[From “There Is No Epidemic of Racist Police Shootings”]
The persistent belief that we are living through an epidemic of racially biased police shootings is a creation of selective reporting. In 2015, the year the PNAS study addressed, the white victims of fatal police shootings included a 50-year-old suspect in a domestic assault in Tuscaloosa, Ala., who ran at the officer with a spoon; a 28-year-old driver in Des Moines, Iowa, who exited his car and walked quickly toward an officer after a car chase; and a 21-year-old suspect in a grocery-store robbery in Akron, Ohio, who had escaped on a bike and who did not remove his hand from his waistband when ordered to do so. Had any of these victims been black, the media and activists would probably have jumped on their stories and added their names to the roster of victims of police racism. Instead, because they are white, they are unknown.
The “policing is racist” discourse is poisonous. It exacerbates anti-cop tensions in minority communities and makes cops unwilling to engage in the proactive policing that can save lives. Last month, viral videos of pedestrians in Harlem, the Bronx, and Brooklyn assaulting passive New York Police Department officers showed that hostility toward the police in inner-city neighborhoods remains at dangerous levels.
The anti-cop narrative deflects attention away from solving the real criminal-justice problem, which is high rates of black-on-black victimization. Blacks die of homicide at eight times the rate of non-Hispanic whites, overwhelmingly killed not by cops, not by whites, but by other blacks. The Democratic candidates should get their facts straight and address that issue. Until they do, their talk of racial justice will ring hollow.