Police brutality has reared its ugly head after the completely unnecessary death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police. We don’t need to add anything to this unjustified action. It spoke for itself. It is fair to say that the overwhelming majority of Americans have been united behind the need to end such injustice with a bipartisan spirit. The optics of Floyd’s murder were terrible. Unfortunately, the mainstream media (MSM) wasted no time taking advantage of feeding their political narratives.
Looting stores, trashing police cruisers, torching police stations and throwing bricks through store windows is ‘rioting’, yet the media has been all too happy to label it ‘protesting’. Many protestors were peaceful but they just don’t make for TV and ratings. If it bleeds, it leads.
Journalistic integrity has been even more absent than usual. Statements released by the police in cities affected have revealed that most of those arrested/identified for criminal acts such as theft, destruction of property or arson have been from out of town/state and from every racial background imaginable. Many rioters have filmed their own crimes and posted them on social media. One hopes that the police track them, find them and jail them. Not for misdemeanours but proper crimes befitting their brazen actions.
Hollywood celebrities Steve Carrell, Janelle Monae, Seth Rogen, Ben Schwartz and Halsey all donated to a Minnesota Freedom Fund to help bail out rioters. That ought to tell us something. Afterall they are unaffected behind gated mansions but only too happy to lecture the rest of us on societal morals. There is no room to morally preen in the midst of a tragedy.
It has been despicable to see protests meant to honour the memory of an innocent black man and raise awareness of deaths at the hands of the police take a backseat to partisan politics and media clickbait.
Twitter wasted no time calling out President Trump for “glorifying violence” with his poorly conveyed “when the looting starts, shooting starts” tweet. The MSM wasted no time in pointing out Trump has been behind all of the racial division over the past 3.5 years despite the fact that deaths at the hands of law enforcement have remained relatively stagnant since 2013 as shown in the first chart.
Race-based hate crime over the past two decades has more than halved. In the last two decades, the FBI reports that anti-black hate crime has fallen from 0.0131% to 0.0046% of their representative population.
Since Trump took office, crime rates have fallen across the board. The FBI reports the following statistics.
Why isn’t crime exploding through the roof if there is so much division and hatred across America? Could it be thanks to the economic prosperity in his term in office?
In January 2020 a poll taken by Gallup showed that race relations had improved to 36% under Trump from the 22% at the end of Obama’s second term. Yet the media is obsessed with painting Trump out to be the key instigator in fanning racism. Of course, it would have to be in order for a media obsessed with one mission – removing him from office.
To them, Trump has enabled the unforgivable actions of the individual law enforcement officer in question, Derek Chauvin. It fits their headlines. The Daily Beast ran with,
‘Race-Baiter Donald Trump Is America’s THUG-in-Chief – The president routinely endorses and encourages police brutality, vilifies non-violent protesters of color, and spits out racist views.’
Let’s deal with the facts about police brutality.
Around 7,700 people have been killed by police across America between Jan 1, 2013 and Dec 31, 2019. That is an average of 1,100 per annum. An unfortunate statistic by any measure.
71% of those that were killed were reported as having possessed a weapon at the time of death. 14% were unarmed (including possession of a toy gun, BB gun or air rifle). 8.5% of cases were unclear. 74% of those with a weapon had a lethal firearm. 22% had sharp implements (e.g. swords, knives, machetes) and the balance had blunt objects (e.g. baseball bats, pipes, clubs).
On the flip side, no one mentions those police officers that die in the line of duty. Between Jan 1, 2013,and Dec 31, 2019, 327 have died from gunfire or assault by an assailant. Many more have succumbed to accidents in carrying out their jobs. Out of a law enforcement population of around 688,000 across America that is a death rate by an assault of 0.0077% per annum.
As a percentage of the representative population, black Americans have been killed by police at a higher rate than most other races. This is a fact. With the exception of 5 states – Montana, New Hampshire, North & South Dakota and Wyoming.
Over the last seven years, Utah has the highest rate of black deaths per head of population at 0.0045%, 9x that of other races over that period. Annualising that figure comes to 0.0006%. That is to say, 99.9994% of blacks in Utah are unlikely to die at the gunpoint of a police officer. To put that into perspective, a black individual would have a 280x higher chance of dying of Parkinson’s disease than from a police officer in Utah. A police officer has a 13x higher likelihood of dying than a black person in Utah as a percentage of their respective representative populations.
In absolute numbers, the Chicago Police Department has been responsible for the deaths of 56 black Americans in the last 7 years. Note that the big cities in America have been responsible for 39% of all black deaths at the hands of the police.
We colour coded the party affiliation of the city mayors (Democrat (blue), Republican (red), Independent (green). This is for illustrative purposes only.
We wish to make it clear that we don’t think party affiliation drives individual police officer behaviour. It should be noted that city mayors have control over the conduct of the police force including the appointment of police chiefs. So political positions to a degree would have a bearing on the way police operate in terms of targets and functions at the margin. Perhaps this is why Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told Trump “F U” due to his criticism of mayors around the country not being able to quell rioter in their cities.
Former Minnesota Police Department (MPD) officer Derek Chauvin had 17 misconduct complaints against him over his two-decade career. Despite charges of using derogatory language and one case of killing someone he was wrestling with, Chauvin only received letters of reprimand.
Were policy procedures to blame? The MPD was subject to a federal review of procedures in 2015. The statistics revealed that few officers were fired or suspended for claims against them. The majority were either reprimanded or given extra coaching. Yet MPD still continued to see complaints pile up.
Democrats tend to run more populous cities (e.g. NY, Chicago, Los Angeles) which have higher levels of absolute income disparity and poverty, even if not reflected in relative terms.
Phoenix PD has killed 40 whites since 2013. 3,385 whites have died from the gun barrel of the police, 84% of them outside of the big cities.
Columbus Division of Police has the highest rate among big cities at 40.8 deaths per 10,000 arrests, or 0.408%, 4x the big cities average. Los Angeles PD which has the highest rate of actual deaths at the hands of police had a death-to-arrest rate of 0.179%. Put simply, on average there is a 99.9% survival rate for those arrested in a big city.
Males represent nearly 95% of all deaths at the hands of police. Women just over 5%. Transgender and unknown make up 0.25%.
Of that white males comprise 43% of deaths by police with black males 26% and Hispanic males at 18%. As a percentage of the representative population, black males are dying at twice the rate of their population cohort and around 3x that of whites. Hispanic males dying in line with their population cohort.
When it comes to female deaths at the hands of the police, whites make up 57% of the total vs 18% black and 13% Hispanic. Still skewed against blacks relative to their representative populations.
Before this tragedy, crime rates had been falling precipitously. Race relations had been improving and hate crimes are well below long term rates. Yet the media would have us believe that things have never been worse and that the police are unhinged thugs looking to kill. Things are not perfect but change doesn’t happen overnight. Even when America unites to stand against this crime, fringe elements do their best to use the incident to tear it down for their own agendas.
Perhaps we should show that there are more people out there that want an end to the misinformation of the division. How disappointing for so many police who don’t want their diligent work besmirched by fake news surrounding the actions of a tiny minority within their ranks.