Date of Conferral







Dr. Sharon Xuereb


Law enforcement’s unjust treatment of African Americans is a worldwide concern but impacts the African American community in different ways, particularly African American law enforcement officers who are placed in conflicting positions. They aspire to see change and more conforming police treatment, compared to other racial populations, but work for the same organization that exhibits the biased treatment they desire to have abolished. The purpose of this qualitative research study was to explore African American law enforcement officers’ experiences of conflicting identities. The theoretical foundation was based on Turner’s theory of self-categorization (SCT). The key research questions addressed African American law enforcement officers’ perceptions of the police after the killing of an unarmed African American and African American law enforcement officers’ experiences of conflicting identities by being in law enforcement and being African American. The participants were eight African American law enforcement officers. Data from semistructured interviews were analyzed and interpreted using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), resulting in four emergent themes: non-African American law enforcement officers’ inability to identify with African Americans, distrust of law enforcement’s decision making toward African Americans, feelings as an African American in law enforcement, and frustration with law enforcement’s treatment of African Americans. Understanding the participants’ experiences is crucial to positive social change in this field because the findings will help develop mental health services specific for African American law enforcement officers, enhance cultural awareness, and improve the relationship between the African American community and law enforcement.