of violent crimes in several cities in the last year. Some have labeled de-policing as the blame which is referred o as the Ferguson effect. The Ferguson effect derives its name from the deadly police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson which triggered mass protest from the public and negative international attention from the media towards police.

The Ferguson incident was then followed by a string of other much-publicized police-involved deaths of unnamed African American in cities such as North Charleston and Baltimore. The list includes Walter Scott, Eric Garner, Freddie gray and Michael Brown in Ferguson. In 2015 distrust and anger shook Baltimore after the death of Freddie gray which was taken by most as excessive force against members of the African American community which led to the indictment of six police officers in the city. Reports from recent news have indicated that Baltimore police have begun stepping away from some neighborhoods leading to an increase in crime rates (Martinez, 2015, May 26). The events then place the police and community race relations at the middle of public policy debates once more compared to the discussions that arose back in the 1990s over the beating of Rodney King (Brunson, & Gau, 2014).

The hypothesis of Ferguson effect implies that police officers are aware of the adverse publicity around their occupation, they understand their actions could be documented by the public at any time and thus become less than disposed to do their jobs as a method of avoiding being accused of racial profiling or using excessive force. In turn, de-policing leads to high levels of crime.

Review of literature

The Ferguson effect at its time has only been supported by unclear evidence and guesswork nonetheless the Ferguson effect on crime rats offers an empirical question which requires study and scrutiny. Ferguson effect on the diversity of cultures also needs a look into, for one it’s clear that the de-policing began after a vast number of African Americans were killed brutally by police (Brunson, & Gau, 2014). The increase in crime rates is an obvious consequence of the Ferguson effect and have become so widespread that officers are less likely to enforce laws regarding rape, murder, and robbery. The lack of data to date about the effect does not mean it isn’t real. The Ferguson effect argument is mainly being pushed by social media and by policy advocates, and it is now seen as an important issue. Empirical research is a necessary significant step where the Ferguson effect presets a testable hypothesis of, ‘Ferguson effect is relevant on the study of police inhumanity towards the African American people and the negative publicity surrounding law execution.’ this is linked with police being less prepared to do their daily obligations. The supposed outcome is an alienated race and amplified law-breaking degrees.

There have been real increases in violence in Maryland, Baltimore and St. Louis in areas that are highly populated by the African Americans. The controversial nature of usage of force by the police and the connected problem of legitimacy have emerged once more. There has been the death of minority citizens at the hands of police. The incidents have propelled American police into the public view further discussions and debates among professionals in the justice system, advocates of civil rights, and scholars on topics like the use of excessive force by the police, minority representation, training and body-worn cameras by the police (Morrow, 2015). Illinois governor analyzing the violence surmised that the nation is moving towards two societies, for the black and another for the white. He drew his inference from comparing recent crime and violence that erupted in many urban cities in the 1960s (Morrow, 2015). A commission led by the governor cited inequality in matters of housing, employment and social services and injustices at the hands of police as the primary cause of the riots.

The commission as well cited poor police conduct, hostile police to community relationships especially with minority groups, inadequate training, and supervision and insufficient minority representation in law implementation (Morrow, 2015). The impacts indicated little progress had been made over the last decades regarding police violence and community-police relations. Most of the studies that have looked into this association find that neighborhood characteristics indeed affect the way police reform their profession (Terrill, & Reisig, 2003).).

Terrill and Reisig (2003) were able to find that police officers utilize more force on suspects in high crime neighborhoods and areas with a higher degree focused disadvantage. The relationship persisted after controlling for police and suspect characteristics and also a situational factor. Police represent the government right to use force and coercion to ensure certain behaviors from citizens, and they enjoy this right exclusively (Zimring, (2015, June 7).). Nevertheless, the delegation of the right to make usage of force is only acceptable when the authority is lawful and done legitimately. The Ferguson effect is a mere consequence of the disregard police usage of force on innocent people and unarmed minority citizens (Lee, Jang, Yun, Lim, & Tushaus, 2010).

The public surrenders its right to use force and gives it to the police and protect each member of the community against the usage of force by other members of the public. Though the usage of force by police is necessary to make sure officer and citizen safety and to foster law compliance, usage of force incidents are sure to elicit strong public sentiments (Zimring, 2015, June 7). Use of excessive force can have far-reaching consequences of the views of citizens on police legitimacy. Due to the controversial nature of the topic police usage of force has been studied over the last four decades.

The coverage of the media, public demonstration and attention from political departments regarding police racial profiling and usage of force has led to a conclusion that a non-trivial section of the citizens need transformation. Many Americans have been challenging the validity of regulation execution. The happenings are not specific to the United States as similar scenes concerning police activities have led to widespread negativity and public demonstration in Israel, Australia, and England all brutality against the black race in those nations. The ease in which citizens use their mobile phones to video tape the police activities and the widespread nature of social media has made it easy to scrutinize action of the police. As an outcome, public deaths at police hands has caused widespread negative attention where some contend it is triggering the police to move away from their obligations to evade being blamed for racial profiling or using excessive force. A piece from CNN claims that the backing off by the police led to the surged increase in violent crimes (Martinez, 2015).

The Ferguson effect has popped up in theoretical spheres, for instance, MacDonald (2015) wrote a piece in which she scrutinized municipalities in America and contended that vast crime rate rises were symptoms of an imminent national surge of criminality. The article also pinpointed the Ferguson effect as the cause. We see that scholars are not on board with the Fergusons effect theory and as Rosenfeld (2015) highlights. Rosenfeld (2015), made a report whose discussion is a focus on Fergusson effect relationship with heightened crime rates. This kind of effect requires accurate observation to obtain dependable and ample proof. Empirical scrutiny is desired instead of academic battles on social media. Attention will need to be placed on several issues such as the consideration of methods of operationalizing the effect, Rosenfeld applied this approach, and it can be done by exploring the patterns of crime earlier and afterwards the actions like the passing of Michael in Ferguson. This strategy can examine average changes in the crime rates.

It can then be argued that based on individual discernments of the media reports revolving around law enforcement could diminish police officer’s morale in their work. Some police might view it as not a win-win situation, operationalizing the Ferguson effect can be possible through police reviews by enquiring the level to which they are experiencing the adverse publicity and how it has affected their enthusiasm. Second, it can be considered the likelihood that the effect can manifest itself in capacities of policing which can instantaneously be connected with conventional pointers like the rate of crime. In essence, partnership within communities is critical to effective policing programs.

The level to which police are prepared to work with communities, therefore, has a significant relationship with advantageous results for the public. Outcomes include increased community pride, reduced fear among members and lower rates of crime. The officer who feels demotivated to-do their job can be executed to be not as much of prepared to participate in partnership with community members (Bradford, Quinton, Myhill, & Porter, 2014). Scholar’s interest in the Ferguson effect has centered on crime rates and racial profiling. The study aims to provide evidence regarding the supposed Ferguson effect and its effect on diversity and to no longer rely on data from social media platforms.


The Ferguson effect still has miles to go to become accepted in literature as most of its tags have been on media and social platforms. It derived its name from an incident in Ferguson where police officer killed a young man. It, however, has raised significant debates from the political, social and academic circles. The research done to approve it shows that it cannot be phased out as not being real as its effects are clear. It has led to de-policing where the police officers are no longer interested in performing their jobs as before. The police officers are afraid of being accused of using crude force which could eventually lead to their indictment. A lot of them have become unmotivated to work leading to an increase in the level of crime in several United States cities where racial profiling is key in police brutality. The minority groups seem to face more oppression from the police and as seen the murders leading to public unrests were majorly of young unarmed African Americans.

The Ferguson effect is related to multiculturalism as it is been felt mainly in African American major populous regions. The way to solve emerging crises is to retrain the police on the best way to handle suspected citizens. No one is supposed to receive more police wrath because of their race. The police department in line with the national government should have open relationships with communities also to ensure crime rates do not sire beyond the norm. A national wave of crime without police officers leads to an unstable nation.


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Racial Profiling: Police Violence. (2022, Jan 31). Retrieved February 22, 2024 , from

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