DC Accepted Papers Paper: The Impact of Fatal Encounters on Institutional Trust

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Matthew Harvey, University of South Carolina

Do fatal encounters between officers and civilians affect institutional trust? I find that a fatal encounter between officers and an unarmed civilian in a state leads to a decrease in self-reported confidence the justice system. The effect on self-reported confidence in the police, banks, and schools is insignificant. In Chicago, I find a fatal encounter in a police district leads to about 11 less 911 calls on the day of the fatal encounter. Additionally, it is only after a fatal encounter that citizen in a beat make complaints against officers. Taken together, the evidence shows that fatal encounters decrease institutional trust, particularly for the police and the justice system, although the effects are short-lived.