by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
About twice as many white people as black people are killed by police. In fact, in about 75 percent of police shootings, the decedent is not black. Of course, that is not what you would grasp from consuming media.
Take the website statista.com, specifically its breathless focus on “Hate crime in the United States” — counterfactually insinuating that any shooting involving a black victim must be a “hate crime.” Here’s their big headline from Tuesday: “Black Americans 2.5X More Likely Than Whites to Be Killed By Police.”
It is fiction. It is sheer demagoguery, peddled as American cities are besieged by rioters in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police. The falsity of the claim is demonstrated even by statista.com itself. Just three days ago, the site posted another series of bar graphs, showing that, in fact, whites are nearly twice as likely as blacks to be shot to death by police. …
… Right underneath its chart, statista.com writes, “Sadly, the trend of fatal police shootings in the United States seems only to be increasing.” In point of fact, it is steady. … The Washington Post acknowledges that fatal shootings by police have run steadily at around 1,000 per year since 2015 — 995 (2015), 963 (2016), 987 (2017), 998 (2018), and 1,004 (2019).
As Heather Mac Donald relates in an insightful Wall Street Journal op-ed, blacks make up only a quarter of the total number of people killed in police shootings annually, a ratio that has held steady since 2015. The reigning canard, however, is that this 25 percent figure proves racism since African Americans make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population.
Ridiculous as this syllogism is (as we’ll see, it conveniently elides more consequential factors), it still puts the lie to the slanderous narrative that police are hunting down black men.