The answer to the question has seemed quite obvious for some time, but details and specific facts beyond the anecdotal have been limited. For some reason, the Department of Justice does not regularly publish the details of who police kill every year despite the 20 year-old Federal Law Requiring a report on Excessive Use of Force
. All we get is a total of "Justifiable Homicides
" by police, but no details as to how these person died, under what circumstances or how many times the situation was deemed "unjustified", whether the person was armed or not [like Amadour Diallo, Sean Bell and Darrien Hunt
], whether they were attacking or surrendering [like Michael Brown and Oscar Grant] or seeking help [Jonathon Ferrel
l], whether the person was mistakenly identified and targeted under false circumstances [Kendrec McDade, John Crawford
], and whether charges of manslaughter or murder were ever filed against these Officers.
It almost seems like nobody really wants to know the answer, because if we did I think the country would be aghast in shock and outrage.
Well, Propublica has done a study of the raw FBI data and generated a report that does attempt to tell is if there is indeed a racial component to police use of deadly force. Their results, while they admit are incomplete due to some missing information from some smaller departments who failed to provide their information to the FBI, shows a trend that is not just outrageous, it's jaw dropping.
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, 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.
To read more please continue over the flip.
The details are something to see.
The black boys killed can be disturbingly young. There were 41 teens 14 years or younger reported killed by police from 1980 to 2012. 27 of them were black; 8 were white; 4 were Hispanic and 1 was Asian.
Let me repeat that because it's so nuts it just goes by likely to fighter jet at Mach 2.5: This report shows that 65% of the children under 14 years old killed by police since 1980 were black.
151 persons were killed while "fleeing or resisting" arrest. 67 percent of those people, were Black.
77% of those killed during circumstances that were "undetermined", were black.
"Undetermined"? They killed them but they don't even know how?
This isn't to say that white people are never killed by police, a full 44 percent of those killed in the analysis, were white persons. Admittedly this is far less than their overall representation in the population. Also it's not true that all of the killers were white either, black officers were involved in at least 10 percent of these killings, but even with those officers the overwhelming majority of those they killed - 78 percent - were black.
So yes, there may be situations like that of the fatal shooting of unarmed Dillon Taylor (who was white & hispanic) by an officer who was, reportedly, black. Yes, things like this do happen - despite what Ben Stein says these cases are a rarity, not the norm.
Utah’s use-of-force law says police are "justified in using deadly force when ... the officer reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to the officer or another person."
That law puts the focus on the officer’s beliefs at the time of the shooting, rather than the objective facts that come to light after the fact, Gill said this week. Gill said Officer Bron Cruz reasonably believed Taylor had a gun because a 911 caller reported that a group of three men near 2100 South State had flashed a gun, and the caller’s description of their clothing and appearance closely matched that of Taylor, his brother and his cousin, who were crossing State Street when Cruz arrived.
The shooting of Dillon Taylor, although he did fit the description of an armed suspect, was in fact not armed. He did not respond to Officers commands because he was listening to music through head phone and couldn't hear him. The officer assume he was resisting and trying to flee, seeing the young man's hands in his pockets he choose to fire rather than risk injury to himself or the public.
This situation was tragic and potentially avoidable on both sides, if the Officer had simply been a little more patient he would have realize Dillon couldn't hear him, and certainly if Dillon wasn't listening to music he might have been able to respond to the Officer. It just didn't go that way.
Right Wing press and pundits have looked at this situation and claimed that in some ways it is equivalent to the case of Michael Brown, arguing that the lack of outrage, response and coverage of Taylor's shooting is yet another example of "media bias and a double-standard".
Critics say there’s a reason for the discrepancy in media coverage: race. Mr. Brown was black and the officer who shot him was white. Mr. Taylor wasn’t black — he’s been described as white and Hispanic — and the officer who shot him Aug. 11 outside a 7-Eleven in South Salt Lake wasn’t white.
The perceived double standard is fueling resentment and talk of double standards on conservative talk radio and social media, where the website Twitchy has compiled a list of Twitter comments asking why Mr. Brown’s death has been front-page news for weeks while Mr. Taylor’s was a footnote at best.
Critics of the disparity in coverage and outrage said that it is actually the Brown case that is the outlier: Statistics indicate that black-on-black crime is far more common than the case of a white-on-black crime. For homicide, for instance, the FBI in 2012 found that of the 2,648 black murder victims, some 2,412 were killed by fellow blacks and only 193 by whites. (whites also were likely far more likely to be killed by fellow whites than by members of other races, according to the data.)
Besides the sickness of trying to argue that "Black people are killers" therefore police are "pre-justified" in killing them first, like almost everyone who attempts to use Black on Black murder rates to justify or excuse the police murders of black people, the Washington Times is using the wrong numbers to justify their conclusion.
There were not 2,648 Black murder victims in 2012. There were in fact 7,487 Black people murdered that year. The reason that their numbers are so low is because they're working from the Single Offender/Single Victim Table that the FBI provides since it's the only one that gives a Racial and Gender cross section.
That Table looks like this.
It's this table that the Washington Times uses to claim that 2,412 out of 2,648 Murders (92%) were black on black. In making this argument they ignore that the same exact table shows that 2,614 out of 3,148 Murders (82%) were white on white. It used to trouble me that the cross ratio murder rates were so different, where you have 143 whites who murdered blacks compared to 431 blacks who murdered whites. Part of that may be because when a black person kills a white person it's often considered "murder" but when the reverse happens it's considered "justified" a view that seems to be backed up by the data provided by the John Roman report on "Stand Your Ground" laws which indicates that white who kill blacks are found to be "justified" by over 220%. It might be possible that the roughly 200 murders of black people by whites which seem to be missing here, aren't really missing, they're included on the justifiable homicide by citizens table, which includes about 300 incidents per year, since we clearly know every black person killed by someone white like Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis or Renisha McBride obviously did something to deserve it.
But then, as I said above, this data is incomplete. It does not include all the cases where there were either multiple offenders or multiple victims which is why we've had 7,487 Murders suddenly drop to just 2,648. When you look at the Supplemental Homicide Report you get a completely different set of numbers and results.
When it comes to cases of homicide the largest number - is the unknown. When you include all cases the number of situations where there may have been at least one black victim as a result of at least one black offender goes from 92% down to just 55%. For situations with at least one white victim murdered by offenders who at least one of which was white the number drops from 82% down to just 62%.
Effectively, the ratios reverse. And the reason why isn't because there are fewer Murders committed by black people, it's because there is also a disparity in the number of offenders who remain unknown. That is the case in just 25% of situations which involved at least one white victim, but when at least one black victim is killed the offender is unknown in 40% of the cases. So not only are police more often treating black people as potentially dangerous and violent, even when they aren't specifically, they aren't fully investigating and arresting the people who kill and hurt black people by a nearly 2:1 margin, because IMO how can you sympathize and go an extra mile to seek justice for someone whom you essentially feel deserved what they got?
We all know it, but judges and juries are more likely to convict and give the maximum sentence the more they find the victim sympathetic and "innocent". If you're young, female, good looking and, yes, white, the offender will get the jail put on top of them - we get so completely obsessed with "pretty white victims" like Jon Bonet Ramsey, The Runaway Bride, the girl who carved a backwards "B" into her own face, Susan Smith who said she was carjacked by a "black guy" when she had really killed her own kids by drowning them, the Astonaut Girl in the cross-country Depends drive to kill her boyfriend's wife, the latest missing Aruba girl and 90% of the people cases shown on programs like 48 Hours - because if you aren't one of them, if a cop or a jury can't just feel your wholesome innocence beaming across the street or courtroom, well good luck getting an arrest or a conviction.
This has been shown to be the case in multiple studies of the impact of race on death row cases.
Another measure of race's impact on the death penalty is the combined effect of the race of the defendant and the race of the victim. In the Philadelphia study, the racial combination which was most likely to result in a death sentence was a black defendant with a nonblack victim, regardless of how severe the murder committed. Black-on-black crimes were less likely to receive a death sentence, followed by crimes by other defendants, regardless of the race of their victims.
That situation is what produces results like this:
And what makes matters even worse is that all these "offender" numbers are estimates. They are based on the arrests that are made to close an outstanding case, not base on a confirmed conviction. This is a statistic based on who was accused of murder, not necessary who actually perpetrated that crime.
What all this means is that we don't know what it is we think we know about how, why or who, when it comes to the murders of black people. Or of white people either for that matter.
And we've known even less about the racial disparity of police use of deadly force, until now.
ProPublica calculated a statistical figure called a risk ratio by dividing the rate of black homicide victims by the rate of white victims. This ratio, commonly used in epidemiology, gives an estimate for how much more at risk black teenagers were to be killed by police officers.Risk ratios can have varying levels of precision, depending on a variety of mathematical factors. In this case, because such shootings are rare from a statistical perspective, a 95 percent confidence interval indicates that black teenagers are at between 10 and 40 times greater risk of being killed by a police officer. The calculation used 2010-2012 population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
So yet again, we have to wonder when black communities rise up in outrage in response to yet another police shooting - or choking, or kicking, or tasing, or pepper spraying - of an unarmed and non-violent black male - it's not an "excuse", it's not a "delusion", it's not "playing the race card", it's not because the media is biased or implementing some type of "double-standard", it's because the bias already at play here belongs to the police themselves and their practices of treating minority persons which disrespect, fear, distrust and terror
as their default setting. It's a clear and obvious pattern.
Certainly if someone is a genuine threat, they should defend themselves and the public from that threat - but that frankly isn't what's been going on here. Not even close. Not when police beat up a hand-cuffed man, then charge him with property destruction for getting blood on their uniforms. Not when we have Officers who shoot someone for reaching for their ID, immediately after he told them to get their ID. Not when a man in the back of police cruiser, with his hands cuffed behind him somehow shoots himself in the chest, and it gets called "suicide". Not when we have police who will shoot into a van filled with children. Not when police body-slam a handcuffed nurse to the concrete, not once, but twice - then give each other a fist bump afterward. That's not protection or service.
Maybe rather than having laws that allow Officers to deploy deadly force based on their "belief in a threat", which can be incomplete and totally wrong once we have all the facts, we should require that they actually do some investigating to determine if that belief is actually true or not before the bullets start flying and the bodies start falling.
If the FBI Single Offender Murder Table and other similarly incomplete and skewed data that the Washington Times attempts to use is the primary source for the abject fear which spurs the police reaction to young black males, even though only 24 Officers were Shot and Killed in 2013 contrasted with about 400 who were killed by Police, then this report from Propublica shows that fear of the police by those young black males is far, far more justified. In the very worst possible case the Washington Times FBI stat, if it's information was complete and accurate which it isn't, would make you think that black men were about 6 times more likely to commit murder (and also likely to be Murdered) than white Men (because the number of murders is about the same, but the number of people in each group is 6:1 white to black) contrasted that to a 21 Times greater chance if you're a young black man that you could be killed by a police officer compared to a white male in the same age range. Their claims about the black murder rate does not justify the rate of police killings of black men based on their likelihood of being "lethally dangerous". It. just. doesn't. It's not even close to a balanced response to a legitimate threat.
And I'm not even getting into the issue of how many of these people are unarmed and posed no actual threat at the time they were killed which is yet another can of dirty worms.
If police are offended that many black people just might use statistical facts to justify not trusting them, then I say to that what Bruce Willis said when he finally got the attention of the police in the original Die Hard movie, "Welcome to the Party, Pal!" Complaining that citizens are prejudging police, because they've been prejudging the rest of us for decades, seems rather lame. That's where the "double-standard" exists. If police don't want to be "profiled" using the stats of their own behavior, then they should stop using bad statistical "profiles" as an excuse to stop, question, search, harass, brutalize and kill so many innocent people.
Now that we have clear evidence that police tactics and practices are between 10-40 Times more likely to get you killed if you're a young black male (and I suspect if we bother to look would find similar disparities between the treatment of men of all races contrasted to women, between young people and older individuals and between the affluent and the poor) maybe we can finally begin to start making some real changes in how police function in this country, which is very likely to benefit everyone, not just black people.