Factors Leading to Civil Unrest in the Wake of Police Lethal Use of Force Incidents: A Tale of Two Cities

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Since August 9, 2014, the day Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown in the small city of Ferguson, Missouri, large-scale protests after police-involved lethal use of force incidents have become much more prevalent. While there is much academic and public debate on why civil unrest occurs after these unfortunate incidents, there is very little scholarly literature that explores the structure of civil unrest events or literature that attempts to explain why and how peaceful protests turn violent. This dissertation, through exploratory content analysis of extensive after-action reports, provides insight into two instances of civil unrest in the wake of officer-involved lethal use of force incidents: the Minneapolis, Minnesota, civil unrest in the aftermath of the November 15, 2015 shooting of Jamar Clark and the Charlotte, North Carolina, civil unrest in the wake of the September 16, 2016, shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. The study examines the phenomenon of civil unrest from the theoretical frameworks of representative bureaucracy and rational crime theory and utilizes a case study comparison and content analysis research design.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment for the requirements of the Degree Doctor of Public Administration
Law Enforcement