“Crime against cop” is an informal categorization of those crimes that require the presence of a police officer during the commission of the crime and do not require a 3rd party complainant. This set of crimes is important because it provides an opportunity for police officers to use their discretion in criminalizing civilians or imposing extra penalties. If police officers are unfair, vindictive, or biased, it’s relatively easy for them to add “crime against cop” charges.

This category of crimes is particularly relevant given the release of Fryer’s working paper, AN EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS OF RACIAL DIFFERENCES IN POLICE USE OF FORCE. The surprising result in that paper is based entirely on treating “crime against cop” arrests as truthful indicators of a civilian’s propensity for violence. Fryer uses arrest codes “for the following offenses, from 2000 – 2015: aggravated assault on a peace officer, attempted capital murder of a peace officer, resisting arrest, evading arrest, and interfering in an arrest.” All of these arrest codes are in the category “crime against cop”.

Importantly the Fryer paper contains no discussion on how this set of arrest codes was arrived at or how the data might compare with a different set of arrest codes. Understanding this set of arrest codes is key to interpreting the data.

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