The impact of procedural injustice during police-citizen encounters: the role of officer gender

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This study examined the effects of procedural injustice during hypothetical police-citizen encounters. Specifically, the main effects of procedural injustice on emotional responses to police treatment, components of police legitimacy, and

This study examined the effects of procedural injustice during hypothetical police-citizen encounters. Specifically, the main effects of procedural injustice on emotional responses to police treatment, components of police legitimacy, and willingness to cooperate with the police were assessed. Importantly, this study also tested whether the effect of procedural injustice was invariant across officer gender. A factorial vignette survey that consisted of two different police encounter scenarios (i.e., potential stalking incident and traffic accident) was administered to a university-based sample (N = 525). Results showed that the effect of procedural injustice during such encounters had a powerful and significant influence on participants’ emotional responses (e.g., anger), legitimacy perceptions, and the willingness to cooperate. These effects appeared to be consistent regardless of whether the treatment was doled out by a male or female police officer. Implications of the findings in terms of theory and future research are discussed.