Math Colloquium @ Bryn Mawr: "Social Justice and Mathematics: Analyzing police practice in Los Angeles"Math Colloquium @ Bryn Mawr: "Social Justice and Mathematics: Analyzing police practice in Los Angeles"http://www.haverford.edu/calendar/details/231231Bryn Mawr. Park 328.2013-02-18T16:00:002013-02-18T17:00:00
February 18,2013 4:00PM–5:00PM
Bryn Mawr. Park 328.
Lily S. Khadjavi (Loyola Marymount University). Park 338.
Bi-College Math Colloquium
Lily S. Khadjavi, Loyola Marymount University
"Social Justice and Mathematics: Analyzing police practice in Los Angeles"
Talk at 4pm in Park 338.
Tea at 3:30 in Park 355 (Math Lounge).
Although racial profiling is not legal, national polls indicate that most Americans believe it is a regular police practice. Beginning in 2002, under the terms of a Consent Decree with the United States Department of Justice, the Los Angeles Police Department collected and publicized general tallies of all traffic stops, the outcomes of those stops, and the race/ethnicity of drivers. Surprisingly, there have been few studies based on this data set.
Originally motivated by the desire to use real-world data and examine social justice issues in introductory statistics courses, this project has resulted in interdisciplinary research in collaboration with a law professor. Through the ACLU, we were able to gain access to disaggregated data from the City of Los Angeles. As in many other parts of the country, we find significant racial and ethnic disparities, for example in search rates. Perhaps most notably, there are significant disparities in the police's use of searches based solely on driver consent, which are less likely to yield discoveries. Since drivers almost universally agree to such searches, we are led to question whether or not legal consent can be understood as an expression of free will. This talk tells the story of this project, including an overview of the data, the social and legal issues raised, and the statistical techniques used, and will be accessible to students and scholars from across disciplines.
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