The recent Alton Sterling and Philando Castile shootings have caused an uproar among the left because these shootings fuel their narrative that racist white police officers are hunting down innocent black men. But the statistics – brought to light by the superb work of Heather MacDonald – tell a different story.
Here are five key statistics you need to know about cops killing blacks.
1. Cops killed nearly twice as many whites as blacks in 2015.
According to data compiled by The Washington Post, 50 percent of the victims of fatal police shootings were white, while 26 percent were black. The majority of these victims had a gun or “were armed or otherwise threatening the officer with potentially lethal force,” according to MacDonald in a speech at Hillsdale College.
Some may argue that these statistics are evidence of racist treatment toward blacks, since whites make up 62 percent of the population and blacks make up 13 percent. But as MacDonald writes in The Wall Street Journal, 2009 statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics reveal that blacks were charged with 62 percent of all robberies, 57 percent of murders, and 45 percent of assaults in the 75 largest counties in the country, despite only comprising roughly 15 percent of the population in those counties.
“Such a concentration of criminal violence in minority communities means that officers will be disproportionately confronting armed and often resisting suspects in those communities, raising officers’ own risk of using lethal force,” writes MacDonald.
MacDonald also pointed out in her Hillsdale speech that blacks “commit 75 percent of all shootings, 70 percent of all robberies, and 66 percent of all violent crime” in New York City, even though they make up just 23 percent of the city’s population.
“The black violent crime rate would actually predict that more than 26 percent of police victims would be black,” MacDonald said. “Officer use of force will occur where the police interact most often with violent criminals, armed suspects, and those resisting arrest, and that is in black neighborhoods.”
2. More whites and Hispanics die from police homicides than blacks.
According to MacDonald’s research, 12 percent of white and Hispanic homicide deaths were due to police officers, while only four percent of black homicide deaths came at the hands of police officers.
“If we are going to have a ‘Lives Matter’ anti-police movement, it would be more appropriately named ‘White and Hispanic Lives Matter,'” said MacDonald in her Hillsdale speech.
3. The Post’s data does show that unarmed black men are more likely to die by the gun of a cop than an unarmed white man . . . but this does not tell the whole story.
In August 2015, the ratio was seven-to-one of unarmed black men dying from police gunshots compared to unarmed white men; the ratio was six-to-one by the end of 2015. But MacDonald points out in The Marshall Project that looking at the details of the actual incidents that occurred paints a different picture:
The “unarmed” label is literally accurate, but it frequently fails to convey highly charged policing situations. In a number of cases, if the victim ended up being unarmed, it was certainly not for lack of trying. At least five black victims had reportedly tried to grab the officer’s gun, or had been beating the cop with his own equipment. Some were shot from an accidental discharge triggered by their own assault on the officer. And two individuals included in the Post’s “unarmed black victims” category were struck by stray bullets aimed at someone else in justified cop shootings. If the victims were not the intended targets, then racism could have played no role in their deaths.
4. Black and Hispanic police officers are more likely to fire a gun at blacks than white officers.
This is according to a Department of Justice report in 2015 about the Philadelphia Police Department, and is further confirmed by a study conducted by University of Pennsylvania criminologist Greg Ridgeway in 2015 that determined black cops were 3.3 times more likely to fire a gun than other cops at a crime scene.
5. Blacks are more likely to kill cops than be killed by cops.
This is according to FBI data, which also found that 40 percent of cop killers are black. According to MacDonald, the police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black than a cop killing an unarmed black person.
Despite the facts, the anti-police rhetoric of Black Lives Matter and their leftist sympathizers have resulted in what MacDonald calls the “Ferguson Effect,” as murders have spiked by 17 percent among the 50 biggest cities in the U.S. as a result of cops being more reluctant to police neighborhoods out of fear of being labeled as racists. Additionally, there were over twice as many cops victimized by fatal shootings in the first three months of 2016.
Anti-police rhetoric has deadly consequences.
About the Author
Aaron Bandler writes for The Daily Wire. He is a graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, with a degree in Journalism.