Linguistic analysis of body-cam footage shows police bias against black people

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The first major US study of body-cam footage concluded that police, at least in Oakland, California, showed more respect to white people than to black people.

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The study from Stanford University researchers analyzed the transcribed text from 981 traffic stops caught on body cams by 245 Oakland Police Department officers in 2014. White people pulled over were more likely to be called “ma’am” or “sir,” and they were more likely to hear the words “please” and “thank you” from police officers. Black people, however, didn’t get as much respect, and they were more likely to be called by their first names and even “my man.”

“Indeed, we find that white community members are 57 percent more likely to hear an officer say one of the most respectful utterances in our dataset, whereas black community members are 61 percent more likely to hear an officer say one of the least respectful utterances in our dataset,” according to the study. (PDF) The results held constant no matter the race of the officer, the study said.

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Ars Technica

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