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‘Ferguson effect’: 72% of U.S. cops reluctant to make stops

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More than three-quarters of U.S. law enforcement officers say they are reluctant to use force when necessary, and nearly as many — 72% — say they or their colleagues are more reluctant to stop and question people who seem suspicious as a result of increased scrutiny of police, according to a new study published Wednesday by the Pew Research Center.

The 2014 officer-involved shooting death of a black teen in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson put the national spotlight on police use of force and officers’ interactions with minorities. Since then, top-ranking law enforcement officers and policymakers have debated the impact of the so-called “Ferguson effect” — officers becoming less proactive in their policing out of a fear their actions will be second-guessed by their superiors and the public.

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