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Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race


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Empirical studies have pointed to the increasing importance of procedural justice as a tool for improving the relationship between the police and local communities. The mediating role of procedural justice continues to be embraced by scholars, practitioners, and community members; as a result, we examine in the present study African Americans’ attitudes toward the police via the interpretive lens of procedural justice policing. Using procedural justice questions found in the social-psychology literature, we interviewed seventy-seven African Americans in Durham, NC, to assess their views about the U.S. police. Our results point to the following for improving the relationship between the police and African Americans: respect for African Americans by police, police fairness in the African American community, and increased and improved interaction between police and African Americans. Notably, these findings spanned three distinct educational and socioeconomic spectrums. The implications of our findings for community relations, public policy, and future research are discussed.


© The Authors, 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Hutchins Center for African and African American Research.

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


0000-0001-5859-6116 (Pryce)

Original Publication Citation

Pryce, D. K., & Whitaker, I. P. (2022). The role of procedural justice in policing: A qualitative assessment of African Americans' perceptions and experiences in a large US city. Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race, 1-21.