Published — April 30, 2015 Updated — July 8, 2016 at 10:52 am ET

Police whiter than those they serve



July 8, 2016: This story has been updated.

The fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota, and the killings of five police officers in Dallas, have sparked renewed debate over the incendiary issue of law enforcement and race. Both Sterling and Castile were African-American. In 1968, a national commission appointed to examine the roots of urban riots found that in U.S. regions “police have come to symbolize white power, white racism and white repression.” The Kerner Commission urged jurisdictions to recruit more black police officers and assure fair promotion opportunities for them.

Last year, to measure progress toward diversity, the Center for Public Integrity analyzed Census Bureau statistics to compare the demographics of the most populous 50 cities against the ethnic makeup of people there who said they worked in policing. That chart has now been expanded to include the nation’s 100 most populated cities. It’s also been reconfigured to rank jurisdictions by how disproportionate the ethnic divide is between residents overall and people who work in policing. Baton Rouge is among cities showing a stark divide on race; the record in Dallas is better. The Minnesota shooting occurred in a jurisdiction too small to analyze using Census data.

Susan Ferriss

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