A new study by Indiana University (IU) shows that black police officers are more disciplined on allegations of misconduct than their white employees.
The study, titled "The Race Discipline Gap: A Warning About Archival Measures For Behavioral Disorders," was conducted by six IU professors: Sheri Walter, Eric Gonzalez-Mulé, Cristiano Guarana, Ernest O'Boyle Jr., Chris Berry and Tim Baldwin.
The group examined racial differences in police discipline in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. The allegations of misconduct in the study ranged from physical assault or violence to verbal attacks and “poor service”.
"We found a consistent pattern of racial differences in the formal recording of disciplinary measures in three different major metropolitan areas: Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles," wrote the group of six management professors at Indiana University. "Our results showed that black officers were more likely to register cases of wrongdoing, although there was no difference between black and white officers in the number of allegations made against them."
Black police officers had to face millions of black Americans who protested against them amid the Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police movements. Many black officers agree with the demands against police brutality and institutional racism, but are still labeled as traitors and swine. This study suggests that they are also treated unfairly by work.
The professors used archival data from the Citizens Police Data Project, which included information collected by the Chicago Police Department from 2001 to 2008 and 2011 to 2015, and administrative records from the Philadelphia Police Department from 1991 to 1998. The group also used data from the Los Angeles City Analysis Group in 2003 and 2004 to determine if there were racial differences in the number of allegations made against officials.
The group found that black officers in Chicago were 105% more disciplined than white officers, and in Philadelphia black officers were 48% more likely to be disciplined than white officers. The study also found that despite increased discipline for misconduct, black police officers no longer had more misconduct allegations and were less likely to have serious misconduct allegations.
"Similar to the problems of criminal justice and the education system, where racial differences in punishment are well documented, organizations face a difficult challenge to detect and enforce wrongdoing," the researchers wrote. "Even if organizations adopt seemingly objective anti-malpractice policies, it is still possible that certain groups could be disproportionately accused of malpractice and / or discipline."