Describing and Accounting for the Trends in US Protest Policing, 1960-1995

Patrick Rafail, Sarah A. Soule, John D. McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Numerous scholars have observed a decline in more coercive police tactics used to control demonstrations since the 1960s in North America and Western Europe. Such claims, however, are largely based on rather unsystematic observation, and almost no research directly examines the evolution of protest policing during this entire period. To address this gap, the authors use semiparametric logistic regression to examine reported police presence, the use of arrests, and the use of force at 15,965 US protests occurring between 1960 and 1995. The results confirm that while there has been an absolute decline in more repressive policing behavior, the transitional process was not a monotonic, linear process. The authors also investigate the different evolutionary patterns of each type of protest policing. The authors further demonstrate that African American initiated events, government targets, social movement organization presence, protest forms, the use of force, and arrests have variable impacts on police responses over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)736-765
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


Dive into the research topics of 'Describing and Accounting for the Trends in US Protest Policing, 1960-1995'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this