AP featured image
Protesters gather near the site of the death of a man, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, who died in police custody Monday night in Minneapolis after video shared online by a bystander showed a white officer kneeling on his neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn’t breathe. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

On May 25, 2020, a citizen of these United States by the name of George Floyd, died while in police custody, even though he was apparently not resisting the officers responsible for his well being while in custody. This tragic event was captured on the cellphone cameras of bystanders and immediately went viral. Unless a true sociopath, no human being could watch that video and fail to be absolutely horrified by the apparent disregard displayed by the officers present at the scene, as Floyd’s life ebbed away right in front of them and without their intervention.

For the first time in a very long time, all points on the political spectrum were united in outrage about the same thing and for the same reason. We were and remain outraged at such a blatant and callous disregard for human life. The day after the incident, citizens demonstrated that outrage by taking to the streets in protest and to “petition the government for the redress of grievances.“ This, a classic case of why the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution exists at all.

Then something changed. The demonstrations became about a lie. The demonstrations became a protest about Systemic Police Brutality based on racism. It became about police far and wide, “deliberately hunting down and killing” Black men. Groups intent on the destruction of America, or with other nefarious political purposes, began to take advantage of this misplaced outrage and began to foment full-blown riots. Out of control crowds began destroying property, maiming and killing people, looting and burning to the ground the businesses of the very people they purported to be outraged on behalf of. In some locales, police were told to stand idly by while this happened, shades of “allowing them space to destroy.”

It’s still going on, despite all of the officers being charged, one with 2nd Degree Murder and the others involved, for Aiding and Abetting. And it’s all based on a lie. Almost no one has had the courage and fortitude to publicly admit this. For, to do so, would invite accusations of racism or being indifferent to the suffering of minorities. However, noted columnist and author, Heather McDonald, is a standout exception.

In her recent Wall Street Journal article The Myth of Systemic Police Racism, Ms. McDonald tears apart the lie, piece by piece. She writes

This charge of systemic police bias was wrong during the Obama years and remains so today. However sickening the video of Floyd’s arrest, it isn’t representative of the 375 million annual contacts that police officers have with civilians. A solid body of evidence finds no structural bias in the criminal-justice system with regard to arrests, prosecution or sentencing. Crime and suspect behavior, not race, determine most police actions.

When apologists for criminal behavior claim that Blacks are killed at a higher rate by police than Whites, that is just not true. McDonald, citing a study by the National Academy of Sciences, claims with proper justification and analysis, that based on the ratio of fatal police shootings to total police encounters, the types of crimes by race and the racial composition of the police force itself, Blacks are not being shot by police in greater numbers than any other race. It’s just not happening. Here are the findings from that report (format changes from the original are mine to help readability

We report three main findings:

1) As the proportion of Black or Hispanic officers in a FOIS increases, a person shot is more likely to be Black or Hispanic than White, a disparity explained by county demographics;

2) race-specific county-level violent crime strongly predicts the race of the civilian shot; and

3) although we find no overall evidence of anti-Black or anti-Hispanic disparities in fatal shootings, when focusing on different subtypes of shootings (e.g., unarmed shootings or “suicide by cop”), data are too uncertain to draw firm conclusions. We highlight the need to enforce federal policies that record both officer and civilian information in FOIS.

Put another way by McDonald

The researchers found that the more frequently officers encounter violent suspects from any given racial group, the greater the chance that a member of that group will be fatally shot by a police officer. There is “no significant evidence of antiblack disparity in the likelihood of being fatally shot by police,” they concluded.

As a cross-checked, I looked at some other sources. On Statista, I found some interesting numbers. It turns out that, as of March 30, for 2020, the numbers show that Blacks are 13.6 percent of police shootings and 14 percent of the US population — 86.5% of the shooting victims are not black.

Of course, this puts paid to any justification, no matter how slim, that the anger of the rioters and looters is somehow understandable. What it actually reflects, is that people are using a preventable tragedy to stoke the fires of racial animus. This race-baiting is not helping advance any legitimate cause, rather it is bringing real and measurable harm to innocent people.

Worst of all, it is shifting focus away from the real problem, which I believe, is inept and/or corrupt Democrat governance at the city and state levels. As I indicated previously, the death of George Floyd was a perfect storm, whereby a city governed by Democrats for over 40 years, recruited, trained, and employed, but failed to properly supervise (likely due to police union influence) an officer. That same city sanctioned and trained its officers on the use of an inherently dangerous restraint technique, a technique long abandoned by the vast majority of police agencies in these United States.

Having frank, open, and honest discussions about race seems to be very difficult for many Americans. We make it even more difficult when we are unwilling to face uncomfortable facts. The very first step in the problem-solving process is to properly identify the problem. Given provable and proven data showing equal rates of police-involved shooting of Blacks and Whites and that minority police officers shoot minorities at the same or higher rate as do their White colleagues, it would seem that these continued protests and the accompanying violence, are based on a lie. It’s time we refocus on the real problem — the problem of long time Democrat governance in the cities.

Mike Ford
Mike Ford, a retired Infantry Officer, writes on Military, Foreign Affairs and occasionally dabbles in Political and Economic matters. 
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