Police disrespect toward the public: An encounter-based analysis

Stephen D. Mastrofski, Michael D. Reisig, John D. McCluskey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

240 Scopus citations


We use observations of police encounters with 3,130 suspects in Indianapolis and St. Petersburg to estimate three influences on police disrespect: how suspects behave, their personal characteristics, and the location of the encounter. Logistic regression models show that suspects' behaviors were the most powerful predictors, but the suspect's sex, age, income, and degree of neighbourhood disadvantage were also significant. Minority suspects experienced disrespect less often than whites (statistically significant in the hierarchical analysis controlling for degree of neighbourhood disadvantage). These effects are concentrated in St. Petersburg, where the chief had made the suppression of police abuses a visible priority. The findings offer partial confirmation of Donald Black's theory of law.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-552
Number of pages34
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavior of law
  • Disrespect
  • Neighbourhood disadvantage
  • Police
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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