Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Police Shootings

If a visitor from Mars were to listen to media chatter they might think that young unarmed black men are being mown down in the streets by racist white cops with alarming regularity. The facts, though, are otherwise as a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post study reveals.

The WaPo's data is displayed on a chart that reveals a number of facts about police shootings that may come as a surprise to some who check out their findings.

For example: In 2015 there were 990 people shot and killed by police. The overwhelming majority of those killed by police were armed and white. Four hundred ninety four of the dead were white and 258 were black (Hispanics and other races made up the balance). Most of the deceased were showing a weapon, but 93 were unarmed, 32 of whom were white and 38 black.

Among these unarmed individuals 14 of the whites and 15 of the blacks who were killed were attacking, or in some way threatening, the police officer. Of those who were unarmed and not attacking the officer, several of them were shot accidentally, or they brandished a device that was mistaken for a weapon, etc.

In short, there may be a problem with police sometimes using excessive force, but the idea perpetuated by Black Lives Matter and others that African Americans are a deliberate target of racist cops is simply not born out by the facts.