Sunday, June 7, 2020

There is No Systemic Racism in Policing

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Putting the violent rioting aside for a moment, politicians in both parties are insinuating that the killing of George Floyd was racially motivated and reflects a broader injustice against black citizens more than anyone else, which legitimizes the rage undergirding the riots, if not the riots themselves. This assertion is simply not borne out by reality.
According to the Washington Post’s searchable database on police shootings, nine unarmed black people were shot dead by cops in 2019, while 19 unarmed white people shared the same fate. So even before we examine whether these shootings were justified, there were more than twice as many fatal police shootings of white people than of black people.
Now obviously this database only analyzes shootings, not choking incidents, but if the case of Floyd is part of a broad trend rather than an aberration, we are certainly not seeing that reflected in the shootings. One poster on Twitter has done research into the nine cases of unarmed black people being shot by police, and in each one, it appears that the suspect was in the process of using potentially deadly force against the cop or another civilian.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, approximately 53 million people come into contact with the police each year, often with multiple encounters. Now what does this rate look like? Obviously, that doesn’t excuse any maleficent officers, but it also doesn’t justify a broader grievance demanding that every cop kneel to the ground in order to avoid a riot.
If that were the case, don’t other groups have equally “valid grievances” that should justify grinding other people’s lives to a halt? Last August, a Dallas cop shot at a dog charging toward him and killed the white female owner. There were no riots over that. Also last year among the 19 unarmed white people killed by police was a Houston couple killed in a botched drug raid. Two police officers were indicted for tampering with evidence. There were never any protests. Nor would anyone have tolerated them. We should expect the same from all human beings.
As researchers from the University of Michigan and University of Maryland reported last year, “We did not find evidence for anti-Black or anti-Hispanic disparity in police use of force across all shootings, and, if anything, found anti-White disparities when controlling for race-specific crime.”
If anything, according to this study analyzing 917 officer-involved fatal shootings published last August, they found “officers are less likely to fatally shoot Black civilians for fear of public and legal reprisals” and therefore, “all else equal, this would increase the likelihood that a person fatally shot was White vs. Black.” They conclude that “per capita racial disparity in fatal shootings is explained by non-White people’s greater exposure to the police through crime.”
Read the full story from Daniel Horowitz HERE.

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