Comment has been rife throughout this year about supposed targeting of black Americans by police. Activist groups, such as Black Lives Matter, have conducted raucous protests with ensuing riots, have cultivated a narrative that the deaths of Philando Castile, Michael Brown, and Alton Sterling, give evidence of widespread violent racism directed solely at black people.
Statistics tell a different story, as does anecdotal evidence. For example, an unarmed deaf white man was recently shot to death by a black state trooper in North Carolina, while earlier this year an unarmed black man under the influence of narcotics was shot to death by a Latino cop. Here follows evidence from several sources:
Whites are twice as likely to be shot by police
According to The Washington Post
, 50 percent of the victims of fatal police shootings were white, while 26 percent were black. The majority had a firearm in their possession or "were armed or otherwise threatening the officer with potentially lethal force," according to Heather MacDonald in a speech this year at Hillsdale College
While some argue that these numbers are themselves evidence of racism directed against blacks, because whites constitute 62 percent of the population and blacks make up 13 percent of the population, MacDonald wrote in The Wall Street Journal
that 2009 statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics reveal that blacks were charged with 62 percent of robberies, 57 percent of murders and 45 percent of assaults in the 75 largest counties in the country. This was despite the fact that blacks made up about 15 percent of the population in those counties.
"Such a concentration of criminal violence in minority communities means that officers will be disproportionately confronting armed and often resisting suspects in those communities, raising officers’ own risk of using lethal force," wrote MacDonald.
She also said in her speech this spring at Hillsdale that black Americans "commit 75 percent of all shootings, 70 percent of all robberies, and 66 percent of all violent crime" in New York City, even though they make up but 23 percent of the city's population. She said, "The black violent crime rate would actually predict that more than 26 percent of police victims would be black.” She added, "Officer use of force will occur where the police interact most often with violent criminals, armed suspects, and those resisting arrest, and that is in black neighborhoods."
Whites and Hispanics more likely to die at the hands of police than blacks
MacDonald said in her Hillsdale speech, 12 percent of white and Hispanic homicide deaths were attributable to police officers. In contrast, four percent of black homicide deaths were at the hands of police. "If we’re going to have a 'Lives Matter' anti-police movement, it would be more appropriately named "White and Hispanic Lives Matter,'" said MacDonald.
While data reported in The Washington Post
may show that unarmed black men are more likely to die by the gun of a police officer than an unarmed white man, MacDonald contends that this is not the complete picture. The ratio was seven-to-one of unarmed black men dying from police gunshots in August 2015, compared to unarmed white men. By the end of 2015, it was six-to-one. Mac Donald points out at The Marshall Project
website that the details of the actual incidents bear examination:
“The ‘unarmed’ label is literally accurate, but it frequently fails to convey highly-charged policing situations. In a number of cases, if the victim ended up being unarmed, it was certainly not for lack of trying. At least five black victims had reportedly tried to grab the officer’s gun, or had been beating the cop with his own equipment. Some were shot from an accidental discharge triggered by their own assault on the officer. And two individuals included in the Post’s “unarmed black victims” category were struck by stray bullets aimed at someone else in justified cop shootings. If the victims were not the intended targets, then racism could have played no role in their deaths.
“In one of those unintended cases, an undercover cop from the New York Police Department was conducting a gun sting in Mount Vernon, just north of New York City. One of the gun traffickers jumped into the cop’s car, stuck a pistol to his head, grabbed $2,400 and fled. The officer gave chase and opened fire after the thief again pointed his gun at him. Two of the officer’s bullets accidentally hit a 61-year-old bystander, killing him. That older man happened to be black, but his race had nothing to do with his tragic death. In the other collateral damage case, Virginia Beach, Virginia, officers approached a car parked at a convenience store that had a homicide suspect in the passenger seat. The suspect opened fire, sending a bullet through an officer’s shirt. The cops returned fire, killing their assailant as well as a woman in the driver’s seat. That woman entered the Post’s database without qualification as an “unarmed black victim” of police fire.”
Mac Donald examines a number of other instances, including unarmed black men in San Diego, CA and Prince George's County, MD attempting to reach for a gun in a police officer's holster. In the San Diego case, the unarmed black man actually "jumped the officer" and assaulted him, and the cop shot the man since he was "fearing for his life." MacDonald also notes that there was an instance in 2015 where "three officers were killed with their own guns, which the suspects had wrestled from them."
Black and Hispanic police officers are quicker on the trigger
According to a 2015 Justice Department report about Philadelphia police, black and Hispanic officers are more likely to fire a gun at blacks than white officers. This was further confirmed in a study
by Greg Ridgeway
of the University of Pennsylvania, who found that black officers were 3.3 times more likely to fire a gun than other police on the scene.
Blacks are more likely to kill cops than be killed by cops.
FBI data found that 40 percent of cop killers are black. Mac Donald contends that a police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black shooter than a cop killing an unarmed black person.
The rhetoric of the left, the Black Lives Matter movement, and Democrats, has resulted in what researcher MacDonald has dubbed "Ferguson Effect:" a reference to the 2014 shooting death of a 18-year-old black male, Michael Brown, at the hands of a white police officer in Ferguson MO. Since then, murders have spiked, says MacDonald, by 17 percent among the 50 biggest cities in the U.S. because officers are more reluctant to intervene in some neighborhoods because they fear the “racist” label.