WED@NICO SEMINAR: Andrew Papachristos, Northwestern University "The Social Structure of Police Misconduct"
Andrew Papachristos, Professor of Sociology, Northwestern University
The Social Structure of Police Misconduct
Explanations of police violence generally pit individual-level theories against macro-level theories resulting in what is parochially described as a debate between “bad apples” and “bad institutions.” From the “bad apples" perspective, misconduct is the result of specific individuals in violation of the primary function of policing itself; such officers are seen as “deviants” and believed to represent a small fraction of police. The bad institutions approach, on the other hand, underscores the longstanding racist and racialized history of policing as well as the numerous forms of bias that implicitly and explicitly shape policing policies and practices. Somewhere in-between the individual officers who engage in misconduct and the larger institution of policing reside the social networks in which officers work and socialize. This study investigates networks of police misconduct for an entire police department in a city infamous for its corruption and police abuses—Chicago, IL. Using recently released data on complaints against Chicago police officers from both citizens and fellow officers, we recreate networks of misconduct by linking individual officers whom were named together in complaints over a six-year period. We analyze the structural properties of the misconduct networks, distinguishing between individual-level and dyadic features and then employ a series of statistical models to understand which properties influence the probability that any two officers will be connected in an instance of misconduct. Our results reveal large network structures of misconduct, but uneven levels of involvement among officers: most officers have few misconduct ties while a small number of officers are embedded in much larger structures of misconduct and abuse. While the frequency of police misconduct is associated with individual-level attributes including gender, race, and tenure, extra-individual factors are strongly association with observed patterns of co-misconduct. Understanding how both officer attributes and network properties contribute to police misconduct might provide new insights for police reform.
Andrew V. Papachristos is Professor of Sociology and Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. He is also the founding director of N3--Northwestern Neighborhood & Network Initiative. Papachristos aims to understand how the connected nature of cities—how their citizens, neighborhoods, and institutions are tied to one another—affect what we feel, think, and do. His main research applies network science to the study of gun violence, police misconduct, illegal gun markets, Al Capone, street gangs, and urban neighborhoods. He is also in the process of completing a manuscript on the evolution of black street gangs and politics in Chicago from the 1950s to the early-2000s. Papachristos is also actively involved in policy related research, including the evaluation of gun violence prevention programs in more than a dozen U.S. cities. An author of more than 50 articles, Papachristos’ work has appeared in journals such as JAMA, The American Sociological Review, Criminology, The American Journal of Public Health, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Chicago Tribune, among other outlets. Papachristos was awarded an NSF Early CAREER award to examine how violence spreads through high-risk social networks in several U.S. cities.
NOVEMBER MEETING: Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 6:30pm in Chambers Hall, Evanston
DATA SCIENCE NIGHTS are monthly hack nights on popular data science topics, organized by Northwestern University graduate students and scholars. Each night will feature one hour of structured programming followed by a hacking night with data science project or learning groups of your choice.
Aspiring, beginning, and advanced data scientists are welcome!
6.15 p.m. – 6.30 p.m. Socializing
6.30 p.m. – 6.35 p.m. Announcements
6.35 p.m. – 7.00 p.m. Andrew Hall, PhD candidate in Northwestern's Department of Psychology "Personality Assessment in the Age of Big Data and Machine Learning"
7.00 p.m. – Breakout into project and learning groups
For more info: data-science-nights.org