Study Finds Huge Racial Disparity in Killings by Off-Duty Police Officers

A new study led by Emmanuella Ngozi Asabor, an MD/Ph.D. candidate at Yale University found that Black men are the most common victims of killings committed by off-duty police officers in the U.S. In an analysis of 242 incidences in which people were killed by police officers when they were off duty between 2013 and 2021, the research team found that nearly 40 percent of the victims were Black men.

The study also revealed that the presence of off-duty officers frequently escalated confrontational situations, many incidences occurred while off-duty officers were performing side jobs as security officers, and that these officers often obscured information about their involvement in situations that turned deadly.

“We also consistently saw that off-duty officers were often escalating situations and intervening with lethal force in circumstances that did not seem to necessitate it,” said Asabor. “There needs to be clear, widespread guidance, preferably at the federal level, on what types of situations call for off-duty officer intervention and how we can document those interventions after they happen.”

“Reconsidering officers’ relationships to other citizens, particularly when they’re off duty is critical for the conversation on police reform,” concludes Asabor. “One message of our study is that there is space to reconsider the extent to which the broad deputization of off-duty police officers, in terms of their weapons carriage and their conduct, is potentially causing more harm than good.”

Asabor earned a bachelor’s degree at Harvard University where she studied the history of medicine and global health. She holds a master’s degree in African studies from the University of Cambridge in England.

Related Articles


  1. I would like to add this interesting study to my database. The Center for Public Policy & Social Change, Inc., studies Police Excessive Force. We have active tracking system, that follows and informs the about officers that have two or more incidents of excessive force. I look forward to your feedback.

    Best regards,

    Tracey L. Monroe, Sr.
    Founder & CEO

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Elizabeth City State University Establishes Transfer Agreements With a Local Community College

Through three recently signed agreements, students at the College of the Albemarle now have the opportunity for a seamless transfer to Elizabeth City State University upon completion of their associate's degree.

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Reports on Demographic Disparities Within American Public Workforce

The report found that Black workers in overrepresented occupations make about $20,000 to $30,000 less than the compensation of White workers in overrepresented fields. African Americans were also found to be more likely than White Americans to work in a lower-wage, segregated occupations.

Christon Arthur Named First Black President of La Sierra University in California

Upon assuming his new role on July 1, Dr. Arthur will become the first Black president of La Sierra University. He has served as provost of Andrews University in Michigan for the past eight years.

Business Leaders Engaging in Same-Race Diversity Initiatives Are Perceived as Displaying Favoritism

When asked to measure their employers' effectiveness in same-race versus cross-race diversity efforts, participants were more likely to negatively rate leaders who engaged in diversity initiatives geared towards members of their own race.

Featured Jobs