Law & the Courts

Statistics Trump Slogans on Police Killings of Black Men

Protesters at a “Rise Up October” rally in New York, October 24, 2015. (Kena Betancur/Getty)
The debate on cops and blacks deserves facts instead of myths.

If the Black Lives Matter crowd is correct, bloodthirsty, racist cops are blasting black men like clay pigeons at a shooting range. The pace of this alleged slaughter is breathtaking.

The Nation of Islam’s Nuri Muhammad on October 10 told the 20th-anniversary gathering of the Million Man March: “Every other day, we see a young black man being murdered by the Blue Klux Klan.”

​That adds up to 182 such homicides per year.

“When we’re hearing reports that every 28 hours, a black person is murdered by police, it feels like we’re in a war,” Black Lives Matter activist Cherno Biko told Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly on a September 4 special on this topic. “It feels like we’re under occupation.”

If that’s true, killer cops are rubbing out some 313 innocent, law-abiding blacks annually.

Rise Up October organized protests in New York City last month. The group complained about “the rampant epidemic of police murder . . . happening all over this country” and asserts that there are “over 1,000 people a year killed by police.”

Wrong! And more than doubly so.

RELATED: Are Encounters with the Police Really More Dangerous for Black Men?

Dr. Richard R. Johnson, an assistant professor in the University of Toledo’s criminal-justice program, examined the latest data from the FBI and Centers for Disease Control. From 2003 through 2012, law-enforcement officers killed an average of 429 people per year in “legal interventions.” These include a relatively small number of innocent people killed by cops and many more who died due to reasonable use of force. When a bank robber thrusts a loaded Glock into a teller’s neck, that’s a really good time for the police to kill him — whatever Black Lives Matter may think.

Anti-police protesters chant the well-known names of some half-dozen black males who lately have died at the hands of cops: Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Walter Scott. (Martin was not killed by a cop, but his fatal shooting by neighborhood-watch volunteer George Zimmerman in February 2012 likely inspired this entire cause.)

RELATED: Black Lives Matter’s Agenda Is Costing Black Lives

Some cops (such as Darren Wilson, who shot Michael Brown) have been exonerated, even by Obama’s Justice Department. Others face trial, namely Officer Michael Slager, who shot Walter Scott in the back in North Charleston, South Carolina, and the three white and three black Baltimore cops in whose custody Freddie Gray died.

These stories all ended tragically. These black men will be in graves this holiday season, not around their family dinner tables at Thanksgiving and Christmas. That is very sad.

But what this controversy sorely needs is less emotion and a strong dose of facts.

#share#Actual crime data reveal that this movement is based on mythology. Thanks to the Ferguson Effect, blistering anti-law-enforcement rhetoric and sometimes fatal attacks on police have made cops timid, if not terrified. The result? A murder explosion that, ironically, is killing the very black people whom Black Lives Matter claims to champion. Compared with this time last year, homicides are up 8.3 percent in New York, 19.2 percent in Chicago, 51.5 percent in St. Louis, and 52.5 percent in Baltimore.

On average, 4,472 black men were killed by other black men annually between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2012, according to the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports. Using FBI and CDC statistics, Professor Johnson calculates that 112 black men, on average, suffered both justified and unjustified police-involved deaths annually during this period. This equals 2.5 percent of these 4,472 yearly deaths. For every black man — criminal or innocent — who was killed by a cop, 40 black men were murdered by other black men. The (at most) 2.5 percent of the problem generates relentless rage. And yet it is rude-to-racist to mention the other 97.5 percent of the problem.

(For more details, please see my analysis of these data here.)

Meanwhile, film director Quentin Tarantino ignited widespread panic when he told an October 24 anti-police rally in Times Square: “When I see murder I cannot stand by. And I have to call the murdered the murdered, and I have to call the murderers the murderers.”

Tarantino seemed to finger the NYPD, although he now says, “I never even implied that.”

Still, since it is America’s largest police force in its most populous city, one would expect the NYPD to be a major player in this alleged mass murder of innocent blacks.

Not so.

The supposedly trigger-happy, bigoted NYPD killed a whopping eight people last year. Of these, four were black.

The supposedly trigger-happy, bigoted NYPD killed a whopping eight people last year, according to its meticulous, 73-page 2014 Annual Firearms Discharge Report. Of these, four were black. All of them were armed with cutting instruments (respectively, scissors, a hatchet, a box cutter, and a knife) and wielded them when they fatally were shot.

Rather than NYPD gunfire, the high-profile Eric Garner case involved a police chokehold that may have given the overweight Garner a lethal coronary.

Still, these five deaths (at least four of them justified) constitute all of last year’s NYPD “genocide” against black men. They equal 4.95 percent of Gotham’s 101 black-on-black murders in 2014. Other blacks are 20 times deadlier to black New Yorkers than is the NYPD. Just don’t say so in public.

(For more details, please see my analysis of these data here.)

Yes, some police are overzealous, twitchy-fingered, and — surely — racist, just as some columnists display such traits. NYPD officer James Frascatore’s heavy-handed takedown of tennis player James Blake outside a Manhattan hotel last September confirms that some cops need leashes. (The fact that Blake was mistaken for a black suspect wanted nearby confirms that black crooks should be excoriated for placing bullseyes on the backs of law-abiding blacks. This should be part of this heated national conversation. Of course, it isn’t.)

The notion that America’s cops simply are gunning down innocent black people, however, is one of today’s biggest and deadliest lies.

— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.


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