As the Left continues to embrace identity politics, there’s no shortage of groups pushing ideologies of victim-hood to win over converts. The most prominent on the national scene is the Black Lives Matter movement, which originated online following the acquittal of Trayvon Martin, and hit the streets following the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
Their message is clear: when it comes to policing, blacks are treated differently. Since originating, the number of martyrs their cause has claimed has grown, but setting aside those cases (most of which were completely justified), do the statistics confirm their narrative? The latest video produced for Prager University, titled “Are the Police Racist?” featured American Enterprise Institute scholar Heather MacDonald, gives a fantastic overview of the numbers, completely blowing the BLM narrative out of the water.
Does the truth matter?
Not to groups like Black Lives Matter. That’s tragic for many reasons, not the least of which is that black lives are being lost as a result. When it comes to the subject of American police, blacks, and the deadly use of force, here is what we know:
A recent “deadly force” study by Washington State University researcher Lois James found that police officers were LESS likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than unarmed white or Hispanic ones in simulated threat scenarios. Harvard economics professor Roland Fryer analyzed more than 1,000 officer-involved shootings across the country. He concluded that there is ZERO evidence of racial bias in police shootings. In Houston, he found that blacks were 24% LESS likely than whites to be shot by officers even though the suspects were armed or violent.
An analysis of the Washington Post’s Police Shooting Database and of Federal Crime Statistics reveals that fully twelve percent of all whites and Hispanics who die of homicide are killed by cops. By contrast, only four percent of black homicide victims are killed by cops.
But isn’t it a sign of bias that blacks make up 26% of police-shooting victims, but only 13% of the national population? It is not, and common sense suggests why. Police shootings occur more frequently where officers confront armed or violently resisting suspects. Those suspects are disproportionately black.
According to the most recent study by the Department of Justice, although blacks were only about 15% of the population in the 75 largest counties in the US, they were charged with 62% of all robberies, 57% of murders and 45% of assaults. In New York City, blacks commit over three-quarters of all shootings, though they are only 23% of the city’s population. Whites, by contrast, commit under 2% of all shootings in the city, though they are 34% of the population. New York’s crime disparities are repeated in virtually every racially diverse city in America. The real problem facing inner-city black communities today is not the police but criminals.
When you look at the problems that truly affect the black community, you can’t help but wonder if Black Lives Matter — and the black community as a whole — actually believe black lives matter.
[Note: This post was written by The Analytical Economist]