By Jerome R. Corsi, Ph.D.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Black Lives Matter narrative giving birth to the NFL protests against the national anthem is predicated on the premise that racist police prey upon unarmed black men – a premise that cannot be justified by any honest analysis of the available data.
An honest examination of the national crime statistics makes clear that the number of African-Americans killed by law enforcement each year is relatively small and not increasing, while the violence against law enforcement is increasing, and suggests a war on police has begun to develop in the minority areas of major U.S. cities.
In his article entitled “Police Violence against Black Men Is Rare,” published by the National Review on September 18, 2017., hilippe Lemoine, a Ph.D. candidate at Cornell, is correct in observing that the Black Lives Matter narrative parroted by the mainstream media is widely inaccurate.
Lemoine observes that, according to the Washington Post’s calculation, just 16 unarmed black men, out of a population of more than 20 million in the United States, were killed by police in 2016. Lemoine argues that black men have a better chance of being struck by lightning in any given year – a phenomenon that happens to about 300 Americans annually, with black men constituting only seven percent of the population.
Lemoine points out that, according to the Black Lives Matter narrative, “black men are constantly harassed by the police and routinely brutalized with impunity, even when they have done nothing wrong, and there is an ‘epidemic’ of police shootings of unarmed black men.” He points out that even high-profile black celebrities often claim to be afraid of the police. “Police brutality, or at least the possibility that one might become a victim of such violence, is supposed to be part of the experience of a typical black man in the United States,” he notes.
“Hands up, don’t shoot”
For operatives on the political Left, the case that proves this is the shooting of Michael Brown in August of 2014.
As the St. Louis County prosecutor’s office seated a grand jury to investigate the incident, Attorney General Eric Holder visited Ferguson on August 20, 2014, in a trip that the DOJ billed as demonstrating his pledge to uphold civil rights.
In a statement published on the DOJ website on August 22, 2014, Holder made it clear that he sided with Black Lives Matter, pre-judging the case as proof of police racism – a judgment he made without the benefit of waiting for a jury trial. Holder said:
But in my conversations with dozens of people in Ferguson, it was clear that this shooting incident has brought to the surface underlying tensions that have existed for some time, tensions with a history that still simmers in communities across the country. The national outcry we’ve seen speaks to the sense of mistrust and mutual suspicion that can sometimes take hold in the relationship between law enforcement officers and their constituents.
In the rioting that followed the shooting of Michael Brown, the mainstream media portrayed Wilson as a rogue police officer who shot Brown despite him putting up his hands and saying, “hands up, don’t shoot.” Eric Holder’s visit quietly advanced the meme that Michael Brown was a “gentle giant” shot down in cold blood by a racist cop.
That theme has persisted despite the grand jury’s decision to not indict Wilson. Yet, on March 4, 2015, the DOJ announced their findings of two civil rights investigations that found the Ferguson Police Department had engaged in a pattern or practice that violated the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments.
Despite finding the department guilty of systematic racial discrimination, the DOJ announced that the evidence in the investigation did not support federal civil rights charges against Officer Wilson.
In other words, the Justice Department was willing to conclude that the Michael Brown shooting represented a systemic pattern of police racial discrimination, even though the grand jury could not find enough evidence to bring charges.
Blue Lives Matter
The mainstream media continue to broadcast the Black Lives Matter politically charged allegation that police officers are racists who use their authority to discriminate against minorities. The reality is that police lives are increasingly at risk when attempting to enforce the law in minority areas.
Out of the past five years, 2016 was the deadliest year for police, with a total of 135 officers killed while on duty. This year looks even worse, with officer deaths up nearly 20 percent. Randy Sutton, the national spokesperson for Blue Lives Matter and a retired Las Vegas police lieutenant, cited the killing of New York Police Officer Miosotis Familia as a symptom of the growing violence against law enforcement.
In the early morning hours of July 5, 2017, an African-American man with a history of mental illness and an apparent plan to shoot a cop walked past Officer Familia’s RV before circling back and firing his .38-caliber Ruger through the passenger window, killing her.
In describing the assassination-style killing, the New York Times described the 46th precinct in the Bronx (where Officer Familia was fatally shot) as “the hottest block” in the city. Officers in the Bronx call the area stretching down East 183rd Street between Morris and Creston Avenues “one square mile of danger,” where street guns, crack cocaine, and hot tempers seem to rule.
The New York Times noted that just a few months earlier, in March 2017, a man believed to have ties to a Bloods gang shot two taxi passengers and a deli customer in the middle of the afternoon, before fleeing the scene. In the aftermath of those shootings, New York police officers seized seven illegal guns, most of them from teenagers.
“People now are more willing to engage the police in combat,” Sutton told Fox News in the wake of Officer Familia’s murder. “Last year approximately 50,000 law enforcement officers were assaulted; that ran the gamut from pushing them down to shooting them and causing disabling injuries.”
Familia was the seventh New York police officer to die in 2017, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. Chris Cosgriff, founder of the website, noted, “When a police officer is killed, it’s not an agency that loses an officer, it’s an entire nation.”
Speaking for Blue Lives Matter, Sutton placed much of the blame on the mainstream media for fanning the flames of anger against police in minority areas:
Part of the war on cops is the failure of police leadership to step up to the plate and not acquiesce to political considerations when it comes to the safety of police officers. The other part of the war on cops is the failure of the media to post anything positive about police. All they do is put up damaging stories and spin much of that into a narrative that is false and perpetuates a distorted narrative.
War on police
Still, the argument persists that police disproportionately shoot more blacks than whites.
Washington Post data show that in 2015, 995 people were shot dead by police. This consisted of 497 whites, 259 blacks, 172 Hispanic, and 67 other or unknown. The data viewed this way leads to the conclusion that police shoot more white people than black. If you consider that African-Americans make up only 13 percent of the population, it seems that police shoot a disproportionate amount of black people. But even this analysis is deceptive when we realize that crime rates in minority neighborhoods are the highest in the nation.
The facts here are hard to dispute:
· In Chicago, blacks make up only 35 percent of the city’s population, but account for 76 percent of all homicides and 78 percent of all juvenile arrests. Whites make up 29 percent of the city’s population, and are responsible for four percent of the homicides and 3.5 percent of the juvenile arrests.
· In Los Angeles, blacks make up only 10 percent of the population, but are responsible for 42 percent of all robberies and 34 percent of all felonies. Whites make up 29 percent of the city’s population, and commit five percent of the robberies and 13 percent of the felonies.
· In New York, blacks make up only 23 percent of the population, but commit 75 percent of all shootings, 70 percent of all robberies, and 66 percent of all violent crimes.
Nick Selby, a Dallas-area police detective who is the co-author of the 2016 book In Context: Understanding Police Killing of Unarmed Civilians, objects to the assumption that police killings should match America’s overall demographic analysis. Instead, he argues that with a few notable exceptions, violent criminal attacks are the best predictor of whom police might shoot in America.
Selby points out that in the Washington Post study, “In 74 percent of all fatal police shootings, the individuals had already fired shots, brandished a gun or attacked a person with a weapon or their bare hands. Another 16 percent of the shootings come after incidents that did not involve firearms or other weapons but featured other potentially dangerous threats.”
He further argues that in 2015, two-thirds of unarmed people of any race killed by police had been in the process of committing a violent crime or property destruction. Fourteen percent were engaged in domestic violence, 10 percent were committing a robbery, 20 percent a burglary or vandalism, and 21 percent an assault on another civilian.
More than half of the unarmed people killed by police suffered from mental-health issues, drug intoxication, physical disability, or some combination thereof.
“A disproportionate share of America’s violent offenders are African-American males, but not because they are black,” Selby wrote. “It is because America has failed its black communities, and those of the vulnerable more generally, for decades. The best predictors of crime are broken families, living in a bad neighborhood, young mothers, and other risk factors known since the 1960s: a lack of education, nutrition, after-school activities, music, art, and other programs that create opportunity.”
The point is that the partisan Left would like to blame police shootings of unarmed black youth on racism, when the truth is that the ever-increasing social welfare system promoted by the political Left creates government dependency and weakening family structures.
Children raised by out-of-wedlock single mothers are the best predictor for a linked chain of social maladies, starting with the increased likelihood of failure in school and continuing to a lifetime of crime.
Commenting on the tragedy in Ferguson over the Michael Brown shooting, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Jason L. Riley wrote,
Blacks commit violent crimes at seven to 10 times the rate that whites do. The fact that their victims tend to be of the same race suggests that young black men in the ghetto live in danger of being shot by each other, not cops. The police are in these communities because that’s where the emergency calls originate, and they spend much of their time trying to stop residents of the same race from harming one another.
In her book The War on Cops, journalist Heather Mac Donald describes what she calls the “Ferguson Effect,” where police back off from protecting minority communities for fear that any single incident with a minority could destroy their careers.
Instead of sensationalizing the relatively small number of unarmed black males killed by police, we should address the more disturbing reality that minority violence against police is increasing in America as a direct result of the increased racial tension being stirred up in minority communities by the extremist rhetoric promoted by Black Lives Matter activists.