Think Tank: Data Show Black Lives Most Threatened by Violent Criminals, Not the Police

By Jose R. Gonzalez | January 26, 2016 | 2:49 PM EST

 

Black Lives Matter protest. (AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) -- A new think tank report takes aim at the Black Lives Matter movement’s contention that law enforcement’s use of lethal force unequally targets blacks compared to other racial or ethnic groups.

According to the report by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, not only are a higher percentage of whites and Hispanics killed by police, the greater threat to blacks comes from violent criminals within their own communities.

“The evidence does not support the conclusion that American police are waging a racist war against blacks,” Manhattan senior fellow Heather Mac Donald writes.

“The Black Lives Matter movement has been a counterproductive distraction from the real violence problem facing black communities: violence from criminals, not the police,” the report concludes.

“Law enforcement could end all use of lethal force tomorrow, and it would have, at most, a negligible effect on the black death-by-homicide rate, which is driven overwhelmingly by murders committed by other black civilians,” Mac Donald notes in Reality Check: Violent Criminals, Not the Police. Pose Real Threat to African-Americans, which was published Jan. 21.

Mac Donald’s research, which is based on data from the Centers for Disease Control, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice, contradicts claims by the Black Lives Matter movement that police unfairly single out blacks when they use lethal force.

In an interview, Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza is quoted as saying: “It’s also pretty callous, in my opinion, to say ‘all lives matter’ when black folks are being killed every 28 hours by police or vigilantes.”

But Mac Donald points out that blacks actually face a lower level of lethal force by police than either whites or Hispanics.

“Police shootings account for a much smaller share of homicides in the black community than in other communities: 4 percent of black homicide victims are killed by the police, compared with 12 percent of white and Hispanic homicide victims,” she states.

“The actual data on police shootings tell a different story from the one being promulgated by Black Lives Matter. Police shootings will never be randomly distributed throughout the population; they will occur where the police interact with violent criminals, armed suspects, and those resisting arrest,” Mac Donald writes.

“Unfortunately, blacks represent a dramatically disproportionate share of those populations. In fact, police use deadly force against blacks at a lower rate than would be predicted by black crime and black use of force against the police.”

Using data compiled by the Department of Justice, Mac Donald writes that though they made up 15 percent of the population, “in America’s 75 largest counties in 2009, blacks constituted 62 percent of all robbery defendants, 57 percent of all murder defendants, 45 percent of all assault defendants.”

Mac Donald also refers to comparable statistics from New York City that highlight the fact that a disproportionate number of perpetrators of violent crimes are black.

“In New York City in 2014, blacks committed 75 percent of shootings and 70 percent of robberies — as reported by the victims of and witnesses to those crimes — but represented only 23 percent of the population,” she writes, citing data from the New York City Police Department.

In contrast, “whites committed less than 2 percent of shootings and 4 percent of robberies in New York City in 2014, though they are 34 percent of the city’s population.”

Using data compiled by the Washington Post, Mac Donald highlights how the number of black victims of police homicide — 4 percent — compares to the number of black civilians killed by other black civilians — 90 percent, according to Justice Department data she cites.

“Disproportionately high black crime rates mean that police—if they are deploying their resources where they are most needed — will be called disproportionately to minority neighborhoods in response to violent incidents,” Mac Donald explains.

However, she writes that “fewer than a third of police killings of civilians have black victims. From 2003 to 2009, blacks made up 32 percent of all arrest-related homicides, according to the Justice Department — far less than what black violent-crime rates would predict. According to the Washington Post, in 2015, blacks made up 26 percent of police homicide victims.”

Mac Donald believes that more policing coupled with community requests for assistance from police will reduce the incidence of violent crime in black communities and therefore the number of arrest-related homicides will also drop.

But she warned that the media’s “incessant charge” that police unfairly target blacks could ironically result in more police shootings of blacks.

According to the Justice Department,” she writes, ‘use of force typically occurs when police are trying to make an arrest and the suspect is resisting.’

“But the media’s incessant charge that the police are racist increases the chance that a black suspect, convinced that he is being singled out because of his race, will resist police authority,” Mac Donald asserts.