New survey on police shootings in Arizona

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It’s something that you hear about regularly in the valley… Someone being shot to death by the police after they pose a threat. Police involved shootings in Arizona are among the highest in the country.

It happened again early this morning in Mesa, when officers there shot a man who was seen on a video arguing with someone, raising a gun and firing shots. He was shot to death by Mesa P.D. shortly after that. Earlier this week, nine officers were injured and a woman killed after a standoff.

Today, the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University released new research in a webinar regarding the feelings of the public about police shootings and more. We talked with Alison Cook-Davis, an associated director for research at the Morrison Institute, and Ojmarrh Mitchell of ASU’s school of criminology and justice about the results of that research.

Who exactly did the institute look at?

Cook-Davis: “Morrison was approached by several law enforcement leaders that were considering various structures in investigating use of force among police. We had the opportunity to do a survey, a state wide survey, and get a better idea of the opinions of Arizonans about basically trusting police as well as the different types of structures they might use.”

Police investigating themselves regarding police involved shootings, that’s always been a bit of a sore spot.

Mitchell: “Absolutely. Would you want to investigate your best friends? You have to keep in mind that most of these police agencies throughout the United States are small, very small, or medium sized. So, you know all of your coworkers.”

What were some of the results?

Cook-Davis: “When we asked a question about trust in police in general, we found in the general population about 60%  said they had trust in police. But when we looked at some more granular data specifically looking at sub populations of Hispanic and African American respondents, we found that the trust was a bit lower. Half of Hispanics and less than a third of African Americans in Arizona.”

Do the findings surprise you?

Mitchell: “If I am surprised at all I am surprised it is not a little higher, but the finding that minorities… have lower trust, it is what we know quite well.”



Alison Cook-Davis, Assoc. Research Director, ASU Morrison Institute

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