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JLeslie's avatar

What do you think about the study showing black people are not more likely than white people to be shot by the police?

Asked by JLeslie (59784points) July 13th, 2016 from iPhone

Here is the info

Does that surprise you? Do you question the study’s validity? Do you think the media unfairly reports? Do you think the black population would be well served knowing the real statistics?

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15 Answers

Seek's avatar

Are we reading the same article?

Seek's avatar

The article I read, while insisting over and over there’s no racial bias in police shootings, never gives any actual numbers to support that claim – while giving lots of numbers and infographics on racially-biased nonlethal use of force.

If you’re looking at straight numbers – that is, a greater number of white people being shot than black people – without looking at the percentage relevant to representative population, the model is flawed.

It also needs to be determined how many unarmed minority victims are killed versus how many unarmed whites are. No, reaching for a cell ‘phone or a glove compartment door does not count as “armed”, and neither do children with toys. Phantom guns are not guns.

Seek's avatar

The study, a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, relied on reports filled out by police officers and on police departments willing to share those reports.

That sounds reliable.

zenvelo's avatar

The article repeatedly mentions the small sample size and the limited scope of the study.

@Seek points out the biggest question- what is the disparity or congruence of shootings when lethal force is not at all justified?

MrGrimm888's avatar

Yup. Interesting way of data interpretation. The article, as @Seek mentions, omits the problem at the core of the current status of police and civilian relations. The killing of unarmed people of color, weather choked to death, while screaming I can’t breathe, or shot to death, is the primary issue.But people of color have been mistreated by police in this country since the chains came off. Are they really ‘free’ if they can’t even walk down the street without harassment by a department that is supposed to protect and serve it’s community? Things aren’t worse now. But camera phones and video evidence is now shedding light on what people living in black communities were already fully aware of.
Yes, the media jumps on these things with priority over other problems that are similar. Kind of how you never here about a great dane killing a child, but always if the dog is, or can be mistaken for a pit bull.

Either way. Seeing these tragedies on video, instead of just hearing about them points out the horrible details of these incidents. That ability of the black community to show the world what it’s been screaming about for a long time, is what has brought this to a boiling point. The black community isn’t just protesting the actions of the police, they are asking for help from other races. As the militarization of our police forces continues, we all would be wise to attempt to snuff this type of treatment out now, before we find ourselves in a state of marshal law. Either we all hang together, or we all hang separately….

MollyMcGuire's avatar

No real surprise.

JLeslie's avatar

I saw a tv spot about it. They said black people are more likely to be pulled over and more likely to have violence against them by the police, but not more likely to be shot.

Pachy's avatar

Whatever the sample size and the scope of the study, I have no doubt the statistic is true.

CWOTUS's avatar

Regarding the statistics and comparison of black vs. white victims of police fatal shootings, here are some better data.

SavoirFaire's avatar

A Multi-Level Bayesian Analysis of Racial Bias in Police Shootings at the County-Level in the United States, 2011–2014.

Summary: Black men are more likely to be shot than white men, regardless of whether they are armed or unarmed. Furthermore, the racial bias observed in police shootings in this data set is not explainable as a response to local-level crime rate.

ucme's avatar

That would only be an accurate study if it were conducted in N.Korea

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Diagnosing a problem correctly is paramount to solving it. In the case of Police shootings, the process starts with analysis of data and statistics, but there seems to be a lack of good data around to analyse.

Police shootings of civilians are surprisingly thinly explored considering their socio-political importance to all of us. The FBI is charged with keeping statistics on such shootings, but a Washington Post analysis of FBI data showed that fewer than half of the nation’s 18,000 police departments report their incidents to the agency—and the FBI is not aggressive in having the other departments report. Therefore, our government doesn’t really appear serious about solving this problem. The Washington Post began gathering the data themselves and this is what the Washington Post Analysis found:

From 1 Jan. 2015 to 31 Dec. 2015, 986 civilians in the U.S. were shot and killed by police, 274 of them were unarmed.

Twice as many white people were killed than black people and a lot of emphasis has been placed on this statistic by certain news agencies recently. However, black males—who make up 6% of the US population—represented 40% of unarmed shooting deaths by police. Based on that one statistic, any study that shows black people are less likely to get shot by police is a crock of shit.

Mentally Ill Victims
Officers fatally shot at least 243 people with mental health problems: 75 who were explicitly suicidal and 168 for whom police or family members confirmed a history of mental illness. The Washington Post analysis found that about 9 in 10 of the mentally troubled people were armed, usually with guns but also with knives or other sharp objects. But the analysis also found that most of them died at the hands of police officers who had not been trained to deal with the mentally ill.

As of June 1st, 2016, the statistics looked like this:
509 people were shot dead by police officers.
484 were male.
25 were female.
238 White.
123 Black.
79 Hispanic
46 Unknown.
23 Other.

35 of the victims were deemed unarmed according to those cases where this aspect of the investigations have been completed. More to come.

Weapons used:
27 unknown weapons
22 toy weapons
35 threatened officers with vehicles
88 knives
282 guns
20 Other.

As of this morning—14 July 2016—625 civilians have been shot dead by police so far this year—up 22% from last year according to this watchdog site. During the same period, 26 police officers have been killed in action. This is up 44% from last year—mainly due to the event in Dallas last week.

SmartAZ's avatar

I object to people on public salary killing people of any color. I am aware of an awful lot of news stories about police brutality, robbery, extortion, and racketeering with no reference at all to color. It is just not acceptable to have a gang of hoodlums drawing salaries and assuming it is their job to oppress the citizens who pay their salaries.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Essentially. There needs to be a police to police the police. Internal Affairs doesn’t get it done.

JLeslie's avatar

OMG did you see the video of a black man on his back, hands in the air, trying to protect an autistic man and the cops shot him? At first I was confused. The report I first saw on TV said the police shot him. Him who? Was this a story of an autistic man being shot or a black man? The autistic man was playing with a toy of some sort. I’m horrified.

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