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Speaker Series: Andrew Papachristos - Sociology, Northwestern University

  • When: April 17, 2019, 12–1:30 pm
  • Where: ABF Woods Conference Room, 750 N. Lake Shore Drive, 4th floor, Lakeside, Chicago, IL 60611

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The Social Structure of Police Misconduct

Explanations of police violence generally pit individual-level theories against macro-level theories resulting in what is parochially described as a debate between “bad apples” and “bad institutions.” Somewhere in-between the officers who engage in misconduct and the larger institution of policing reside the social networks in which officers work and socialize. This study investigates networks of police misconduct for a city famous for its corruption and police abuses—Chicago, IL. Using data on complaints against police officers from both citizens and fellow officers, we recreate and analyze the networks of misconduct, distinguishing between individual and extra-individual level features of the network. We employ a series of statistical models to understand which properties influence the probability that any two officers will be connected in an instance of misconduct. Our results reveal large network structures of misconduct, but uneven levels of involvement among officers. Both individual and extra-individual level factors are strongly association with observed patterns of co-misconduct. Understanding how both officer attributes and network properties contribute to police misconduct might provide new insights for police reform.

Professor Papachristos has provided a paper for this event that can be found: here.

Photo and bio courtesy of Northwestern University

Andrew V.  Papachristos is currently Professor of Sociology and the Director of the Northwestern Network and Neighborhood Initiative. Papachristos aims to understand how the connected nature of cities—how their citizens, neighborhoods, and institutions are tied to one another—affect what we feel, think, and do. His main research applies network science to the study of gun violence, police misconduct, illegal gun markets, Al Capone, street gangs, and urban neighborhoods. He is also in the process of completing a manuscript on the evolution of black street gangs and politics in Chicago from the 1950s to the early-2000s. Papachristos is also actively involved in policy related research, including the evaluation of gun violence prevention programs in more than a dozen U.S. cities. An author of more than 50 articles, Papachristos’ work has appeared in journals such as JAMA, The American Sociological Review, Criminology, The American Journal of Public Health, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Chicago Tribune, among other outlets. Papachristos was awarded an NSF Early CAREER award to examine how violence spreads through high-risk social networks in several U.S. cities.

Prior to coming to Northwestern, Papachristos was a professor of sociology at Yale University and director of The Policy Lab. He is a Chicago native and earned his PhD from the University of Chicago.

Papachristos is also the Director of the Northwestern Neighborhood & Network Initiative (N3) at the Institute for Policy Research.

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