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Police Misconduct, Media Coverage, and Public Perceptions of Racial Profiling: An Experiment

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Volume: 27 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2010 Pages: 52-76
Lisa Graziano; Amie Schuck; Christine Martin
Date Published
February 2010
25 pages
The purpose of this study was: (1) to assess the impact of an incident of racial profiling on residents' attitudes about profiling; and (2) to examine the effects of exposure to a video clip of deliberation about the incident on residents' beliefs about the causes of profiling.
All residents, White and minority, were less likely to believe that Chicago police officers engaged in profiling after the incident. These findings suggest that attitudes about the prevalence of racial profiling are susceptible to the manner in which the media construct incidents of police misconduct. Exposure to the video clip was not related to differences in residents' beliefs about the causes of profiling, but was related to differences in perceptions of the dangerousness of traffic stops. The findings highlight the need for more research on how media constructions of police misconduct influence attitudes about profiling and impact community-police relations. Tables, figures, and references (Published Abstract)