SOU professor featured in New York Times article on Black Lives Matter

ASHLAND, Ore. – A Southern Oregon University professor’s research into Black Lives Matter is being featured on a national level.

On Wednesday, the New York Times published an essay comparing findings from multiple research projects surrounding the impact of Black Lives Matter.

Travis Campbell is an assistant professor of economics at SOU.  In 2022, Campbell published research asking whether Black Lives Matter led to a decrease in lethal use of force by police.

Campbell said he found the research interesting because of the presence of the Black Lives Matter movement in modern American History.

“This is really the animating purpose of the protests,” Campbell told NBC5 staff.

Campbell’s findings found in cities where protests were held, there was a “prominent decrease” in police homicides between 2014 and 2019.

“The reason for this it seems is that police departments become more likely to obtain body-worn cameras for the purpose of reducing lethal force,” he continued.

However, Campbell said there could be another way to explain this decrease.

“There seems to be fewer police-civilian interactions following these protests,” he added.  “Which could add a somewhat dismal interpretation to what at first seems like a pretty great finding.”

When asked about the recently published essay, Campbell said the article did a pretty good job at presenting findings around this issue.

“A lot of the answers are still not clear cut,” he said.

Campbell said his current research design cannot be applied to recent years since the George Floyd protests because there hasn’t since been another major wave of protests to use as a comparison group.

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Taylar Ansures is a producer and reporter for NBC5 News. Taylar is from Redding, California and went to California State University, Chico. After graduating, she joined KRCR News Channel 7 in Redding as a morning producer. She moved to Southern Oregon in 2022 to be closer to family and became KTVL News 10’s digital producer. Taylar is currently finishing her Master's Degree in Professional Creative Writing through the University of Denver. In her free time, Taylar frequents independent bookstores and explores hiking trails across Southern Oregon and Northern California.
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