Some of you may have seen the viral video of the two police officers responding to the two kids‒one White, one Black‒fighting in a NJ mall.  If you haven’t, find it here:

As spectators of the video, we have the advantage of seeing how the fight began and can see that the White male youth was the primary aggressor. As is often the case, law enforcement arrives on the scene with little information and must act quickly. The officers arrived on-scene and seemed to assume that the Black youth was the primary aggressor and responded accordingly.

Based on the odds, these are well-intentioned police officers who have human biases like the rest of us.  They were facing a stressful, ambiguous, rapidly unfolding situation.  These are the types of situations that place police officers most at risk of acting based on their human biases – in this case, likely the well-documented Black-crime implicit association.

This situation underscores the importance of training law enforcement about how human bias can affect their actions and perceptions and undermine their own aspirations to be safe, effective, and just.