Police-community relations in a majority-black city

Ronald Weitzer*, Steven A. Tuch, Wesley G. Skogan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


Minority racial and ethnic groups often view themselves as targets of abusive treatment at the hands of the police. Although racial variation in public assessments of the police in the United States has been amply documented in past research, less research has explored the sources of these differences at the intersection of demographic, interactional, and ecological levels. This article examines the role of each factor in shaping citizens' perceptions of police misconduct, racial differences in these perceptions, and the reasons underlying them. The locus of the study is also important. Most research on police-community relations has been conducted in cities whose populations and police departments are majority White in composition, despite the growing number of minority-White cities. The present study draws on data from residents of a majority-Black city with a majority-Black police department: Washington, DC. The findings contribute to our understanding of policing in such underresearched cities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)398-428
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • Police misconduct
  • Public opinion
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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