Honors College Theses

Date

2021

Major

Political Science (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Kate Perry

Abstract

How does racial discrimination negatively impact citizens in the US regardless of racial identity? There have been many deaths that have resulted from law enforcement interaction with Black citizens, such as George Floyd and Sandra Bland among countless others, and each of these deaths have negatively impacted the overall community in which they happened. Events such as these have caused many protests and movements to be sparked such as the Black Lives Matter movement and have resulted in an uprising of citizens demanding change, yet not all citizens recognize how police brutality incidents impact their own lives. In this project, I test the theory that when incidents of police brutality increase, citizens at large pay a higher economic price through the increase in police budgets, paid for by all citizens. Using a quantitative analysis of city-level data in New York, Illinois, and Texas, I examine the connection between police brutality incidents, lawsuits against the police department, and rises in taxes to cover these costs. Despite the strong theoretical expectation, however, my analysis does not reveal a causal connection between police brutality incidents and changes in police funding at the city level. I explore these contradictory findings and suggest a path for future research to better understand how the costs of police brutality are felt by everyone, no matter their race, and that everyone can benefit from a restructuring of American policing.

Available for download on Wednesday, April 29, 2026

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