CNN again attempts to misrepresent officer-involved shooting data.
Recent CNN Article Continues With Its War on Police, Using Flawed Documentation and Statistics
CNN recently published a study of police use of what they call “fatal force” under the headline “Black Men Nearly 3 Times As Likely To Die From Police Use of Force.” This study is so blatantly untrue, anti-law enforcement, and only serves to increase the already out-of-control war on police that President Obama’s administration has created.
The study failed to consider or include any statistics involving violent crime, which vary greatly by race, and which may predict officer use of force. Any analysis of police actions without these variables and using population data only is useless, invalidates the study, and worse yet, is irresponsible journalism. One point of contention with the article is that it does not consider gender. James Buehler, a Public Health Professor at Drexel University, found documentation in public records that showed 2,285 civilian deaths from police officers in 2010 and 2014. Of those deaths, 96 percent were males. This gender inequality is far greater than any race inequality in officers’ use of force. It is apparently acceptable to accept the gender disparity but not the race disparity.
The documentation that Professor Buehler used does not appear to contain information about the circumstances surrounding the deaths or that they would be relevant. Both are important. For example, if the circumstances concerning a death involved the decedent’s attack on a police officer or if the decedent was threatening a civilian, those facts would absolutely matter. Buehler doesn’t take any of that into consideration and just states that non-Hispanic white males account for the largest number of deaths at the hands of police. He further states that the number of deaths per million of population was “2.8 times higher among black men and 1.7 times higher among Hispanic men, respectively.”
According to CNN, this fact is “disturbing.” But CNN doesn’t mention anything about being disturbed at the fact that black men are killed by homicide more than six times greater than the rates of Hispanics and whites combined. It isn’t the police or whites that are killing them. It is other black men. News sources state that “black males between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at 10 times the rate of white and Hispanic male teens combined. Black males between the ages of 18 and 24 commit homicide at 9.3 times the rate of white and Hispanic males of the same age.” What is true is that only four percent, a much smaller proportion, of blacks die from police shootings than the 12 percent of Hispanics and whites that die from police shootings.
The National Review cites the city of Chicago as an example of violent street crime and consequences of officer-involved use of force. A recent weekend this month of non-police involved shootings included a fatal shooting that involved four victims, and 15 other people, including a nine-year-old boy, who were shot over a 24-hour period. As of December 21, 2016, 4,257 people have been shot in Chicago, about one person every two hours. Out of that number, the police have shot 25 people, about 0.6 percent of the total, and all were armed and dangerous.
What’s true is that the elevated black violent crime rate is driving these contacts with law enforcement. Police only respond to the situation they are presented with or are called to respond to. According to the National Review, “the incidence of violent crime is what is driving the incidence of police interactions that can lead to officer use of force.” This is the truth, not the false, flawed, irresponsibility of CNN’s report.
And another fact: over the last decade, black males made up 42 percent of all cop killers whose race was known, although they only make up six percent of the nation’s population. Again, police officers do not seek out these violent confrontations; they respond to them based on the totality of circumstances, including their training and experience. News sources state that “a police officer is more than 18 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer.” That is a documented statistic, which CNN irresponsibly refuses to acknowledge.
Police officers do not avoid any race when they do their jobs. They put their lives on the line every day to protect all citizens, including those from high-crime neighborhoods. Unfortunately, there is little chance that the obvious racial disparity in officer line of duty deaths will change until we can reduce the amount of violent crime committed by black males.
For example, in New York City, blacks make up 23 percent of the population but commit 75 percent of all shootings. Blacks and Hispanics combined account for between 97 and 98 percent of all shootings. Whites account for 34 percent of New York City’s population, yet are responsible for about two percent of all shootings. This means that almost every time a New York City Police Officer confronts a suspect in a drive-by shooting, with the inherent risk that the officer himself will have to use lethal force, he is confronting either a black or Hispanic suspect.
CNN gives two reasons for Buehler’s findings: racism or poverty. One professor from the University of California – Berkeley, states that it is “almost impossible” to come up with an explanation for Buehler’s findings that does not include “an influence of racial bias.” Buehler told CNN in the study that poverty may be the reason for racial inequalities in death-by-officer rates. But if this were true, black violence is far greater than other ethnic groups that are just as poor.
It is nothing new for CNN and some media to present this sort of inaccurate, irresponsible reporting to the public. And of course, they’re not going to address the real issue: black crime rates, which produce unacceptably high black victimization rates. Instead, they will continue their obvious war on police, supported by the current administration, which in turn, results in more hate and violence towards police officers.
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