Racial Differences in Hospital Evaluation After the Use of Force by Police: a Tale of Two Cities

Stuart Lewis, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Objective: To determine whether racial or sex bias or the number of officers influences the chances of reported injury or hospital evaluation after the use of less than lethal force by law enforcement. Methods: Retrospective cohort study of 12,326 incidents of less than lethal force in Indianapolis, Indiana (2014–2018), and Wichita, Kansas (2008–2018). Results: Injuries to non-White persons are under-reported (Indianapolis Pr ≤ 0.003; Wichita Pr ≤ 0.000) and non-White persons are less likely to be referred for hospital evaluation after the use of force (Indianapolis OR 0.57, CI 0.45–0.72, Wichita OR 0.66, CI 0.48–0.92). In Indianapolis, the presence of more than one officer significantly reduced the odds of hospitalization after both injury and serious injury (OR 0.48, CI 0.36–0.64 for injury, OR 0.22, CI 0.12–0.39 for serious injury). For both cities, an estimated 25% more non-White persons who were subject to the use of force should have been evaluated in a hospital than actually were. Conclusions: Significant racial disparities exist in the reporting of injuries and in the access to care after the use of force by law enforcement. Implications: Policies, procedures, and training need to be amended to correct the disparities in access to care after the use of force. Access to sequestered law enforcement data is imperative to assess the extent of these disparities nationwide.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
    DOIs
    StateAccepted/In press - 2020

    Keywords

    • Access to care
    • Health disparities
    • Policing
    • Use of force

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Health(social science)
    • Anthropology
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Health Policy
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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