David Cearley
Jul 7, 2016 · 6 min read

While I completely agree that police officers kill far too many people, your stats are grossly misleading. To be objective, we need to compare the number of police shootings to the number of police stops, not the total population. Minorities are stopped at a higher rate than Whites, but that doesn’t translate to a higher percentage of officer shootings.

Due to the innane responses below I’m going to expound on this. The statistics used in the above article while not technically untruthful are deliberately misleading. Higher percentages of the total Black population are killed in police shootings, but much higher percentages of the Black population are responsible for violent crime or live in high crime areas where officers are more likely to stop anyone. Comparing the number killed to the number of police stops completely discredits your assertion. Black suspects are NOT shot or killed at a higher rate than Whites or Hispanics. To start with according to FBI statistics and NYC statistics, Black males who make up about six percent of the US population are responsible for almost half of ALL murders and Black males are six times more likely to commit murder than White males. To be sure murder is still rare, but a 600% spread in the numbers is still glaring. Police officers are well aware of the statistics, and and I think it clouds their judgement. To the average street officer, if the murder rate for Black males is six times higher than the rest of the population, they rationalize that ANY Black man is six times more likely to kill them. It’s not true of course, but emotional responses are not driven by logic.

From Stefan Molyneux, citing national and NYC crime stats;

“In 2013, black people were 12 times more likely to murder someone of another race than to be murdered by someone of another race…

In 2013, there were about 660,000 crimes of interracial violence involving blacks and whites. Of those 660,000 crimes, blacks were the perpetrators 85% of the time. As of 2013, a black person was 27 times more likely to attack a white person than vice versa. That is, in fact, what you call racism. And victimizing…

In New York City in 2014, a black person was 31 times more likely than a white person to be arrested for murder. Oh you say, it is because the cops are so racist. No, because the arrest rates for minorities are consistent with the complaint rates of the race for alleged perpetrators. 31 times more likely than a white to be arrested for murder.

For the crime of shooting, which is firing a bullet that hits someone, a black was 98 times more likely than a white to be arrested. Is it all really and solely about white racism? Imagine being a cop in New York City?

… These lopsided statistics are burned into your spinal cord, into your reflexes…”

Next, according to a DOJ study in Los Angeles, Black men are ten times more likely than their White counterparts to resist arrest, and there is an obvious correlation between fighting police efforts to arrest and the use of deadly force. To further complicate the mantra that White racist officers are the killers, a DOJ study in Philadelphia found that Black officers shot Black perpetrators at twice the rate of White officers.

The school to prison pipeline? A recent Tulane study of judicial bias by judges found that Black judges issued harsher sentences to Black defendants while White judges gave harsher sentences to White defendants.

The vast majority of people, of any color, are law abiding citizens While Mr Sterling and Mr Castile (killed during a traffic stop in St Paul last night) should both still be alive, their deaths appear to be due primarily to police culture, incompetence and training. The group of officers who ended up struggling on the ground with Mr Sterling never had control of the situation, and their own incompetence put them in fear for their lives with a man they were told in advance had a weapon. One of those officers had previously been investigated for shooting another Black man while on duty. Also problematic is the fact that Mr Sterling was a convicted felon with no legal right to carry a weapon. Mr Castile, on the other hand, had a clean enough record that he held a concealed carry permit, told the officer he had a weapon, and was just a passenger in a vehicle during a routine traffic stop. The video only shows the aftermath of the incident, but the officer is clearly distraught over his deadly mistake.

Yes there are racist officers out there, and there are officers who are (illegitimately) more afraid of Black suspects, but few of these shootings are simply due to race.

When an officer shoots an armed suspect during a physical struggle, I have to give them the benefit of the doubt. Many officers who hesitate die for that mistake. Take a look at this news story about a very polite officer who failed to recognize grave danger. Street officers face this risk every day. This video is NOT graphic.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EY0K1gFb71E

While there are cases of people killed when aren’t resisting, the vast majority of police shootings occur while the person being detained is violently resisting. Sadly officers don’t know who might kill them and who won’t, and far too many people resist arrest even when they are unarmed or are being arrested for very minor crimes. Of the 509 police shootings so far in 2016, 35 suspects were unarmed. While both numbers are problematic, they are not evidence of racism.

As we work backward from the shootings, the biggest issues are departmental policies, DAs, Attorney Generals, the DOJ, state and federal legislatures. Departments are allowed to police themselves without civilian oversight. Communities starved for revenue turn departments into revenue generators by ordering them to assess minor fines and fees the poor can’t pay, and then jailing people too poor to fight. In Louisiana by law, investigators won’t be allowed to interrogate the officers involved in Alton Sterling’s shooting for thirty days. You can thank police unions and compliant legislators for that injustice.

Yes, the development of a police state in the US is a serious problem, and there is a great deal we can do to address those problems. It is NOT however, a race problem and minority suspects are not actually killed at a higher rate.

Marching against police violence won’t do much when the real problems are unaccountable departments, strong police unions, greedy local politicians financing their cities on the backs of the poor and compliant legislators enabling the whole system. For example the federal government requires every department to report every police shooting, but most departments refuse to share the information. The Washington Post data base is actually compiled through newspaper stories because no reliable national database exists. How can we fight a problem the government refuses to collect measurement data on? To see how glaring that issue is, look at Ferguson. It is a majority Black community, but Blacks participate in elections as abysmal rates, so low that Ferguson has a White majority City council. While the entire country focused on the actions of a single police officer, the DOJ investigation so exonerated him their report could have served as exhibit A at any trial. On the other hand, the leadership of the city of Ferguson was shown to be primarily responsible for massive levels of suppressed rage in a community they were elected to serve. That they had pressured the department to make up revenue shortfalls, and that they deliberately targeted those citizens least able to fight injustice. That reality is repeating itself in thousands of communities across the country every single day. Next, you have DAs threatening low level criminals with outrageous sentences if they actually want to face a trial by jury. DAs hate juries, and they love to coerce the poor and disenfranchised into pleading guilty. It pads their conviction rate and helps them win election. Were the people they sentenced guilty? They don’t care.

This is NOT a Black issue. It’s an issue of an unaccountable overbearing state with extraordinary power over the citizens they are employed to serve.

The evidence is all around us. The FBI is collecting dna data for every single arrest and compiling a national database. They need no warrant to collect your phone records, view all your emails, review your browser history for years, follow the location data for your phone and your vehicle for years. They don’t have to tell you what they’re doing, and they don’t need a warrant.

The Dallas police department deployed a bomb on a robot and detonated it to kill the shooting suspect, the first ever legally sanctioned remote control execution on US soil. Yes,we have a serious problem, but it goes far beyond stupid shootings by incompetent police officers.

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