The facts on police shootings

Empower Wisconsin | June 8, 2020

By Andrew McCarthy, National Review 

About twice as many white people as black people are killed by police. In fact, in about 75 percent of police shootings, the decedent is not black. Of course, that is not what you would grasp from consuming media.

Take the website statista.com, specifically its breathless focus on “Hate crime in the United States” — counterfactually insinuating that any shooting involving a black victim must be a “hate crime.” Here’s their big headline from Tuesday: “Black Americans 2.5X More Likely Than Whites to Be Killed By Police.”

It is fiction. It is sheer demagoguery, peddled as American cities are besieged by rioters in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police. The falsity of the claim is demonstrated even by statista.com itself. Just three days ago, the site posted another series of bar graphs, showing that, in fact, whites are nearly twice as likely as blacks to be shot to death by police. Here are the numbers:

Year                White  Black

2017                457      223

2018                399      209

2019                370      235

2020 (so far)   42       31

The rest of the bar graphs break out the numbers of Hispanic decedents (slightly lower than black, significantly lower than white), as well as those whose heritage is described as “other” and unknown.

Right underneath its chart, statista.com writes, “Sadly, the trend of fatal police shootings in the United States seems only to be increasing.” In point of fact, it is steady — and if I wanted to play games like statista.com does, by, say, weighting the numbers to account for population growth while ignoring all other relevant factors, I could even pretend that the number was decreasing. The Washington Post acknowledges that fatal shootings by police have run steadily at around 1,000 per year since 2015 — 995 (2015), 963 (2016), 987 (2017), 998 (2018), and 1,004 (2019).

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