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Percentage of African-Americans in U.S. Police Departments Remains Flat Since 2007

Capt. Ronald Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol smiles at demonstrators march along West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Mo., on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. The Missouri Highway Patrol took control of a St. Louis suburb Thursday, stripping local police of their law-enforcement authority after four days of clashes between officers in riot gear and furious crowds protesting the death of an unarmed black teen shot by an officer. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, David Carson)
Capt. Ronald Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol smiles at demonstrators march along West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Mo., on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, David Carson)

Ben Kesling and Cameron McWhirter, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

 
(The Wall Street Journal) — The percentage of African-Americans in U.S. police departments has remained flat since before the recession, even as police hiring of other minorities has increased, according to a U.S. Department of Justice survey released Thursday.

A lack of black officers, especially in communities with large African-American populations, has been cited frequently in the wake of police-involved deaths of black residents that sparked riots in cities from Ferguson, Mo., to Baltimore in the past year.

Black officers make up just 12% of all local police officers, the survey by the Bureau of Justice Statistics showed. The overall U.S. black population is 13.2%, according to estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Departments struggle to recruit and retain African-Americans in part because of black distrust of police departments and possibly outdated criteria for employment, according to researchers who have studied the issue.

 

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