Heather MacDonald on Black Lives Matter: Does The Truth Matter?


Are the police racist? Do they disproportionately shoot African-Americans? Are incidents in places like Ferguson and Baltimore evidence of systemic discrimination? Heather Mac Donald, a scholar at the Manhattan Institute, explains.

HEATHER MACDONALD, PRAGER UNIVERSITY: 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 professer 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 be officers, even when the suspects were armed or violent.

Does the truth matter?

An analysis of federal police crime statstics and the Washington Post police shooting database shows that fully 12% of all whites and hispanics who die of homicide are killed by cops.

In contrast, only 4% of black homicide victims are killed by cops.

But isn't it a sign of bias that blacks make up 36% of police shooting victims, but onyl 13% of the U.S. 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 Dept. of Justice, although blacks were only about 15% of the population in the 75 largest counties in the U.S., 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 25% of the city's population. Whites, by contrast, commit only 2% of all shootings, 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 neighborhoods today is not the police, but criminals.

In 2014, over 6,000 blacks were murdered, more than all white and hispanic homicide victims combined. Who si killing them? Not the police and not white civilians, but other blacks.

In fact, a police officer is more than 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male, than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer. If the police ended all use of lethal force tomorrow, it would have a negligible effect on the black homocide rate.

In Chicago, in just the first six months of 2016, over 2,300 people were shot. That is a shooting per hour some weekends.

The vast majority of the victims were black. During this same period, the Chicago police shot 12 people. All armed and dangerous. That is 1/2 of 1% of all shootings.

Does the truth matter? If it does, here is a truth worth pondering: There is no government agency more dedicated to the proposition that black lives matter than the police. The proactive policing revolution that began in the mid-1990s has dramatically brought down the inner city murder rate and saved tens of thousands of black lives. Unfortunately, that crime decline is now in jeopardy...

When the police refrain from pro-active policing, black lives are lost. Lost because of a myth.

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