“An exclusive analysis of data from the 50 largest local police departments in the United States shows that police shoot Americans more than twice as often as previously known,” news.vice.com reports . . .Vice reports that these top 50 police departments — representing “148,000 police officers who serve more than 54 million Americans” — shot at 4,381 people from 2010 to 2016.
For the math-challenged (myself included), that’s 14.60 people shot at per department per year. As the majority of those citizens who faced flying lead from their local po-po survived, that’s not exactly a genocidal campaign.
Nor ethnic cleansing. But you don’t need me to tell you that today’s anti-cop rhetoric focuses on race.
The fine print on the chart above tells us that Vice reduced the sample size to 31 police departments. Also worth noting: Vice’s chart lists police shootings per 100,000 people.
This excerpt from washingtpost.com explains why Vice’s race card agenda forced them to adjust for population, rather than list the raw numbers (which would have created a significantly different chart from the one above):
In 2015, The Washington Post launched a real-time database to track fatal police shootings, and the project continues this year. As of Sunday (July 5 2016), 1,502 people have been shot and killed by on-duty police officers since Jan. 1, 2015. Of them, 732 were white, and 381 were black (and 382 were of another or unknown race).
After stoking anti-police bias and racial animus — intimating that racism accounts for the fact that predominantly black communities experience more police-involved shootings than predominantly white communities — Vice plays the ultimate victim card. The police are shooting unarmed blacks!
Now we’re down to sample size of 24 police departments (out of the aforementioned 17,985 U.S. total) and wouldn’t you know it? Latinos are the ethnic group most often shot by cops while unarmed in this survey. And?
And Vice is forced to mention the reality of the situation — albeit while casting doubt on any interpretation that would undermine their underlying assumption that racist police are targeting and shooting blacks.
Police officers and some academics say shootings reflect local crime rates or how often police come into contact with certain groups, not racial bias. In their view, it’s not fair to look at use of force by population alone.
Nick Selby, a Texas police detective and author of “In Corntext: Understanding Police Killings of Unarmed Civilians,” said it’s important to take into account the socioeconomic factors underlying crime and policing as well as the circumstances of each encounter.
“Deadly force has a disproportionate effect on nonwhite people, that’s true, but nonwhite people disproportionately engage in behavior that is criminal and dangerous,” Selby said. (Blacks and Hispanics are arrested at higher rates than whites for both violent and nonviolent crimes, but the researchisunclear on whether they are more likely to commit them.) (emphasis ours)
And there you have it: context. Yay!
The article also skates over the reasons cops shoot citizens: the officer believes the possible perp poses an imminent, credible threat of grievous bodily harm or death to police or innocent life.
A unarmed perp can be shot for trying to beat someone with his or her fists. For attempting to escape the scene of a violent crime. For going for an officer’s gun. For driving a car at an officer. And more.
Vice works hard to cast doubt on the possibility that the cops who fired on unarmed black suspects were justifed by neglecting to mention the above circumstances, peppering their article with heart-tugging YouTube videos of unarmed blacks shot by cops in dubious or — in the case above — unknown circumstances, and “answering” reasonable explanations for the stats with anti-cop quotes like this:
Bruce Franks Jr., a protester in Ferguson who now serves as a St. Louis representative in the Missouri legislature, said cops in his city shoot first and come up with reasons later. St. Louis had the highest per capita rate of police shootings among the 50 departments we analyzed but provided scant details for shootings that happened after 2014. (A spokeswoman for the department said all shootings were investigated fairly.)
“There doesn’t have to be a gun involved. We see these cases where somebody has a cell phone or somebody makes the wrong move,” Franks said. “There’s a million reasons they give so it ends up being justified.”
And there are a million reasons why Vice wants its readers to think racist white cops are assassinating unarmed blacks as a matter of course. Well, at least one: to promote a more powerful centralized government.
Hey, Vice. Be careful what you wish for.