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13 Homicide Stud. 3 (2009)

handle is hein.journals/homcst13 and id is 1 raw text is: 





                                                                       February 2  0W9 3-20
                                                                    'W 2009 SagPblicaitions

Reassessing Political Explanations 1 1
                                                                               hosted at
for M      urders of Police                                         http:/onualiicAgepub.com

Robert  J. Kaminski
University of South Carolina
Thomas   D.  Stucky
School of Public and Environmental  Affairs, Indianapolis



   The article discusses how Jacobs and Carmichael, drawing on the racial threat thesis,
   argue that the overrepresentation of Blacks among felons who murder police is in part
   explained by Blacks' conscious or unconscious responses to political subordination by
   the State. In testing this argument, Jacobs and Carmichael find that their key theoretical
   variable-the presence of a Black mayor-is inversely related to police homicides and
   injurious assaults across many model specifications. This article describes a limited
   reanalysis of Jacobs and Carmichael's homicide data and additional analyses with a
   larger sample of cities. The findings suggest that the significance of the Black mayor
   variable may have been an artifact of model specification. Instead, there is evidence
   that Black city council representation may be associated with reduced homicides of
   police by Blacks. Further research is needed, however, because of the limited explana-
   tory power of the key factors highlighted in past research.

   Keywords:   homicide; police; racial threat; political subordination; economic
               subordination



A lthough common in other criminological research, few researchers have drawn
     on  conflict theory and the racial threat thesis to explain violence against the
police (Chamlin,  1989). A recent analysis by Jacobs and Carmichael   (2002), how-
ever, increased attention to this perspective. In their article, Jacobs and Carmichael
posited that the overrepresentation of Blacks among felons who murder  police' is in
part explained by their economic and political subordination by the state. According
to this view, many killings of police by Blacks are a response to subordination in the
form  of inarticulate protest or primitive rebellion directed against repressive state
agents, that is, law enforcement officers. Accordingly, homicide rates are expected
to be higher in jurisdictions in which Blacks are most politically and economically
repressed, and lower in jurisdictions in which Blacks attain or surpass political and


Authors' Note: This research was supported in part by a National Science Foundation grant
(SES-0002291). We thank David Jacobs for providing us with his dataset and model command statements.
Please address correspondence to Robert J. Kaminski, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice,
University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208; e-mail: kaminskb@mailbox.sc.edu.


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