The role of allegations in the labeling of wrongdoers: misconduct in the Chicago Police Department

Stroube, B (2017) The role of allegations in the labeling of wrongdoers: misconduct in the Chicago Police Department. [Conference proceeding]


Research on misconduct has explored both what causes actors to commit certain behaviors as well as the consequences of those actions when they become public knowledge. However, less attention has been directed at the necessary intermediate step whereby social control agents label some actors but not others “wrongdoers.” As a result, empirical samples of wrongdoers may be indeterminately biased by the social environments from which they arise. In this paper I propose allegations as a distinct mechanism in the process by which actors are officially labeled wrongdoers, and highlight how discrepancies might arise between behaviors, the creation of allegations, and the assignment of wrongdoer labels based on those allegations. I apply this framework to recently released data detailing all 28,588 allegations of misconduct led from March 13, 2011 to August 19, 2015 against the Chicago Police Department, the country’s second largest law enforcement agency. I find that demographic traits of both officers and complainants do not equally predict the generation and validation of allegations. For example, black officers received allegations at a lower rate than white officers, but were more likely to have them sustained, and allegations made by black complainants were less likely to be sustained than those made by white complainants; a similar mismatch existed for gender. These results highlight how social factors may shape who ultimately gets labeled a wrongdoer in this and other settings.

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Item Type: Conference proceeding
Subject Areas: Strategy and Entrepreneurship
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2019 08:57
Subjects: Misconduct
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2022 15:07

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