22.1 C
Friday, June 9, 2023
HomeScienceResearch: George Floyd's killing by police linked to temporary increase in firearm...

Research: George Floyd’s killing by police linked to temporary increase in firearm assaults against US law enforcement officers


Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

The killing of George Floyd by police sparked protests across the country in the summer of 2020 and revived allegations that public outrage over police killings perpetuates a “vicious war on cops”. In a new study, researchers assess whether and how patterns of gun assault on police officers in the United States were affected by the police killing of Floyd.

The study found that Floyd’s death was associated with a three-week rise in gun assaults on police, after which the trend in such assaults decreased to levels slightly higher than those predicted by the pre-Floyd data. The researchers strongly caution, however, that this spike is not evidence of “war” and argue that this rhetoric is exacerbating existing tensions between the police and the public.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO), and the University of Utah. appears in Criminology.

“The killing of George Floyd by police in May 2020 sparked what experts describe as the largest social movement in history,” the authors write. “Floyd’s murder also coincided with a once-in-a-century pandemic that has sharply transformed the behavior of individuals and social institutions.” The authors note that this combination of changes presents significant challenges for assessing whether Floyd’s killing by police has a significant impact on anti-police violence.

In their study, Sierra Arevalo and colleagues used data from the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), which captures fatal and non-fatal gun assaults on police across the United States, from January 2014 through December 2020. They analyzed gun assault data in the months leading up to the killing of Floyd (before and after the onset of COVID-19) to isolate the impact of homicide on police gun assaults. They asked: Has the police killing of Floyd changed the pace of gun attacks on police across the United States?

The study found that Floyd’s death was linked to a nearly three-week rise in gun attacks on US police officers that revealed a significant increase in retaliatory violence. This increase soon tapered off to levels slightly higher than would have been expected in the absence of Floyd’s death. Overall, Floyd’s killing led to approximately 37 additional gun attacks on police between May 25, 2020, and December 31, 2020, according to the study. It was estimated that approximately 26 additional gun attacks took place in the three weeks immediately following Floyd’s death.

Among the study’s limitations, the authors note that the GVA data is limited in that it excludes less harmful but more common minor assaults against police, which prevents these findings from being generalizable to all forms of police violence. Additionally, the study couldn’t rule out the possibility that some of the increase in gun assaults related to Floyd’s killing was driven by changes in police behavior and their perceptions of the public. For example, indiscriminate and overly violent police tactics have been documented at Floyd protests across the country, which could have made officers more likely to be assaulted.

However, the authors stress that this increase must be interpreted in the appropriate context. “While our results show a significant short-term increase in gun attacks on police after the killing of George Floyd, the shooting of a police officer remains a statistically rare event.” In this light, the authors argue that the popular discourse about the “war on cops” is not supported by the available data.

In addition to being used to discredit critics of the police, obstruct police reform, and entrench the police force, the “war on cops” rhetoric may also be implicated in current recruitment and retention difficulties reported by departments across the United States. The authors noted, “By lowering departmental staffing levels, the war on police rhetoric may reduce police effectiveness and response time in ways that, ironically, reduce officer safety.”

Rather than continuing to use this type of language, the authors suggest focusing on strategies that can simultaneously improve community and officer safety.

“In light of our findings, rather than continue to amplify unsupported notions of a ‘war on cops’, police executives and policy makers who wish to reduce violence should implement strategies to reduce gun violence through a combination of intervention On enforcement and non-enforcement,” write the authors. “To do otherwise is to double down on political rhetoric rather than investing in evidence-based solutions that can enhance public safety and police safety.”

more information:
Michael Sierra – Arevalo and Others, “The War on Cops,” Revenge Violence, and the Killing of George Floyd*, Criminology (2023). DOI: 10.1111/1745-9125.12334

Provided by the American Criminological Society

the quote: Study: Police Killing of George Floyd Linked to Short-Term Rise in Firearm Assaults on US Police Officers (2023, May 1), Retrieved May 1, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-05-police-george floyd-short-term-spike.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.

The author of what'snew2day.com is dedicated to keeping you up-to-date on the latest news and information.

Latest stories