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Centering race in procedural justice theory: structural racism and the under- and over-policing of Black communities

Jackson, Jonathan ORCID: 0000-0003-2426-2219, McKay, Tasseli, Cheliotis, Leonidas, Bradford, Ben, Fine, Adam and Trinkner, Rick (2022) Centering race in procedural justice theory: structural racism and the under- and over-policing of Black communities. Law and Human Behavior. ISSN 0147-7307 (In Press)

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Objectives: We assess the factors that legitimated the police in the United States at an important moment of history, just after the police killing of George Floyd in 2020. We present one way of incorporating perceptions of systemic racism into a procedural justice theory account of police legitimacy. Hypotheses: (1) Perceptions of police procedural justice, distributive justice and bounded authority are important to the legitimation of the police. (2) Perceptions of the under- and over-policing of Black communities also matter to the delegitimation of the institution, especially for people who identify with the Black Lives Matter movement. Method: A cross-sectional quota sample survey of 1,500 US residents was conducted in June 2020. Data were analysed using confirmatory factor analysis, structural equation modelling, and latent moderated structural equation modelling. Results: People who viewed the police as legitimate also tended to believe that police generally treat people with respect and dignity, make decisions in unbiased ways, fairly allocate their finite resources across groups in society, and respect the limits of their rightful authority. Moreover, people who believed that Black communities were under-policed and over-policed also tended to question the legitimacy of the police , especially if they identified with the Black Lives Matter movement. These results held among Black and White study participants alike. Conclusions: At least at that moment, systemic racism in policing may have delegitimated the institution in a way that transcends the factors that procedural justice theory focuses on, such as procedural justice. This was especially so for those who identified with a social movement that was extremely high-profile in 2020.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s).
Divisions: Methodology
Social Policy
Subjects: K Law
H Social Sciences
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2023 09:48
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 17:26

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