The Impact of Black Lives Matter Mobilization on Police Departments’ Policies to Reduce Racial Inequality

Do Black Lives Matter mobilization and policing policy changes reduce police killings of Black youth?

Police violence in the U.S. disproportionately affects Black youth, and police use of force is a leading cause of death for young men. Since the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in 2014, Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists have mobilized to protest police violence and demand policy change. While evidence suggests mobilization can spur local governments to adopt police reforms, which may in turn reduce police-caused deaths, research is needed to understand the extent of police reforms and their effectiveness in reducing police-caused deaths among youth of color. This mixed-methods study examines the relationship between local BLM mobilization, police reform, and police-caused deaths since 2010. Analyses will focus on eleven different reforms that vary in the extent to which they remove power from police, including policies that hold officers accountable, reduce police officer discretion, and minimize police-civilian encounters. Findings will potentially inform movement organizers, policymakers, and police departments who seek to address the most pernicious outcomes of racially biased policing.

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