Are blacks disproportionately targets of police shootings?

Are blacks disproportionately targets of police shootings?
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Listening to liberals like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, you would think that enormous numbers of black men are being gunned down by police officers. When the issue is debated, many take it for granted that a vastly disproportionate number of blacks are involved in police shootings – in fact, if you didn’t know better, you might think that only blacks are ever shot by policemen.

The numbers tell a different story. Like all statistics, they bounce around from year to year, but let’s go with the Washington Post’s study of police shootings in 2015. The Post found that 990 people, almost all of them men, were shot and killed by law enforcement last year. Before you start calling them victims, however, note that the Post also found that in three-quarters of these incidents, police were defending either themselves or someone else who was, at that moment, under attack. That leaves around 250 cases that were not obvious self-defense or defense of a third person. That doesn’t mean, of course, that those shootings were unjustified.

What was the racial breakdown of those who were shot by police in 2015? The largest number, 494, almost exactly half, were white. 258 were black, 172 were Hispanic, and the remaining 66 were either “other” or unknown. (Interestingly, Asians are rarely shot by police officers.)

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