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Abstract

The recent rash of police killing unarmed black men has brought national attention to the persistent problem of policing and racial violence. These cases include the well-known and highly controversial death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, as well as the deaths of twelve-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio; Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York; John Crawford III in Beavercreek, Ohio; Ezell Ford in Los Angeles, California; Dante Parker in San Bernardino County, California; and Vonderrit D. Myers Jr. in St. Louis, Missouri. Data reported to the FBI indicate that white police officers killed black citizens almost twice a week between 2005 and 2012. This number is underinclusive because the FBI database is based on self-reports by departments that choose to participate and only includes deaths that the police conclude are justifiable.