Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Julie Honnold

Second Advisor

Tressie M. Cottom

Third Advisor

Nancy Morris


After the rebellion over the killing of Michael Brown, the US Justice Department reported that over-policing for the sake of monetary extraction was taking place in Ferguson, MO, with non-White and people in poverty being disproportionately targeted at the hands of the police. And while it has been shown to be present within the Ferguson community, this extraction and targeting by police is not a geographically isolated occurrence. Based on previous research, a racialized, economic-based system of oppression goes hand-in-hand with policing. But how do the qualities of these geographies affect the prominence and location of police violence on a systemic level? Through a process of identity creation and reification informed through the interaction of racial capitalism and the state, specific geographies are identified with different groups within society as a function of housing segregation. These areas are then targeted by police based on their identity and the existing social hierarchy. By using data from Fatal Encounters, an independent organization which catalogs who has been killed by police, coupled with demographic descriptors of place, I show that zip codes with higher levels of Black and Hispanic populations as well as worse-off economic measures were positively associated with an increased odds of more people being killed by police. By shedding light on the drivers of this cycle of violence, I hope to contribute to the establishment of a more just society by redefining who shall be protected from what and whose interests shall be served.


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