Maguire, E. R., Tyler, D. H. F., Khade, N., & Mora, V. (2023). Crowd reactions to the police use of force at the 2017 Phoenix Trump rally. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. Advance online publication.


This study examines crowd reactions to police use of force at a protest outside of a 2017 campaign-style rally held by U.S. President Donald Trump in Phoenix, Arizona. We rely on a mixed-method analysis that draws on three primary data sources: direct observations, video footage of the protest, and interviews with protesters. We use thematic analysis of the interview responses to identify a set of themes characterizing protesters' psychological and behavioral responses to the police use of force against the crowd. Our analysis integrates the findings from this thematic analysis with evidence from direct observations and video footage. Our findings reveal that the police use of force generated a mix of psychological and behavioral reactions. Respondents described having experienced a range of emotional reactions, including anger, frustration, fear, and concern for the well-being of vulnerable people in the crowd. The two principal behavioral responses were oppositional (expressing anger toward police) and altruistic (providing aid to vulnerable people). While oppositional reactions are well-known in the literature on the police response to protests, much less is known about altruistic reactions in this setting. Future research should seek to clarify the factors that influence both oppositional and altruistic reactions in crowds.

Year: 2023
Language: English
Type: Journal article
Topic: Policing, Crowds
Methodologies: Qualitative analysis