Yesterday, five cops were murdered in Dallas by a black shooter who hated the police. This came after months of the police being scapegoated by liberal politicians. Democratic leaders have sought to mobilize their party’s black base by inflaming hostility to the police. Hillary Clinton falsely claimed that there is “‘systemic racism’ in police departments” fueling “mass incarceration,” both before and after the murder of the five police officers in Dallas. Similarly, President Obama claimed yesterday that there are “troubling” “racial disparities” in “our criminal justice system” that show systemic racism in law enforcement, rather than merely “isolated” wrongdoing by individual cops.
Such claims inflame animosity towards police among African-Americans – perhaps including the Dallas shooter. As Aaron Bandler notes at the Daily Wire, “Anti-police rhetoric has deadly consequences.” As the Dallas Police Chief revealed, the Dallas shooter “said he was upset about the recent police shootings. The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.” Earlier, the New York Times reported that in “Minnesota on Thursday night, some protesters had chanted, ‘Kill the police.'” “On social media, there were salutes to the sniper.”
These liberal claims of “systemic racism” are based on ignorance of the federal government’s own crime statistics, which show that higher arrest rates among blacks are due to a higher crime rate among blacks — not police racism. But these false claims make it appear to many in the black community as if individual tragic deaths of black men like Philando Castile are part of a systematic police campaign to put black men in prison or an early grave — which is just not so. Just as periodic police shootings of unarmed white teenagers does not show a police conspiracy against white men. Indeed, “cops killed nearly twice as many whites as blacks in 2015.”
The murder rate is eight times higher among blacks than among non-Hispanic whites. (See Wikipedia, “Race and Crime in the United States.”) More than half of all murders are committed by blacks, who are just 13% of the population. (See FBI, “2014 Uniform Crime Reports: Crime in the United States,” Table 43A, Arrests by Race, 2014.)
These higher arrest and conviction rates reflect higher crime rates among blacks, not racism by police or the criminal justice system. Innocent blacks are not being “railroaded” or subjected to “mass incarceration.” Black victims themselves tend to identify their assailants as black. As City Journal has noted, “the race of criminals reported by crime victims matches arrest data. As long ago as 1978, a study of robbery and aggravated assault in eight cities found parity between the race of assailants in victim identifications and in arrests—a finding replicated many times since, across a range of crimes. No one has ever come up with a plausible argument as to why crime victims would be biased in their reports.” For example, 43.7% of all rapists in state prisons were black, according to a 1997 report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, even though blacks are only 13% of the general population. (See Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Sex Offenses and Offenders“ (Feb. 1997) (NCJ-163392)).
Yet, Democrats sometimes falsely claim, against all evidence, that there are no differences in rates of crime or misconduct among different races. And Obama has repeatedly implied this. This false notion is also sometimes peddled by liberal bureaucrats in agencies that have no expertise in crime, such as in the Education Department. It peddles the false notion, at odds with state and Justice Department juvenile delinquency statistics, that student misconduct rates do not differ by race, when they in fact differ profoundly, and the teenage homicide rate is ten times higher among blacks than among whites.
By ignoring the reality that crime rates vary by race, and implying that it is racist whenever blacks are arrested at higher rates than whites, politicians like Obama and Clinton fuel rage against America’s police. Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart argued on Friday that “Liberal politicians who label police as racists — specifically Hillary Clinton . . . are to blame for essentially encouraging the murder of these police officers tonight.”
President Obama made similar misleading claims in his speech Thursday after tragic police shootings in Louisiana and Minneapolis. Although the murder rate is 8 times higher among blacks, and the rape rate more than three times greater, Obama found evidence of racism in the fact that the police arrested a mere twice as many blacks as whites. Given the staggering crime rate in black inner-city communities, it is not surprising that the arrest rate is twice as high for blacks as whites. Yet, he argued that there was proof of “troubling” and “broader set of racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system” in the following “statistics”:
According to various studies, not just one, but a wide range of studies that have been carried out over a number of years, African Americans are 30 percent more likely than whites to be pulled over. . .
Last year African Americans were shot by police at more than twice the rate of whites.
African Americans are arrested at twice the rate of whites; African Americans defendants are 75 percent more likely to be charged with offenses carrying mandatory minimums. . . the African American and Hispanic population, who make up only 30 percent of the general population, make up more than half of the incarcerated population.
These are facts. And when incidents like this occur, there’s a big chunk of our fellow citizenry that feels as if because of the color of their skin they are not being treated the same. And that hurts.
But these “statistics” simply reflect higher rates of crime among blacks, and higher rates of threatening behavior toward cops. The fact that, as Obama said, “African Americans are 30 percent more likely than whites to be pulled over,” does not show any wrongdoing by police at all. It just reflects higher rates of traffic violations among blacks. As the black labor lawyer and civil-rights expert Peter Kirsanow noted in 2015, in “the Ferguson Report is a Farce” “several studies over the last 20 years (including data adduced before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights) show that black drivers commit various types of traffic offenses – including speeding, driving under suspension, DUI, and running red lights and stop signs – more often than drivers of other races.”
Similarly, given the fact that most robberies and murders are committed by black people alone, Obama should not have found it surprising that blacks and Hispanics combined “make up more than half the incarcerated population.” As Wikipedia notes, “According to the National Crime Victimization Survey in 2002, the black arrest rate for robbery was 8.55 times higher than whites, and blacks were 16 times more likely to be incarcerated for robbery than non-Hispanic whites. Robberies with white victims and black offenders were more than 12 times more common than the reverse.” Similarly, as Heather Mac Donald noted in the Wall Street Journal, “2009 statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics reveal that blacks were charged with 62 percent of robberies, 57 percent of murders and 45 percent of assaults in the 75 biggest counties in the country, despite only comprising roughly 15 percent of the population in these counties.” Obama’s assumption that incarceration rates among blacks shows racism was rejected by the Supreme Court in United States v. Armstrong (1996). That ruling rejected the “presumption that people of all races commit all types of crimes” at the same rate, which is “contradicted by” reality.
Similarly, Obama’s statement that “African Americans were shot by police at more than twice the rate of whites” also does nothing to show racism or police misconduct. As the Daily Wire observes, shootings of “unarmed” black people are not always unjustified, since in the examples cited by the Washington Post, “At least five black victims had reportedly tried to grab the officer’s gun, or had been beating the cop with his own equipment.” The percentage of those shot (by police) who are black is smaller than the percentage of violent criminals who are black.
More importantly, claims that police shootings are motivated by racism are also contradicted by the following facts cited by the Daily Wire and Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute:
4. Black and Hispanic police officers are more likely to fire a gun at blacks than white officers. This is according to a Department of Justice report in 2015 about the Philadelphia Police Department, and is further confirmed that by a study conducted University of Pennsylvania criminologist Gary Ridgeway in 2015 that determined black cops were 3.3 times more likely to fire a gun than other cops at a crime scene.
5. Blacks are more likely to kill cops than be killed by cops. This is according to FBI data, which also found that 40 percent of cop killers are black. According to MacDonald, the police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black than a cop killing an unarmed black person.