Black Lives Matter's Effect on Police Lethal Use-of-Force
41 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2021
Date Written: January 15, 2021
Has Black Lives Matter influenced police lethal use-of-force? A difference-in-differences design finds census places with Black Lives Matter protests experience a 15% to 20% decrease in police homicides over the ensuing five years, around 300 fewer deaths. The gap in lethal use-of-force between places with and without protests widens over these subsequent years and is most prominent when protests are large or frequent. This result holds for alternative specifications, estimators, police homicide datasets, and population screens; however, it does not hold if lethal use-of-force is normalized by violent crime or arrests. Protests also influence local police agencies, which may explain the reduction. Agencies with local protests become more likely to obtain body-cameras, expand community policing, receive a larger operating budget, and reduce the number of property crime-related arrests, but forego some black officer employment and college education requirements.
Keywords: Black Lives Matter, Police, Law and Economics, Police Homicides, Lethal Use-of-force, Law Enforcement
JEL Classification: K42, Z13, D74
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation