We seem to be hearing a lot of anti-police rhetoric from the 2020 Democratic candidates. For example, Beto O’Rourke says that police shoot African Americans “solely based on the color of their skin.” Pete Buttigieg has described “the shadow of systemic racism” that pervades law enforcement.
Heather Mac Donald quotes from a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that demolishes the Beto- Buttigieg critique of policing. Mac Donald writes:
It turns out that white officers are no more likely than black or Hispanic officers to shoot black civilians.
It is a racial group’s rate of violent crime that determines police shootings, not the race of the officer. The more frequently officers encounter violent suspects from any given racial group, the greater the chance that members of that racial group will be shot by a police officer.
Oddly enough, given the rhetoric, if there is a bias, the study found that it is against white civilians. This is reflected in the pressure on police departments to hire based on race. In order to do this, departments have sometimes changed hiring standards to meet this goal. Mac Donald concludes:
The “policing is racist” discourse is poisonous. It exacerbates anti-cop tensions in minority communities and makes cops less willing to engage in the proactive policing that can save lives. Last month, viral videos of pedestrians in Harlem, The Bronx and Brooklyn pouring water on passive NYPD officers showed that anti-police hostility in the inner city remains at dangerous levels.
The anti-cop narrative deflects attention away from the real criminal-justice problem, which is high rates of black-on-black victimization. Blacks die of homicide at eight times the rate of non-Hispanic whites, overwhelmingly killed not by cops, not by whites, but by other blacks. Democratic candidates should get their facts straight and address that issue. Until they do, their talk of racial justice will ring hollow.
Read the entire column.