Predicting citizen race in allegations of misconduct against the police

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Official complaints that have been filed with the internal affairs office of a large police department in the Southeast were examined over a three-year period. Using logistic regression, three areas were used to predict the race of the citizen filing the complaint: characteristics of the officer (age, tenure, race, and gender); characteristics of the complaint (initiation circumstance, complaint type, and number of officers at the scene); and reaction of the department (substantiation rate and sanctions). A number of the variables were found to be significant predictors of citizen race, including officer age and tenure, complaint type and initiation, number of officers at the scene, and substantiation of the complaint. The relationship between substantiation and citizen race was found to be spurious; when controlling for complaint type, the relationship was no longer significant.

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Journal of Criminal Justice, v. 26, issue 2, p. 87-97