This study explored factors that are associated with public perceptions of police bias and whether perceptions of racial discrimination affect relationships between race/ethnicity and perceptions of police bias.
The authors used a diverse sample of residents living in Northern California to study factors that are associated with public perceptions of police bias and investigated whether perceptions of racial discrimination mediate the relationships between race/ethnicity and perceptions of police bias. The sampling frame of the study was constructed through two stages. First, the frame included 212 census tracts in the study setting that comprise the study population. The authors stratified the census tracts by using demographic information from the most recent American Community Survey. The authors also used a multi-mode address-based design in which a household adult was invited through mail to participate in a web-based survey. The authors found that racial/ethnic minorities (i.e., Latino, African American and Asian respondents) were more likely to experience racism and report police as biased than White residents. Racial and ethnic disparities in assessments of police bias, however, disappeared when controlling for direct and indirect experiences of racism, suggesting that experiences with racism are key factors explaining variations in perception of police bias across racial/ethnic groups.
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