Police, race and deadly force | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Police, race and deadly force

Posted By on Tue, Jul 12, 2016 at 7:22 AM

POLICE FORCE: Though encounters between police and blacks were no more likely to result in shootings than with whites, according to a new study, figures on other sorts of force show a difference. - NEW YORK TIMES
  • New York Times
  • POLICE FORCE: Though encounters between police and blacks were no more likely to result in shootings than with whites, according to a new study, figures on other sorts of force show a difference.

New additions today to the debate on racial influence in police use of deadly force.

A Harvard economist, who happens to be black, has analyzed data from six cities and four counties and concluded that, while there is evidence of racial bias in police use of force again black people, there's no evidence of bias in use of lethal force, or shooting.

In shootings in these 10 cities involving officers, officers were more likely to fire their weapons without having first been attacked when the suspects were white. Black and white civilians involved in police shootings were equally likely to have been carrying a weapon. Both results undercut the idea of racial bias in police use of lethal force.
There are caveats and Vox notes some of them in a skeptical review. Among others:

The most revealing passage in the Times article is probably the one explaining what Fryer and his team didn’t include in their study:

It focused on what happens when police encounters occur, not how often they happen. Racial differences in how often police-civilian interactions occur reflect greater structural problems in society.

In other words, Fryer and company found that there weren’t big racial disparities in how often black and white suspects who’d already been stopped by police were killed. But they deliberately avoided the question of whether black citizens are more likely to be stopped to begin with (they are) and whether they’re more likely to be stopped without cause (yup).
Driving while black (or walking while black in certain neighborhoods) is still a cause for suspicion in many jurisdictions. It is cold comfort to black parents to be told that their children aren't any more likely to be shot than white children after being stopped in the 10 jurisdictions studied, though they might be more likely to be pepper sprayed.

Data isn't likely to overcome belief on those volatile questions in either direction. Yesterday, for example, some mythology about Philando Castile, the black man killed in Minnesota, reached our comments section. He was wanted for armed robbery, said one reader with great assurance based on right-wing websites. But he was NOT "wanted." Snopes explains.  An  officer did stop him because he thought Castile resembled a suspect in a recent armed robbery.

Similarities between Castile and the robbery suspect?

Both were black. And, Castile had a "wide-set nose." 

Tags: , , ,

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • More on how highways were used to wipe out "blight" of non-white neighborhoods

    Vox, a news website that concerns itself with energy and other issues, has a fine piece, including before and after images, on the history of the U.S. interstate system and why roads were built through the middle of cities (unless people of influence stopped them — see Manhattan, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.)
    • Mar 22, 2016
  • Is Arkansas in or out on Kobach voter data effort?

    The Washington Post has published a map that counts Arkansas as among states that will "partially comply" with a sweeping request for voter data by the so-called election integrity commission set up by Donald Trump in an effort to cast doubt on Hillary Clinton's 3 million-vote popular defeat of him in 2016.
    • Jul 2, 2017
  • LR speakers blast state board for double standard

    A series of speakers, beginning with Sen. Joyce Elliott, denounced what they saw as a hidden agenda favoring charter schools at the state Department of Education and asked the state Board of Education for return of local control.
    • May 12, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation