The Various Manifestations of The First Rule of Policing

I’d originally imagined this to be a simple cut-and-paste of some Facebook comments, but I was informed that the reading given by Noah Smith may not be exactly what Rajiv Sethi’s original thought process or conclusions were.

So, assuming this to be correct, which I believe it to be, after having actually read Sethi’s post, I’m still going to just cut-and-paste, but I’ll include a caveat that Sethi’s point in his original post is not what was laid out originally, and that the timing isn’t exactly correct, but it’s  close enough for primetime.

Facebook Masturbation Thread:

Adam Glurri: Turns out you were wrong about everything Boatfloating Racial bias in police killings

Boatfloating: Not going to read the links in your link, but, assuming Noah’s representation is correct, Sethi’s got the closer of it. Who Pays for the Costs of the System?

Boatfloating: Cowardice, Sausage-Making, and Public-Mindedness

Boatfloating: First Rule of Policing, and all

(1 hour later)

Boatfloating: I’m trying to finish an accounting project, Adam. y u tryna make me destroy my career?
As I understand the points

Mullainathan: The rate of cop killing civilian per encounter is the same across races
Sethi: The types of encounter are skewed towards more (perceived as having the potential for being) violent encounters with blacks
Noah: Why would cops go into encounters scared, they just got a case of roid rage
Boatfloating: Cops get into more (perceived to be potentially) dangerous encounters because its sorta their job to respond to citizens who claim potentially dangerous situations and/or they’re assigned higher crime rate areas so are automatically more wary of potential dangers




(40 minutes later)

Boatfloating: goddammit Adam

Also, it’s not like the power/fear thing is actually binary. If the First Rule of Policing has any validity, it’s obvious that the, ingrained by martial rhetoric and training, fear or worry of not making it home for dinner can manifest itself in out-and-out fearful actions, like, maybe, shooting a teenager holding a Wii-controller to an overreliance or over emphasis on needing to establish and maintain absolute and complete control over a particular interaction with a citizen, and (over)reacting to any perceived disrespect or non-compliance

(1 hour later, in response to my failing to reiterate the points correctly)

B: Sethi’s theory is the opposite of what you say here. His hypothesis is that black encounters with police are disproportionately safe (in reality) because cops are more likely to stop blacks for no reason. The hypothesis is necessary to explain how the odds of ending up shot aren’t any higher for blacks conditional on being stopped by police.

FWIW, when Scott Alexander looked at this issue a while back, what he found doesn’t seem consistent with the hypothesis (Sethi doesn’t present any data).

Boatfloating: That’s Sethi’s position? I must have really misread Noah’s presentation

B: Noah seemed confused by it too

(1 hour later)

Boatfloating:GODDAMMIT Adam

Okay, I’m actually reading the linked posts, and dear lord there are a lot of issues in Mullainathan’s article, Sethi’s post, and Noah’s post.

Biggest point
The general lack of good use-of-force data taints much of the conversation
Without knowing, or even just being in the same goddamn ballpark, the true encounter to population rate, encounter to detention, encounter to arrest, encounter to use-of-force, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc, much of this is just guesswork
As the Goolsby article notes, any mention of use-of-force is missing from the police report


Adam Glurri is the devil.


“28 in the last year” Yes. Good and correct stat for the problem at hand, bruh.

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