Young African-American Males 21 Times More Likely To Be Shot By Cops
The numbers don't lie.
A new study from ProPublica shows that young African-American men are disproportionately more likely to be shot by police than any other demographic group:
Young black males in recent years were at a far greater risk of being shot dead by police than their white counterparts – 21 times greater i, according to a ProPublica analysis of federally collected data on fatal police shootings.
The 1,217 deadly police shootings from 2010 to 2012 captured in the federal data show that blacks, age 15 to 19, were killed at a rate of 31.17 per million, while just 1.47 per million white males in that age range died at the hands of police.
One way of appreciating that stark disparity, ProPublica’s analysis shows, is to calculate how many more whites over those three years would have had to have been killed for them to have been at equal risk. The number is jarring – 185, more than one per week.
ProPublica’s risk analysis on young males killed by police certainly seems to support what has been an article of faith in the African American community for decades: Blacks are being killed at disturbing rates when set against the rest of the American population.
Our examination involved detailed accounts of more than 12,000 police homicides stretching from 1980 to 2012 contained in the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Report. The data, annually self-reported by hundreds of police departments across the country, confirms some assumptions, runs counter to others, and adds nuance to a wide range of questions about the use of deadly police force.
Colin Loftin, University at Albany professor and co-director of the Violence Research Group, said the FBI data is a minimum count of homicides by police, and that it is impossible to precisely measure what puts people at risk of homicide by police without more and better records. Still, what the data shows about the race of victims and officers, and the circumstances of killings, are “certainly relevant,” Loftin said.
“No question, there are all kinds of racial disparities across our criminal justice system,” he said. “This is one example.”
The numbers also show that the circumstances under which young African-American men were killed by police seemed to be ones in which the officer’s lives were not threatened:
What were the circumstances surrounding all these fatal encounters?
There were 151 instances in which police noted that teens they had shot dead had been fleeing or resisting arrest at the time of the encounter. 67 percent of those killed in such circumstances were black. That disparity was even starker in the last couple of years: of the 15 teens shot fleeing arrest from 2010 to 2012, 14 were black.
Did police always list the circumstances of the killings? No, actually, there were many deadly shooting where the circumstances were listed as “undetermined.” 77 percent of those killed in such instances were black.
As noted, this has been something of an article of faith among African-Americans for some time now, and one doubts that they need statistics to prove for them something that they experience far more directly than someone in my position ever will. Nonetheless, numbers like this are helpful, I think, in understanding the reaction that we see to cases like that of Michael Brown or, more recently the teenager who was shot in St. Louis under circumstances that continue to remain murky. In some ways, though, the individual facts of those cases do not matter to the people who turn out to protest so much as the fact that these individual cases tend to reinforce the zeitgeist that African-Americans, especially those who live in poorer communities and inner cities, live in every day. It’s informed not only by the deaths of people they know or have heard of, but also by their own daily interactions with law enforcement, where there is also clear evidence that African-Americans, and especially African-American males are treated differently, and far more suspiciously, than members of any other ethnic group. This is a reality that I think is hard for those of us who aren’t African-American to understand, but between news reports and personal testimonials from people who are doing something as innocent as driving through certain neighborhoods at night it’s hard to deny that it does not exist. Indeed, one would have to stick one’s head in the sand to come to that conclusion.
To a large degree, it is the belief among the African-American community that they are disproportionately targeted by the police that informs the way they react to incidents like the shooting of Michael Brown, the shooting last week in St. Louis, or the death of Eric Garner in New York City, which apparently was caused by NYPD officers using a choke hold that had already been banned because of its likelihood to lead to death. In some sense, the individual facts of these cases matter less than the fact that their very occurrence tends to reinforce something that the people protesting believe to be true, a belief that is informed by their own experiences. Until we understand this, we are not going to be able to understand or address the real reasons that things like the protests in Ferguson, Missouri happen.
To paraphrase Mike “Huckster” Huckabee.
The police believe that young black male American Citizens need to be “forced at gunpoint” to act white.
Not statistically representative of the country as a whole. The report says,”The data, for instance, is (sic) terribly incomplete. Vast numbers of the country’s 17,000 police departments don’t file fatal police shooting reports at all, and many have filed reports for some years but not others. …. Still, lots of the reporting police departments are in larger cities, and at least 1000 police departments filed a report or reports over the 33 years.” Looks like you got a huge big city police department problem — cities run almost exclusively by Democrats. Clean house baby.
@Let’s Be Free:
Ah that’s it. It’s just an “unhappy coincidence” I suppose.
I almost didn’t recognize you without your sheets on.
@Let’s Be Free:..that would be free of rational thought. Why don’t you reach in your back pocket and scratch your brains!
So for all of the policy wonks out there, what would be an acceptable odds ratio and what policy should the government adopt to make it happen. Remember, telling the police to stop shooting blacks is not a policy,
Yes, it’s sad but true. According to the CDC it’s also true that the leading cause of death among young black men aged 18-34 is young black men aged 18-34.
However, that’s an urban phenomenon. According to the FBI homicide rates among rural blacks approximate those among rural whites.
The homicide rate among black teenagers is ten times as high as for whites, so why would we expect the shooting rate to be the same for blacks as for whites? This is largely (but not entirely) the product of differences in crime rates rather than racism by police.
The Justice Department’s own data shows that the murder rate is six times higher among black adults than among white adults, with nearly as many murders committed by the small percentage of the population that is black (13%) as by the entire, much larger white population.
Heather Mac Donald noted in National Review that the adolescent homicide rate is ten times higher for blacks than for whites.
Disparities in arrest or shooting rates do not prove racism if there are in fact disparities in crime rates (i.e., higher crime rates among blacks than whites), as the Supreme Court made clear back in United States v. Armstrong.
A link to the Armstrong decision, and to the Justice Department’s own data showing massive differences in crime rates between blacks and whites (something that Eric Holder would prefer to ignore), click on the hyperlinks embedded in this article, which links to Justice Department and Bureau of Justice Statistics data showing the murder rate is many times higher among blacks than whites:
@superdestroyer: Well, the first thing we need to do is get good data, since this is fairly spotty data. You need good metrics to have any idea whether your policies are effective. So, we need federal tracking of all police shooting incidents — injuries and fatalities.
There will be problems with that, since it is self reported in many cases. Body cameras would be helpful to monitor the self-reported data. Perhaps have the body cameras activate automatically when the officer draws his weapon — should be doable. And with 911 calls already being recorded, we can get rough data on total calls, total weapons drawn (if we make these hypothetical body cameras), and total shootings at a detailed level.
Body cameras may also affect the results, but there is no one suggesting that it will increase the number of shootings, so we are ok with that.
We would probably need several years worth of data to piece together the big picture from all these isolated incidents, but there are likely to be very obvious trends and hot spots that can be looked at before then.
@Let’s Be Free:
That made me laugh so hard I had to clean the screen and start another pot of coffee.
Hey, everyone, did you hear? Democrats are killing black people!
Forgive me if I’m being ungenerous, Hans, since I don’t know you, but why are you so eager to clear “racism” as the cause of this discrepancy?
Actually, it’s just homicide. The race and age of the killers is left out of the data and may include, you know, cops.
Uniform reporting should be done. Liberals like to point out that the police cover up their own misbehavior and they do. However, many deep blue cities have been accused of lowering their reported crime rate by refusing to count many crimes such as assaults.
But if you get good data and it shows that the rate of be killed by the police is similar to the rate of crimes committed by each race, will progressive be satisfied or will they keep playing the race card?
Considering that about 90% of blacks are killed by other blacks, then yes, the most dangerous person for a black person to be around is another black person. Look at the media goes crazy when a black male is killed by the police but does not care when a black man is Ferguson, MO is killed by another black, no one cares. http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/man-shot-at-ferguson-apartment-complex-dies/article_385e5a87-fc92-5696-9494-7b0660197310.html
According to the Institute of Made-up Statistics, only 47% of black people are killed by other black people.
You really wanna get at the causes of these figures you cite?
Address the crime figures among that same group.
I call to your attention from the New York Times of all places…
You know who kills more young white men than any other group? Other white men.
You know who kills more young black males than any other group? Young black males?
This whole canard about “black on black crime” is bullshit. Every ethnic group kills more of their own than any other group. Asians kills Asians. Latinos kills Latinos. Blacks kills blacks. Whites kills whites. So stop with the “black on black crime” canard. It’s a weak argument not rooted in any fact.
In Ohio, a black man walking through Walmart with a plastic toy gun taken off the shelf of that very Wal-Mart, TALKING ON HIS CELL PHONE, was shot dead. This despite that Ohio has a “right to carrry” law. Two weeks prevous, in a 911 call with scary whites brandishing rifles, police politely went to the white men and asked for thier ID. EVEN WHEN THE GUN-WEILDING citizens refused to hand over ID, the men were not shot dead. Unlike the black man in Walmart, holding a TOY gun.
Data doesn’t lie. Cops kill more black men, unjustly, than any other racial group.
No racism there.
My own nightclub witnessed some pretty good examples of how Blacks are treated differently than Whites. My nightclub is in a largely Black or mixed race area of Northeast Portland, OR, and I used to hire an all Black work crew, with the exception my girlfriend, one bartender and myself who were Jews, and on nights where I would feature R&B music or Hip Hop acts, all night long you would see city inspectors, fire department, police, police gang enforcement units, county inspectors, Oregon Liquor Control officers who would do walk throughs or other harassment all night long. But, then when I’d have most White rock shows, then not a single one of these officers or agents show up all night. In a supposedly liberal city like Portland, race based politics is very much alive and government at all levels seems to equate skin color to gang ties even if it’s some 70 year old men coming in the club for a New Years event. It’s paranoid and nonsensical. – So we switched venues back to a strip club, which has actually cut government harassment significantly.
Police and government are so conservative and out of step with culture, that you play almost any popular song by a Black artist in the club, and they are convinced that you’re pandering to hoodlums. Heck, a lot of White artists like Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke and Britney Spears are heavily influenced by Hip Hop, but none of their music is any more a gang attraction than playing Sammy Davis, Jr. – Last night the DJ even played a few country songs. – That’s got to be like kryptonite for gang members?
Last night some city inspectors stopped by again, once again bringing up the nonsense that the club used to be a gang member hangout and even claiming that some local steakhouse was now a gang hangout. – Yeah, ever since they put in that salad bar, the Bloods and Crips were drawn to that like a magnet. Right…
With this sort of mentality in the minds of law enforcement, they are too quick to assume that all Blacks are gang members, or are carrying a weapon. – This only sets many Blacks up to be a victim of police gunfire at a hair’s trigger, for even very minor things, such as a routine traffic stop or even “driving while Black”.
@EddieInCA: In Ohio, a black man walking through Walmart with a plastic toy gun taken off the shelf of that very Wal-Mart, TALKING ON HIS CELL PHONE, was shot dead. This despite that Ohio has a “right to carrry” law. Two weeks prevous, in a 911 call with scary whites brandishing rifles, police politely went to the white men and asked for thier ID. EVEN WHEN THE GUN-WEILDING citizens refused to hand over ID, the men were not shot dead. Unlike the black man in Walmart, holding a TOY gun.
In the Ohio Wal-Mart case, the caller out and out lied on the 911 call. They said he was pointing the gun at other customers, when he did no such thing. The caller should be charged.
But on the main issue, one factor not recorded is the race of the police officers involved. Not all cops are white.
And one obvious solution is to impose quotas on police shootings. Once a cop shoots a young black man, he’s not allowed to shoot another until he’s shot at least one white person and one woman. We can fine tune the ratios later, factoring in other groups like Asians and Hispanics. We’ll also have to decide how we credit shootings of those of mixed race. Sexual orientation should also be taken into account.
I’m not certain how we’ll account for the transgendered…
Let me simplify:
1) Black people are right about white racism.
2) White people are f–ing deluded about white racism.
Zero percent of black people are surprised by this. The whites who are surprised – or offering pathetic racist apologies as we see in some instances upstream in this comment thread – need to take the blinders off.
Simple rule: if a Jew call anti-semitism, if a woman calls sexism, if a gay calls homophobia or a black calls racism, there’s a 90% chance they’re right. Just accept that. The majority is never right, the minority almost always is. They know.
@Jenos Idanian #13: Or crazy idea, we crack down on police who shoot people. We don’t give them all MRAPS and M16s. The crazy idea that the police are public servants that serve the community not soldiers occupying a hostile territory. That will also likely crackdown on all the injuries from no knock warrants served to the wrong houses, the amount of dogs shot by cops while serving warrants and babies getting burned from flash bang grenades thrown into their cribs. Wacky idea, I know but maybe the police shouldn’t get the chance to shoot their firearms as often as they do. Isn’t this why they carry tasers. There are non lethal options that should be the first used.
Yeah, and there will be a bounty on the brain dead like you.
I guess pushing the “Google button” is too hard for progressive these days. To you really think that snark is all that a progressive needs.
Do I really need to dig up the Tawan Brawley scandal, the Duke Lacrosse case, and that massive number of bogus racist graffiti cases to show that blacks are very willing to scream racism when no racism exist.
I guess the first rule of progressive is that a black person is always assumed to be right but a white middle class Republican is always assumed to be wrong. I could bury any progressive in statistics that shows that they are wrong but I know that progressive refuse to believe in data point that does not support their preconceived notions.
Here’s another fun fact. While blacks only constitute 13% of the population, they account for 40% of assailants of police officers feloniously killed in the line of duty.
We’ve been over this, SD. Look at this photo —>
See that guy? Not a progressive. I’m a liberal in a libertarian’s body.
And yes, I realize I was being a bit too snarky. I’ve been formulating a more carefully considered comment that I guess I’ll just shelve for now. Let me just say this:
If you that the crime/homicide rate for blacks proves something uniquely awful about people who are black, then I will not only disagree vociferously…..I will call that what it is: racism.
The conservative impulse to point to “black-on-black” crime whenever somebody highlights unjust police shootings strikes me as an example of the Fallacy of Relative Privation.
Yes, it’s sad that many young black men are killed by other young black men, but it’s wholly beside the point when we’re talking about police shootings. If cops are being unjustifiably aggressive towards blacks, that’s a problem, it’s an injustice, and it would be just as much an injustice if one “black-on-black” homicide occurred last year, or one million.
What do you think that means, Gavrilo?
Lemme guess…..nothing racist!
Here’s one thing we can agree on: you are a racist.
I’ve pointed this out many times, and you’ve never even denied it. So cut the bullsh-t. I don’t know who you think you fool but it’s no one with an IQ above room temperature.
@superdestroyer: How about making cops liable for the unarmed black people they shoot? You would, or at least should, be.
Theonatt great point
I can see absolutely no downside to body cameras. It will help the DAs, keep police accountable, and immediately shed light on what happened in a shooting.
What it means is that black males, statistically as it relates to their representation in the overall population, commit more violent crime than other racial groups. That is simply a fact. And, it just might be a contributing factor as to why they are more likely to be killed by the police.
And, no, i don’t believe that propensity for violence is a racial characteristic. I believe it is cultural characteristic.
While I’m supportive of expanding body-camera use for police, I do not think we should rely on a technical solution to a non-technical problem. That is, the problem isn’t police acting like no one’s watching and lying about shootings.
The problem is that they sometimes shoot with the flimsiest of justifications, and –worse– the justifications are bought (mostly) by a credulous public. “Oh he had a gun? Well you had to shoot him then.”
I say, implement body cameras and a “violence as a last resort” doctrine. If things remain “shoot first, ask questions later” then body cameras will only provide us footage to show on CNN. They might not change the outcome one little bit.
@James Pearce: I don’t have a problem w this but this will take extensive training/retraining (a new mind set for some). Body cameras can be done as fast as amazon can get them there ( a bit of an exaggeration )
I feel like being a peacemaker here. So, in that spirit, let me propose three things we can all agree upon.
1) Cop cameras: good.
2) Cops with heavy military-grade equipment: bad
3) Reality is racist.
Jenos- I would also say we have a real chicken and egg problem. More cops might be killed by blacks, but more blacks are killed by cops.
There’s a kernel of a point here, which I will return to, but before I do, I’d like to circle back to this:
Well, it’s not actually a fact, but I don’t feel like quibbling about the difference between “committing a crime” and “being accused of a crime.”
Your comment does illustrate the fundamental differences in our viewpoints, though.
You seem to think the crime rate amongst the black population can be attributed to deficiencies in black culture. We are told this is not a “racist” idea.
Well, it is. I’m sorry, but that’s about as pure an expression of racism as such a thing can get.
To make it even worse, there’s a better, more compelling explanation for the crime rate in the black population that is not actually racist. Call it a legacy of the explicit structural racism we’ve only begun to dismantle in living memory.
@James Pearce: Call it a legacy of the explicit structural racism we’ve only begun to dismantle in living memory.
Way to piss all over 150+ years of progress on fighting racism. Even being generous with life expectancies, you’re ignoring at least half of that time.
@steve: I would also say we have a real chicken and egg problem. More cops might be killed by blacks, but more blacks are killed by cops.
And more blacks are killed by blacks. Much like radical Islamists tend to kill more Muslims than any other group.
Part of it is explainable by voluntary segregation — there are a lot of people who simply feel more comfortable in areas where they are part of the dominant race/class/religion. Therefore, the people you are most likely to interact with in any way are like you. You’re more likely to date, befriend, marry, fight with, and victimize those nearest to you. But it’s not the only factor…
1. The numbers don’t lie, but they don’t necessarily mean what you may think they mean either when taken wholly out of context. I can’t quite understand how trying to tie this to Michael Brown and Darren Wilson as some sort of dispositive innuendo is helpful.
2. African Americans aren’t treated equally in their interactions with police. I never understand why people say this is hard for white Americans to understand. I understand it perfectly but like most everyone else who is serious about it, I have no idea how to actually effect the kind of institutional and civil changes we would all like to see. Being aware of and understanding any problem is necessary to solve it, but these are generally far from sufficient in real life. The problems that underlie this behavior by officialdom are deep, historical, cultural, and maybe beyond our ability to ever completely solve. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep trying to make things better, only that men will never be angels. But I digress.
3. The protests in Ferguson have next to nothing to do with Micheal Brown any longer. They have become a flashpoint for every grievance organization who wants a little publicity to get some. The latest list I saw of all the organizations now marching in St. Louis did not include any group out of, you know, Ferguson. Perhaps these groups have legitimate grievances, but they don’t have much to do with the shooting of Michael Brown.
4. IMHO, if things remain “murky” regarding the shooting of Michael Brown it is primarily because the authorities investigating and the defense team working in front of a grand jury right now aren’t grandstanding and trying the case in the media. Meanwhile there are a number of wild claims that have been utterly discredited still being made in the streets and in disreputable media outlets. Is giving these claims credence the source of the “murkiness” you describe? Again, IMHO, if it was a bad shooting I would guess that the defense would have played it a great deal slimier than they have. Instead they have remained quiet, clinical and working the process as it should be worked through the justice system. I assume this is because they are quite confident concerning the forensic information and see no benefit at all to trying to assert Darren Wilson’s innocence in the public square. The local authorities know that not indicting Darren Wilson will be problematic, but what if the evidence doesn’t support an indictment? My conjectures may be wrong, and Darren Wilson may be guilty as sin. I don’t know, but you don’t either. Either way, DOJ is almost certain to pursue civil rights charges afterwards.
5. Far too many people in St. Louis have revealed very ugly sides lately. I don’t know if you hear about these things nationally, but the small protests to disrupt events, such as the St. Louis Symphony and the National League playoffs are regrettable and uncivil, as has been the frequently racist heckling in response. The angels seem to have abandoned us.
6. I don’t see how the real problems in Ferguson and elsewhere that can result in the shooting of Michael Brown are going to be addressed in the current climate. This is sad and it is a real and ongoing tragedy that the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death may be making things worse rather than better. Michael Brown’s death perhaps could have led to some real changes if people of goodwill tried to address them. Instead, the protests have been hijacked for all sorts of ideological agenda purposes, and calmer voices have been shunted aside or drowned out in the cacophony of slogans and direct action. This post and the subsequent thread is a perfect example of how poisoned the well has become on race and why so little progress is possible in today’s environment. And now like Mersualt on the scaffold I’ll watch in absurd amusement as the crowd down votes this comment with hoots and howls.
@charles austin: You raise some very interesting points. One thing that jumped out at me:
I understand it perfectly but like most everyone else who is serious about it, I have no idea how to actually effect the kind of institutional and civil changes we would all like to see.
I’d elaborate on that: while it seems no one has any idea how to make things better, I personally can see a lot of the proposed solutions making things considerably worse.
Copcams would be a good start. Getting rid of glory-seeking demagogues like Jackson and Sharpton would be another.
THIS ^^^ . Body cameras are a good thing, but we’ve seen cops get let off even when cameras showed they were clearly in the wrong. John Crawford was gunned down on tape; the jury didn’t care. Kelly Thomas was beaten to death on tape; the jury didn’t care. The problem is that we have cops armed to the teeth with military weapons, given blanket authority to us force, told they are in constant danger (police shooting are the lowest in over a century) and are never disciplined when they shoot someone. Until that gung-ho culture changes, you can festoon cops with cameras. It still won’t change things.
So, since blacks are slightly more than 3 times as likely to kill police officers than expected by demographics, they should be killed by police officers 21 times as often as whites.
Well, that clears that up, although there is the question of why that fact is fun.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
How are you proposing “getting rid” of them?
Ok, more seriously, how does Al Sharpton — even the Al Sharpton of your imagination — cause more African-Americans to get shot by police?
And, by Jackson, do you mean Jesse or Samuel L.?
Let’s just pretend Sharpton, Jackson, and every other recognizable black pundit, spokesperson, politician or actor is in fact a horrible problem for America. Why do you think they are a cause rather than a symptom? Could they be successful if there wasn’t anger about the issues they speak out about (be it systemic racism, police violence, or snakes on planes)?
One correction, if I may, in my editing I implied the defense team is working in front of the grand jury, but we all know that’s not how it works. The rewording was not quite what I meant to say, but I hope you know what I meant to write.
As for the demonstrations, the NY Times provides direct evidence of what I wrote: “This is the perfect opportunity for organized labor to get out the message of equality in the workplace,” said Mike Louis, the president of the Missouri A.F.L.-C.I.O. “We’re here for economic justice.”
Well, the “more likely to be shot” number should be tempered with the fact that African American males are more likely to be the perpetrator of violent crimes
Such higher perpetration rates means that they will more likely have a higher violent interaction with police during interdiction or arrest. The only crimes Whites are the higher perpetrator is in liquor law violations and DUIs. Neither are likely to lead to a violent interaction with police.
Now, if the stats showed a significant higher rate of being shot while being interdicted or arrested for similar violent felonies, then we might have some useful information.
I’ve lost where I saw it but I did see a chart showing an increase in African-American crime rates that correlated with the introduction of the Great Society (welfare) program.
Reality is also the ebola virus.
That does not mean it is somthing that we have to accept.
@Hans: I knew that someone would go to “well maybe black young people are 21 times more likely to commit crimes” eventually. Thanks for not letting me down!
@PAUL HOOSON: I’m not normally a fan, but when you’re right, you’re right. Spot on here!
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Funny, you never seem to advocate getting rid of glory-seeking demagogues like Limbaugh and Hannity. One could get the idea you are a RAAAAAAAACIST.
From the outrage of the libtards here you’d think that white cops don’t do anything at all except hunt for black men to kill.
Question: How much money would it take for you liberal heroes to go down a dark alley and get the meth-crazed idiot who has a gun and is screaming at you? $70K? $100K? $200K ?
Heck, let’s turn down the heat. How much money to get out of your car and confront a road rage idiot on steroids?
So then, you’ve decided to go full on troll…
EddieinCA already said it, but I have to say it too: The stupid part of bringing up black on black crime is that it’s true for all races. Whites are also more likely to be killed by whites. That doesn’t mean that white people are especially dangerous anymore than it means that everyone should stay single simply because you are much more likely to get murdered by your spouse.
Even the “propensity for crime” arguments don’t make sense. Let’s grant the idea that blacks are more likely to commit crimes. That doesn’t explain why black criminals would be shot at higher rates than whites. That’s the entire point of using rates instead of whole numbers.
These “arguments” aren’t arguments at all. Not for anyone with a bit of logic. This is just a bunch of things that racists like to bring up because they are racist.
@anjin-san: a step you took years ago.
tell ya what…. just for laughs how about actually answering his question?
or are you an armchair warrior?
@Console: when you explain what that has to do with their overall crime rate vs other groups, you might have something.
I suggest you cannot without defeating your own argument.
I invite you to prove me wrong.
Because it is laughably stupid?
BTW, I was a bartender for a long time. Your risk of violence in that job is similar to a cops. Does that mean I should be able to use black people for target practice?
Thanks for this post, Doug. I notice the usual suspects have come up with the usual nonsense trying to explain away the shocking disparity in the rates of African-American males shot by cops.
The problem is caused partly by the “War on (some) Drugs”, partly by the society’s gun addiction, and a lot by past and continuing racism. Since conservatives often favor the the Drug War, favor gun addiction, and either participate or are in denial about racism, they can’t really even admit the problem exists.
Solutions are difficult to implement. Drug law reform is the easiest place to start, and has begun. The gun addiction problem seemsintractable, but the statistics are just so overwhelming (German Police Used Only 85 Bullets Against People in 2011) that eventually sheer logic will prevail, once a lot of the present generation die off.
I believe the same will happen with the racism component.
How does one act white? This is one of the problems we have as a society. One cannot act or talk “white” or “black.” Blacks themselves, as well as whites, use this concept to pillory blacks who become successful in traditional areas of wealth or propriety such as education and business. The frustration of blacks who do not speak in AAVE and who are accused by other blacks and whites of “talking white” and selling out is palpable.
What we are saying there, essentially, is that a black person does not live in a housing project or ghetto, who has an education, who has money, etc. is somehow acting white.
It’s tragic how these cops are being victimized.
@Jenos Idanian #13: @Eric Florack:
People like you, on issues like this, are reasons why, if not for one or two pet issues, I would leave the Republican Party – this head-in-the-sand understanding of America’s issues tells me about three things: 1) the white privilege you must have is immense and self-congratulatory 2) you are utterly dedicated to your view of black men as “thug” (which has come to carry a major racial connotation) and animal, completely unconstrained but apparently existing in a vacuum where only his innate barbarism can be to black 3) you are uncomfortable around black people and minorities both because you fear them and you don’t understand them, and have probably never had deep interactions or talks on substantive issues for one. Like many annoying white people, however, whenever you actually find yourself stuck in a room with a black person, you walk on eggshells and have no idea how to act.
Look, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about white privilege lately. It’s a concept that really bothered me when I heard about, because I never felt privileged at all – I grew up poor in a single wide trailer, food stamps, child welfare, substance abuse, the whole nine yards. Thanks to some good relatives and scholarships, I was able to go on to be a professional. Even so, around the sorts of rich folks who get professional degrees, I never felt privileged, nobody ever really did me any favors, or excused my family tree like they might a poor black person (I was told by people as a child, poor people are poor because they deserve to be and lack the gumption to improve themselves).
And I STILL think the class trumps race at the end of the day, and what we really have in this country is middle-class-privilege. In most interactions, a well-dressed black man with money is going to have no trouble at all.
BUT we know of some areas where that’s not true, and where we do really all have white privilege. The police officer hesitates before pulling the trigger. As one of the other commenters said, when we talk about these open carry laws, that really means for white men who like to wear billowing Hawaiin shirts and khakis shorts – not for a black man. He’s going to get to experience the joy of a voluntary police interaction, at best. Probably followed quickly by a full Terry stop.
In essence, you need to recognize that, well beyond what is justified by the admittedly elevated levels of criminality amongst the black young male lower class (which does not exist in a vacuum) police interactions between blacks of every age, class, and gender are so entirely different from the ones police have with you or me that it cannot be anything other than institutional implicit bias and sometimes even overt, festering, racism.
We’re talking about a police response to black males, many of whom they (the police) stop based on a stereotype, a profile, and a suspicion of criminal activity. I believe that cause of many of these shootings goes to a lack of training in the use of deadly force and to race.
My father was a city policeman for 30 years, the 1st half of his career was on the beat in tough neighborhoods. My father never once in his thirty years fired his gun while in service. Too often these days police default to the use of deadly force as a first option, not a final option.
You’re asking me? Maybe Navin R. Johnson can help you with this.
(hint: tunafish salad on white bread, a Tab and a couple of Twinkies.)
When I tended bar in Tiburon, the police had a code they put out on the radio when a car with black folks in it was seen entering town. This was in uber liberal Marin County. Granted it was 30 years ago, but I have no reason to thing things have changed much, and they have cameras monitoring who comes into town now.
The racial disparities are huge when it comes to police tactics. That said there is an overall rottenness in the way cops now deal with all citizens. These problems are likely entwined. For years they’ve been getting away with treating minorities poorly because largely the majority of the country either agreed with it, didn’t know (unlikely), or didn’t care. In most instances as stated above, officers win their court cases even with evidence of wrong doing. Take that to it’s logical conclusion and it easy to see how we get to things like
And the overall feelings of entitlement and a culture of corruption that seems to plague a lot of police departments around the country. See also
@Dave D: OK. You tricked me into reading a piece in Reason.com. Is this like Rick Rolling or something?
This is not a racial issue. Compare to around 9,000 blacks murdered each year in urban areas. 93% of the people who did these crimes are black. Yet this does not show up on the news channels, no hordes of reporters, no opportunist politicians, AG Holder says nothing, and few protests.
Seriously, Do you believe that it is not about race?
Again, this not about homicide rates, it’s about police encounters with black men that are the result of a stereotype or a profile, not necessarily because of a crime that may have been committed. How often do you hear of white men regularly being questioned on the street simply because they ‘look suspicious’?
@Tyrell: There are numerous church, social, community, civic and social organizations that are working everyday in the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago to try and stem violence. They have many programs and hold lots of marches and protests. They are led in many cases by organizations headed by the dreaded Sharpton and Jackson along with lots of local community leaders and pastors. The president even has an organization working on these issues. Just because you don’t see something on the news about this doesn’t mean that many in the community aren’t working hard on it. Why do you think the whole world is what you see on your tv or read in your paper?
@gVOR08: I blame Balko, because he loves Reason. That said the anti-police militarization and the stuff about the government spying on citizens is a place where left and right can meet. I too usually feel duped when I follow a link to Reason, but they linked to ThinkProgress in the piece in an unusual display of bipartisanship.