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Police Stops of and Interactions with Latino and White (Non-Latino) Drivers: Extensive Policing and Communication Accommodation

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Following previous research on traffic stops involving police officers with African American and White drivers, a content analysis of 69 recorded stops was conducted in a very different locale of Latino and non-Latino drivers with non-Latino officers. The study was guided by communication accommodation theory, and predicted differences in interactants' communication strategies and stop outcomes based on ethnicity, driver accent, and the level of accommodative and nonaccommodative strategies. The results largely supported the hypotheses and suggested that there is a disparity in the treatment of certain stigmatized ethnic groups as evidenced in the dynamics of officer and driver communication behaviors. The findings are discussed in terms of their empirical, theoretical, and practical implications for negative experiences the Latino community may have with police.

Keywords: Accommodation; Communication Accommodation Theory; Extensive Policing; Latinos; Law Enforcement; Non-Latinos; Nonaccommodation; Nonnative Accents; Police

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2012


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