How police unionization has affected police violence : The Indicator from Planet Money There appears to be a relationship between police unionization and the number of people killed by officers.

Police Unions And Civilian Deaths

Police Unions And Civilian Deaths

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Scott Heins/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 02: NYPD officers block the entrance of the Manhattan Bridge as hundreds protesting police brutality and systemic racism attempt to cross into the borough of Manhattan from Brooklyn after a citywide curfew went into effect in New York City. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)
Scott Heins/Getty Images

Every year, more than a thousand people are killed by a police officer in the United States. This is many more people than are killed in other countries with similarly advanced economies. And within the U.S., there is also a big disparity in who is likeliest to die from a police killing. A black person, like George Floyd, is three times as likely to be killed as a white person.

Economist Rob Gillezeau studies the history of police killings and the protests that often result from them. He and his co-authors, Jamein Cunningham and Donna Feir, have been collecting data on how police unionization has affected police violence against civilians.

Though the paper isn't out yet, its findings are clear: After police officers gained access to collective bargaining rights, there was a substantial increase in the killings of civilians — overwhelmingly, nonwhite civilians.

Today on the show, we talk to Rob about his research and the troubling consequences of police unionization.

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