by Nick Gromicko
Having been a victim of police brutality in the past, I know for certain that it exists. And although I’m a supporter of my local police departments (I even feed them for free), I am in favor of doing all we can to reduce the incidents of police brutality. Toward that end, I’ve advised groups such as BLM to stick with the “police brutality” theme and to not protest in opposition to racially-biased police brutality. Why? Because first off, most everyone can support a movement to reduce police brutality. Many people have experienced a power-trippin’ cop in their lifetimes. It’s a winning theme that draws a lot of support from Americans. Secondly, it doesn’t appear that police brutality is racially-biased or motivated. I offer this analysis to support my contention that the police don’t treat suspects differently based on race.
Now words like “treatment” and “brutality” are subjective. We can’t really count the number of times someone has been treated brutally by the police. It’s too fuzzy. But what I think we can do is use binary data such as police shootings of suspects. We can argue back and forth as to whether or not someone was treated improperly. Good people can see things differently and there is often some gray area, middle ground. But there can be no disagreement as to whether or not someone was shot or not. A suspect is either shot by police, or they weren’t. So for this analysis, I was going to use that data. However, as a gun owner, I know I can aim my gun at different parts of a persons body. I don’t want anyone to claim that my analysis is flawed because police are “shooting to kill” one race and only “shooting to wound” another. So I decided to use only only numbers of people shot to death by police. That way no critic of my analysis could point to my aforementioned potential (and now unused) flaw in my thinking.
Now if police were suffering from systemic racism, we should expect to see the percentage of black suspects who were shot to death by police relative to the total number of both black and white suspects shot to death by police to be much greater than the crime rate of blacks relative to the total number of crimes committed by both blacks and whites. That just makes sense. If police are racist, there are going to be a greater percentage of black suspects of crime shot to death than the percentage of white suspects of crime who are shot to death. We aren’t counting shootings numerically or including non-criminals in our analysis. There could be a theoretical group of 100 zillion non-criminals that the police never engage with and their race wouldn’t matter in our analysis because we are only comparing percentages. Unlike many news reporters (who must have failed their Statistics 101 courses in college), we aren’t looking at race makeups of populations. We are only looking at percentages of deadly shootings of criminal suspects for each race in order to reveal racial bias, if it exists. Surely, if overall, police were racist, this racism would have no way to hide when inspecting percentages of deadly shootings of suspects vs crime rates.
Now again, I’ve chosen “shot to death” so that no critic can accuse me of using subjective data such as “treated brutally.” There is no subjectivity in being shot to death. One is either shot to death or not. Now the number of suspects who have been shot to death by police (my source is Statista, but available from numerous sources ) for each year is as follows:
In 2017 there were 223 blacks shot to death, and 457 whites shot to death by police.
In 2018 there were 209 blacks shot to death and 399 whites shot to death by police.
In 2019 there were 235 blacks shot to death and 370 whites shot to death by police.
And as far as I can tell in 2020 there have already been 105 blacks shot to death and 204 whites shot to death by police.
So in the past 3.5 years, 772 blacks were shot to death by police and 1,430 whites were shot to death by police for a total of 2,202 black and white people shot to death by police in the past 3.5 years. 772/2,202=.35. Thus 35% of all black and white people shot to death by police were black.
35% is less than the 41% violent crime rate for blacks and far less than the 50% murder crime rate for blacks (after removing out negligible Native American and Asian crime rates).
If overall, police were racist, we’d surely see that a larger percentage of suspects shot to death by police, being black. We don’t.
Blacks aren’t being disproportionately shot to death by police. And if they aren’t being disproportionately shot to death, it is difficult to argue that they are disproportionately being treated brutally either. If police “had it out for blacks,” they would have it out for them in all areas, not just the ones the ones that are statistically murky.
My conclusion is that police aren’t racially biased.
But just to make certain my conclusion is sound, I did one other little analysis. I compared from various sources, the race distribution of perpetrators described by their victims and compared it to race distribution of all suspects arrested. I won’t bore you with every detail, but again, if police where racist, one would expect to see police arresting blacks at a percentage of all arrests that is higher than the percent of perpetrators who were described as black by all victims. Everywhere I checked, the race distribution of suspects arrested matched the race distribution of victims’ descriptions. And so again, I repeat, police aren’t acting with racial bias.
I welcome criticism of my analysis.