Black Harvard professor who denounced racial bias in police shootings under investigation for sexual misconduct
A controversial Harvard professor who disputed assertions that police disproportionately target people of color, has now found himself in the midst of a #MeToo type investigation.
According to The Harvard Crimson, Roland Fryer, whose research claims racial bias in police shootings is a myth, is now under investigation for creating a “hostile” work environment and objectifying women.
In July 2016 Fryer posted a paper titled “An Empirical Analysis of Racial Differences in Police Use of Force.” In summation, his research found that only “a fraction of [police officers] have a preference for discrimination.”
“… very little data exists to understand whether racial disparities in police use of force exist or might be explained by situational factors inherent in the complexity of police-civilian interactions,” Fryer wrote.
Not surprisingly, his research faced backlash and criticism as soon as it was publicized, most notably from The New York Times.
Some of the paper’s shortcomings include: It relies heavily on police reports, the data focuses on a very limited sample, it doesn’t factor in how Black people are more likely to be stopped by police in the first place, and it admits to using data that is not “ideal.”
Did you actually read the Roland Fryer study? He only looks at police shootings from 10 police departments in 3 states. Not very comprehensive. Also convenient that he never discusses how poc are more likely to be stopped and stopped without cause.
— Beezy (@steeler_bee) May 20, 2018
After publishing the controversial report, Fryer’s judgment is now in question for his treatment of a female colleague.
The professor of economics “has been barred by University officials from setting foot in the research lab he heads,” for allegedly committing “‘egregious’ acts of verbal sexual harassment.”
Boston-based attorneys Monica R. Shah and Naomi R. Shatz are reportedly representing an unidentified woman who filed the complaint against Fryer. He maintains that he is innocent of any wrong doing.
Shah and Shatz say their client complained about Fryer to the university about a year ago and faced retaliation for coming forward.
“Our client found that when the object of her complaint was a star faculty member, [Harvard’s workplace discrimination and sexual harassment] policies were not enforced,” explained a statement from the victim’s lawyers.
“[Fryer] frequently discussed sex in the workplace, made sexually inappropriate comments to and about employees and others, and objectified and sexualized women, including his staff.”
The attorneys also cited the university’s “two-tiered system of justice: one for high profile faculty members and the other for the rank and file.”
Harvard University as well as the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) are separately investigating.
— Raven S. (@RaeStubbs) May 28, 2018