We’ve been hearing for some years now that the police have been unfairly targeting and killing black men. Hence the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Well, numbers, data, the facts, are the important thing in *any* discussion. Not feelings, not anecdotes, not beliefs. Not what you want to be true, but what is true. So, the Washington Post has been collecting data on police shootings and has released their 2015 findings. So, what we got?
990 people were shot dead by the police in 2015.
494 of them were white (49.9%)
258 of them were black (26%)
172 were Hispanic (17.4%)
66 were other&unknown (6.7%)
OK, so, blacks, who comprise 13% of the population, where shot dead by the police at twice the rate you’d expect based purely on population. Racism, right? Slam dunk?
But then there’s the FBI, with *their* database, “Crime in the USA, 2014.” Specifically Table 43A, Arrests by Race. Here we find that blacks make up 51.3% of those arrested for murder and non-negligent homicide; 55.9% for Robbery; 33.1% for Aggravated Assault; 30.2% for Burglary; 30.7% for Motor Vehicle Theft; 40.7% for Weapons. These all seem to be the sort of crimes that would put the criminal in the crosshairs of the cops, and properly so. This says nothing about *why* these people are committing these crimes… whether it’s due to social ills, poverty, lack of playgrounds, crappy edumacational systems, bad parenting, lead in the water, lead in the air, rap music, drug abuse, listening to the likes of Al Sharpton, or whatever, the simple fact certainly seems to be that black men seem to commit violent crimes at an elevated rate. And the interesting thing here is that they’re getting shot dead by the cops at a rate *below* what you’d expect given the crime rate.
An interesting writup on this, focusing on the category of “unarmed black men shot by cops,” is available here.