Disproportionate use of lethal force in policing is associated with regional racial biases of residents
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Description: Due to a lack of data, the demographic and psychological factors associated with lethal force by police officers has remained insufficiently explored. We develop the first predictive models of lethal force by integrating crowd-sourced and fact-checked lethal force databases with regional demographics and measures of geolocated implicit and explicit racial biases collected from 2,156,053 residents across the United States. Results indicate that only the implicit racial prejudices and stereotypes of White residents, beyond major demographic covariates, are associated with disproportionately more use of lethal force with Blacks relative to regional base rates of Blacks in the population. Thus, the current work provides the first macro-psychological statistical models of lethal force, indicating that the context in which police officers work is significantly associated with disproportionate use of lethal force.