The liberal media continues to paint a very one-sided view of officer involved shootings in this country. Just this week, officers from Tulsa have been tried and convicted by the media in what has been labeled a racially charged shooting of an unarmed black man.
Yet there’s a lot more to the story. Many who come to the defense of cops rightfully point out that the Black Lives Matter Movement doesn’t focus enough on blacks on black violence, which has much bigger consequences for African Americans.
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And then there’s the very real details about officer involved shootings. The data, it seems, suggests that these aren’t as racially motivated as some of the most sensational news stories would suggest.
Heather Mac Donald, author of a new book on the subject, has been working to compile all of the available information, and here’s what she’s uncovered.
1. The Washington Post’s data show that 50 percent of fatal police shootings involved whites. 26 percent were black. The majority of these incidents involved criminals who “were armed or otherwise threatening the officer with potentially lethal force,” Mac Donald said in a recent speech at Hillsdale College.
Whites comprise 62 percent of the population. Blacks make up just 13 percent. So there is some disparity in these numbers.
Yet “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.
MacDonald noted that blacks “commit 75 percent of all shootings, 70 percent of all robberies, and 66 percent of all violent crime” in New York City, where they make up just 23 percent of the population.
“The black violent crime rate would actually predict that more than 26 percent of police victims would be black,” MacDonald said. “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.”
2.While much of the attention has been placed on shootings that appear racially motivated, whites and Hispanics die in greater numbers. Statistically, 12 percent of whites and Hispanics that died in homicides were killed by police. Only four percent of the blacks that died in homicides were killed by 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 Mac Donald in her Hillsdale speech.
3. One are where the posts data meets the public’s expectations is in the area of unarmed deaths.
The Post’s data shows unarmed black men are more likely to die at the hands of police than unarmed white men.Yet there is an issue with the term “unarmed.” Mac Donald explains:
“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.”
4. A Department of Justice report in 2015 from the Philadelphia Police Department showed that black and Hispanic officers were more likely to discharge their weapons. This was backed up by a study conducted University of Pennsylvania criminologist Greg Ridgeway in 2015. He concluded that black cops were 3.3 times more likely to fire their guns.
5. Data from the FBI shows that 40 percent of convicted cop killers are black. According to Mac Donald, a cop is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black man than an unarmed black man is to be killed by a cop.
The biggest effect of the media’s attention on the Black Lives Matter movement is what Mac Donald calls the “Ferguson Effect.” In essence, cops are scared to police violent neighborhoods because they fear public response to necessary police work. As a result, we have a massive spike in violent crime in places like Chicago.