George Floyd’s death is a brutal tragedy and four Minneapolis policemen need to be held accountable for their actions. All four have now been charged in the death of Floyd and a jury of their peers will determine their fate. Anyone who has seen the video of this tragedy knows this is an inexcusable example of bad policing.
It is understandable and altogether fitting that many would protest this situation as unacceptable in our country. Peaceful protests are protected by the First Amendment to our Constitution and no patriotic American should object to those who choose to exercise this right. But violence and looting are never justified in a civil society, especially when those who suffer most are innocent members of the same minority community.
The leaders behind these violent protests would have us believe that police single out blacks for more brutality than whites and more blacks than whites are being killed by police. They use this narrative to justify their violence and to promote defunding and even eliminating police departments in major metropolitan cities such as Minneapolis and New York. This is a false narrative not supported by the facts. Unfortunately, according to WSJ columnist William A. Galston, recent surveys report nearly 6 in 10 Americans believe that police officers generally treat whites better than blacks and are more likely to use excessive force if the suspect is black.
Jason L. Riley, a courageous black journalist for The Wall Street Journal, gives us the inconvenient truth that refutes this false narrative. He reports that in 2016, black Harvard economist Roland Fryer and coauthor Tanaya Devi published their study of police bias in shootings and found results that surprised even them. They found no evidence of police bias and, in fact, found whites were more likely than blacks to suffer violence at the hands of the police.
Their research was confirmed by others at The University of Maryland and Michigan State University in 2019 who concluded: “We didn’t 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.”
Tragically, they also found that when police were investigated for violent incidents that had gone viral, police activity declined and violent crime spiked, especially in minority neighborhoods. This happened in Ferguson, Missouri, after Michael Brown was shot by a police officer. It happened in Chicago after police gunned down Laquan McDonald. It happened in Baltimore after Freddie Gray died in police custody.
Mr. Fryer stressed that it isn’t the investigations themselves that are the problem so much as the circumstances under which they are launched. Investigations that weren’t prompted by well-publicized events resulted in little change in police behavior and violent crime. “But when I look at cities in which the investigation was preceded by a viral event,” he said, “homicide goes up considerably. Total crime goes up considerably.” What happens, he said, is that police effectively pull back. “They don’t stop doing their jobs, but they become less proactive and curb their interactions with civilians.”
Peter Kirsanow is a black attorney and member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He writes in National Review, “The narrative is false. In fact, it’s not just false, it’s upside down. And it’s been false for quite some time. There are racist cops in a nation of 330 million. But 2020 America isn’t 1965 Selma.”
He goes on to say, “Some media recently ran the story that blacks are twice as likely as whites to be shot by cops. On its face, that’s true. But the statement doesn’t consider the comparable encounters with police, especially in high-risk situations, that are likely to prompt exchanges of gunfire or other forms of violence. Consider the following, from the 2018 National Crime Victimization Survey, Census data, FBI Uniform Crime Reports, and other sources:(Unless otherwise noted, most of the data is from 2018.)
- In 2016, 466 whites were killed by police; 233 blacks were killed by police.
- Whites are 76.5 percent of the U.S. population (including Hispanics); blacks are 13.4 percent of the U.S. population.
- Whites commit 59 percent of violent crimes (defined as murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery, aggravated assault); blacks commit 37.5 percent of violent crimes.
- One out of 8,511 blacks is arrested for murder; one in 58,582 whites is arrested for murder.
- Blacks are approximately 6.8 times more likely than whites to be arrested for murder.
- One out of 2,800,438 blacks is arrested for killing a cop; one of 7,674,278 whites is arrested for killing a cop.
- Blacks are 2.74 times more likely than whites to be arrested for killing a cop.
- In 2016, 66 cops were killed in the line of duty; 32 whites and 15 blacks were identified as the killers.
- More than twice as many blacks (533) murdered whites in 2016 than whites (243) murdered blacks.
- Black males are 6 percent of the U.S. population. Black males are responsible for 42 percent of cop killings in the last decade.
- In 2015, a cop was 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male was likely to be killed by a cop.
- In 2016, 222 black males were killed by police. 16 were unarmed. 445 white males were killed by police. 20 were unarmed.
The real tragedy is that every time a black person dies in police custody, other blacks will surely die as a consequence of those who are spreading the false narrative. Kirsanow puts it this way, “Riots are inevitable the next time a black person dies in police custody. People will be killed; property and livelihoods will be destroyed. The false narrative ensures that.”
Kirsanow says contrary to the tweets and posts of some celebrities, blacks aren’t being hunted by whites. He quotes Heather MacDonald who writes, “Between 2012 and 2015, blacks committed 85.5 percent of all black-white interracial violent victimizations (excluding interracial homicide, which is also disproportionately black-on-white). That works out to 540,360 felonious assaults on whites. Whites committed 14.4 percent of all interracial violent victimizations, or 91,470 felonious assaults on blacks.”
I am thankful for these courageous and politically incorrect black leaders who are willing to stand up for the truth and be counted.Tragically, it is the black community that is suffering the most from those who spread these lies. It’s time to stop the false narrative that is dividing our country.