Police patrol

Accountability

Published — April 30, 2015 Updated — June 4, 2020 at 10:52 am ET

Police whiter than those they serve

Chicago Police patrol the neighborhood on Aug. 26, 2013. (AP Photos/M. Spencer Green)

Introduction

Editor’s note, June 4, 2020: The killing of George Floyd, an African-American man who died May 25 after a white Minneapolis Police Department officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, has prompted widespread protests and civil unrest. Issues of racial inequality, police brutality and the constitutional freedoms of speech and peaceable assembly now dominate national discourse.

In 2015, the Center for Public Integrity analyzed 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data to determine whether the nation’s largest municipalities field police forces that are representative of the populations they serve. While the racial composition of some police forces and city populations may have changed during since 2010 — the Census Bureau has not yet released new numbers since — this serves as a stark reminder that significant racial disparities remain.

Dave Levinthal

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