Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice


Charlene Desir

Committee Member

James Pann

Committee Member

Marcelo Castro


Haitian immigrants, fear of contact, positive encounter, reluctance, and avoidance


This dissertation presents a qualitative phenomenological exploration of the interactions between Haitian immigrants residing in South Florida and law enforcement. Despite existing research on the experiences of Blacks with the police, there is a noticeable gap concerning the unique encounters of Haitian immigrants, who bring distinct cultural, historical, and linguistic backgrounds to their interactions with law enforcement. Given the increasing population of Haitian immigrants in the United States, this study sought to comprehensively examine their encounters, treatment, and experiences with the police, including aspects such as demeanor, contact handling, and the resultant impact on their perceptions. Through in-depth interviews with ten Haitian immigrants, the phenomenological approach facilitated the unraveling of their lived experiences, providing profound insights into decision-making processes, thought patterns, and views of the police. Data analysis using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) revealed four major themes: positive encounters with the police, fear of contact with the police, traumatic experiences with the police, and reluctance and avoidance of contact with the police. These findings contribute to a deeper understanding of the complex dynamics between Haitian immigrants and law enforcement, offering implications for policy, practice, and future research in the realm of policing and immigrant communities.