Why police aggression is far more pronounced against left-leaning protesters

Here’s what the data shows about how right- and left-wing movements are policed.
11:14 | 01/09/21

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Transcript for Why police aggression is far more pronounced against left-leaning protesters
Hater Galen here in the week of Wednesday's storming the capitol by Trump's mortars have been a lot of questions about. Police. Preparation. For the actual event and what happened during the events. And so our senior science writer Maggie career is. Investigating in shoe. What the research tells us about how police respond mean different circumstances and so nice hearing me talk about some research and act. Hyatt thanks for having me on islands. Of course soul. What does the research say a power how police respond. Wet is there you know of course people haven't comparing this to the black flies matter protests over the summer. Where we saw a significant police response. Two protests that were in many many cases peaceful. He seemed as though you know. The truck supporters stormed the capitol on Wednesday. Largely allowed her roam free. Bomb. Of course there were five deaths so it's not as if there were not. Violent and severe repercussions. And interactions with faculties. But looking at us from a broader perspective what at a diner. So. This is really interesting because I you. As it was happening in an I was going back and talking to some of the academics that I hadn't yet this summer about police and protesters attractions during those flats as protests. And they were telling me you know we don't have Dana on and how big differences based on race and difference is based on in political affiliation. How police respond to different kinds of protests. But other researchers I talked to pointing in the direction that aid organization that was doing some relatively new research and he told me an and they might actually happening you're looking for. So that in a pleading need to be armed conflicts location and and that data project. Which is an organization it's a nonprofit they have been doing. This research all over the world starting with African nations a few years ago where they're collecting information on dollars. Different kinds of political violence that happens as well as protests and sort of catalog and yet it's this very long laborious process where they're going through witness reports and Ngo reports. And all of this data that they collect together and an actual people sit down and catalog it into a database. Buying you know. The people that were impaired the type groups that were there what kind of interactions happened. What kind of force was used force was used and it just kind of all comes together in this breed mean. Elaborate data sheet you can kind of cut through. And just this year they expand and their research to the United States. So they now have this US crisis project that day began back in the day. And between may and November they had actually collected data on worn and 101000 protests in the United States most of them peaceful. But that they had information on when police engaged with protesters what happened with those kinds of engagements and what kinds of force was used when forced once used. And after looking at these. Thousands of protest that happened over the course of 20/20. 20/20 one what kind of determinations will be able to me about when police used force win. Riddle a catalog missed by associated groups basically so this is not done saying this was a left wing group for this was aimed right wing group. This is them saying you know OK we have information that this was a black clouds matter protest we have information that this was a stop to steal protest. And you can kind of bend split out those groups into what we know is the last when it was right. They also don't have data on the race of the actual protesters. But you know when you're talking about black eyes matter verses. A group like proud ways you can kind of start to make some inferences about race going to ask. And what they found is that's. Law enforcement was twice as likely to engage with left wing protests and that is trying to break them up and send people home. They were also more likely to use force Whitney did that snow 34% of the time. They were using force against dean right wing protests that they tried to break up. 51% of the time they were using force against left wing protests that they tried to break up. Why is I mean. Each unit gets any conclusions in this research item dated doesn't always give us the quiet often gets us don't live by. You know is there more research into why police might be more likely cute engage wrist left wing protesters are right wing broadcasters. They have been looking things that they can rule out so I think. One thing that they wanted to look at was boys are more police response to left wing protests because there was more violence and protests. And they come at that really wasn't the case you know out of 101000 some. Last night's matter protests this year. 93% of them were entirely peaceful and when the researchers went and looked sat you know. Did peaceful protests and non peaceful protests. They told me that you and the and not even the peaceful black knights matter protests had more police response and heavier police response and then the right wing protests. So that's not what the researchers were able to you know rule out that the left wing protests are more violent at Sadr I think there it is. It perception on the laughed at certainly amongst a lot of commentators on Wednesday. Essentially saying that. Police are just more aggressive towards black protesters and left wing protesters because any disagreement that were not like them what's the racial dynamics that play. Is there any you know research into batter that date they been able to pump to any conclusions in the. So this is where things and I was thinking about when I was thinking about. You know how we published a stating that this is very new data it's not been peer reviewed and it is. You know relatively limited portion how all of the problems that sort of go into. Human catalog gain. Events from the news right like that's not aimed strictly objective. Sat out. But it does. Fall in line with years and years of previous research you know things that show that police are more likely to use force against. Black people in America for the same crimes as white people. They're more likely to use violence against black people in America for not committing any crimes just in terms you know pulling people over and suspicion. There are also those situations where there's a lot of data on and overlaps between some of these rightwing extremist groups and law enforcement itself that. Members of those groups are also members of law enforcement and so something that. Security experts have been talking about and catalog and for many years so they don't know exactly YA. The law enforcement is using warmer force against black flats matter groups and they are using against right wing groups but we can make some differences I think. That race is involved per share. The other thing I think that his interest in about this is those perceptions that the protesters have about how the please treat them. Because and McGwire who in San researcher at Arizona State University who studies police and protesters actions. He told me that for years protesters have perceived. Math and protesters believe that the police are more likely to use force against them. And right wing protesters believe that the police are on her side her art their allies. And whether or not bad data exists those perceptions. Exist. And those perceptions have consequences and the real world McGuire told me that there is there is that right wing protesters. Feel like they can do things that left wing protesters don't feel like they can do because of how they proceed that relationship with the police. So I think that that's something that we should be thinking and I also think that that ties in with. Some of the complications. Of what went down Wednesday right so you have. Simultaneously. A situation. That. Left wing activists can look at black lives matter activists can look at and say wow we would not be allowed to just walk into the capitol building and wander around and takes out it's with police and take photos of ourselves in front of monuments. That's not something to be allowed to do without getting gassed or shot with rubber bullets. And that didn't happen to these right when protesters. And at the same time right wing activists can look at that situation and seen the woman who was shot and killed by police officers at the capitol. And they might think a mat as big buried a show of force against. And part of that comes back to misperception research because one of the things McGuire told me. Is that the right wing protesters have increasingly come to see their relationship with police has not just something that exists. But something that they hazard and that they earned by Ian Baird got maintenance and by a bear. Relationships. Win if politics and that the police and with what they are owed by society because there are good people and the leftist not. So we need this situation where. The police are giving them any push back at all let alone a situation where someone shot and killed. Even if the circumstances and that are different than a black let's matter protests. They don't look at that and CE at the trail and that's something that we're seeing in news reports and he's appease protesters as well is that. Aid you see that as a betrayal and that has gonna have some consequences Tatum and that's something that McGwire is really worried about. Whether that means more push back for police from. The right wing or whether that is gonna end up meaning the police. Start responding with more force and other situations even against left wing protesters. Because they've been criticized for not having enough force in this situation. So that's that's something I think this I'm. Really makes this muddy and messy place you know perception. Whether interstate 800 perception can be reality. RA while Maggie thank you so much for what end here potatoes sweet I noticed that a typical week but it's always good to imports. Dig into the numbers try to make sense what was in real time served him. Thank you very much. Dad remembers him subscribe says I pretty odd future. Policy.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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