October 24, 2017

On Tulsa, North Carolina, and the Charlotte Riots

Black people were once again shot by police and so there are once again violent BLM riots in which people are dying. As usual, it is not clear that either police officer committed murder and, if they did, that it had anything to do with race.

The first incident occurred in Tulsa. Police encountered Terrence Crutcher who was unresponsive to their commands. They thought he had a weapon and ordered him to stop approaching his car. He continued to approach his vehicle, with his hands up, and they shot him.

The second incident occurred in North Carolina where police say that Keith Lamont Scott got out of his car with his gun and then refused to drop his weapon. The family says that he was sitting in his car reading a book when the police shot him. The police have recovered a gun from the scene but no book.

In my opinion, the second shooting was clearly justified while the first may not have been. Regardless, these are merely anecdotes. The media bombards us with at least one story like this every month and the public forms their views on police shootings based on these incidents.

This reliance on a limited number of anecdotes is problematic since a dozen or so police killings represents a minuscule fraction of the hundreds of people killed by police every year. This sample is tiny, and there is no reason to think that it is representative of police killings in general.

Across 5 databases of people killed by police, some done by the government, some by government watchdog groups, and some by major newspapers, we find 5 very similar estimates of the proportion of people killed by police who are black: 32%, 30%, 27%26%, and 25%. These figures average out to 28%.

Black people also account for 28% of individuals arrested by police, 39% of people arrested for violent crimes, and 50% of people arrested for murder.

Black Crime Rate

Given these numbers, Black people are, if anything, less likely to be killed by police than what you would expect given their crime rates.

Of course, some people will say that arrest rates for violent crimes are themselves biased.

This argument can easily be refuted using data from The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). The NCVS is a survey carried out yearly in which the Department of Justice asks a random sample of approximately 90,000 households and 160,000 individuals about their experience with crime over the last year. The DOJ first asks participants if they have been the victim of a violent crime and, if they have, they are asked to answer various questions about the crime and the perpetrator of said crime.

Using this data, the proportion of violent criminals who are Black, according to the victims of violent crimes, can easily be calculated. We can then compare these figures to the offender rates by race in the FBI’s arrest data.

1

The National Crime Victimization Survey Validates the Uniform Crime Report’s Data on Black Crime

Looking at the racial breakdown of people legally killed with guns drives this point home even further. Between 2008 and 2012, 59.1% of all individuals legally killed with a gun were Black. 41% of all people legally killed with a gun were Black people killed by other Black people. 92% of those legally killed with a gun by Black people were Black.

In other words, Black people are far more heavily overrepresented among the legal killing of Black people by Black people than they are among the killing of Black people by police.

Picture1.png

Unless you think that Black people are even more racist (against Black people) than police are, something else is probably going on here. Police are less likely to kill Black people than Black people are, and less likely to kill Black people than you would expect given their violent arrest rates, which do in fact reflect their violent crime rates.

This conclusion is backed up by experimental research. If you have police play highly realistic virtual reality games in which they confront violent criminals they pause before shooting someone who is clearly coming after them. This pause is longer when their attacker is Black.

This hesitancy to shoot Black people happens even though areas of the brain associated with perceiving danger light up more when police officers see Black attackers, suggesting that police officers are stopping themselves from appropriately responding to the threat they perceive when that threat comes from Black people.

Perhaps they are afraid of the media turning their act of self-defense into a news story. This would explain why research has found that police are more likely to shoot Black people when they are using a body camera.

To conclude, I don’t think that most of the anecdotes focused on by the media are examples of police unjustifiably killing Black people. Even if they were though, these stories are anecdotes, not evidence, and the deaths of, say, 15 people, a year tells us next to nothing in a nation of more than 300 million inhabitants. If we look at real data, it becomes apparent that we would expect more Blacks to be killed by cops, rather than fewer, if the police were truly color blind.

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  • Ye Deplorable Uncucker

    Black people say they’re scared of police, but they sure don’t act like it.

  • Brylar Foustark

    “If you have police play highly realistic virtual reality games…”

    Since the evidence from actual shootings by actual cops prove a systemic problem of abuse we should ignore that evidence and go with virtual reality games because they are so much more reliable. Ignore all the videos of armed Caucasians who dont get killed while holding a gun and not listening to commands. Ignore how often guns are used first on African Americans while tasers are first used against Caucasians.

    Majority of Caucasians are killed by other Caucasians.

    Ive not read up on the second killing in great detail but this:

    “As usual, it is not clear that either police officer committed murder and, if they did, that it had anything to do with race.”

    Is freaking absurd because the Tulsa cops claimed Crutcher was shot after reaching into his suv to grab a gun. Why would they think he had a gun? A cop in the chopper referenced him as “a real bad dude.” Given the fact Crutcher never made any quick movements and clearly had his hands up while slowly walking to his vehicle, racism answers the questions. Explain it without racism and keep in mind the cop who shot him admitted she told him to get his car off the road….which is why he was walking to his vehicle. If you want to claim he was on something the PCP claim is laughed off the table by the video. People reacting to PCP trips do not move slowly and cautiously.

    We also know without any doubt Crutcher’s window was closed making it impossible for him to reach into his suv. You can see a screencap of his blood running down the window seconds after he is murdered.

    I can prove how Sean Last’s racism factored into his claim of Scott’s killing being justified with:

    “…Keith Lamont Scott got out of his car with his gun and then refused to drop his weapon.”

    Notice how he did not say anything about how much time passed between the supposed order and the shooting. It’s because Last does not know and never cared to ask.

    Also, the first database reference is by an author clearly stating racial bias is not eliminated by his findings.

    What we know for a fact is over 20 years ago a federal law was passed requiring all police departments to submit annual use of force records to the US AG but that law has never been enforced and it is clear the police did not want to provide evidence of their own abuse towards citizens.

    • Ryan Faulk

      “Ignore all the videos of armed Caucasians who dont get killed while holding a gun and not listening to commands.”

      – What do you mean by “ignore”? You’re citing anecdotes. There’s nothing to say about anecdotes. Look, I can find anecdotes too:
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/14/police-release-body-camera-video-showing-shooting-of-unarmed-whi/

      Blacks are more violent than whites in all aspects of life. Blacks make up a larger proportion of cop killers than they do of people killed by cops.

      When a black physically attacks a cop, the black is about 20% less likely to be killed than a white behaving the same way.

      And when cops have body cameras, they are MORE likely to shoot a black than without one. This is evidence that cops’ biggest fear when shooting a black is the public backlash – however, if the event is being recorded, cops are more likely to do what needs to be done.

      The reality is that if the police were fair, more blacks would be killed. Blacks who should be getting killed aren’t getting killed because the cops are soft on blacks.

      • Brylar Foustark

        Since the police have ignored federal law about submitting an annual report to the AG all we have to use are the videos and of all the available videos and information cops are more likely to kill unarmed African Americans versus Caucasians.

        “Blacks are more violent than whites in all aspects of life.”

        Thanks for your input Connor.

        • Ryan Faulk

          They are. They’re more likely to assault people, including their own family and children. The idea that they aren’t going to attack cops more would go against everything we know about blacks.

          Sure, cops are more likely to kill black people – armed or unarmed – because black people are more likely to do things that make it more likely for cops to kill them.

          • Relentless Onslaught

            Hey Ryan, is your current podcast thing published somewhere outside of Youtube?

        • Hayus

          Blacks are the most represented race in serial killing, mass shooting (as called by the FBI), homicides both intraracial and interracial…

        • N0 0ne

          So you believe that hatefacts should be suppressed? Or lied about?

    • “Since the evidence from actual shootings by actual cops prove a systemic problem of abuse we should ignore that evidence and go with virtual reality games because they are so much more reliable.”

      This claim is false. As is shown in this article, the relevant data shows a bias in favor, rather than against, Blacks.

      ” Ignore all the videos of armed Caucasians who dont get killed while holding a gun and not listening to commands. ”

      Individual cases are difficult to interpret and are anecdotes. I am not interested in your anti-scientific propaganda. I am interested in data.

      “Majority of Caucasians are killed by other Caucasians.”

      Yes, and? I never said or implied otherwise.

      “Is freaking absurd because the Tulsa cops claimed Crutcher was shot after reaching into his suv to grab a gun. Why would they think he had a gun? A cop in the chopper referenced him as “a real bad dude.” Given the fact Crutcher never made any quick movements and clearly had his hands up while slowly walking to his vehicle, racism answers the questions. ”

      The fact that he was called “a real bad dude” in no way implies that he was singled out because of his race. I agree that the Tulsa shooting may not have been justified and said so in this article. However, there is literally no evidence that race was a factor in the shooting, and, again, the aggregate data shows that Blacks would be killed more often by police in a color blind society.

      “Notice how he did not say anything about how much time passed between the supposed order and the shooting.”

      Okay, how much time passed, and what does this have to do with whether or not it was a racist murder? Also, I don’t care what you think about my supposed “racism”. Stick to evidence.

      “the first database reference is by an author clearly stating racial bias is not eliminated by his findings.”

      I cited the author’s data, not his opinions. I used the data, in conjunction with other data, to show that there is no racial bias.

      Your comment offers no serious argument against the data I utilized or the argument I made with it.

  • Blacks are stronger and more aggressive. So, white women have jungle fever, reject white men, and use their white wombs & teats to raise black mulatto babies.

    • Hayus

      > Blacks are stronger

      No evidence.

      Demonstrate the majority find Blacks attractive.

      >So, white women have jungle fever, reject white men, and use their white wombs & teats to raise black mulatto babies.

      Demonstrate the majority of White women would breed with White men.