How dangerous are cops to Blacks — actually?

How many unarmed Black men do you think were shot by police in 2019, the last year available from the Washington Post, which maintains probably the best data base on this subject?

Do you think it was 10? 100? 1,000? 10,000?

Have you picked a number? Do you believe your guess is influenced by your political orientation?

It is, according to a fascinating study of Americans’ attitudes by the Skeptic Research Center. 

The number, reported by the liberal  Washington Post, was 13. A secondary source lists the number as high as 27. 

That is among the millions of police/civilian contacts each year.

Of those shot by police, the percentage of unarmed Black men is 26.7%, slightly more than one-quarter.

African-Americans account for about 13% of the population, so the number reveals a disproportionate number of Black victims, about twice as high. But there is no escaping the reality that the number is low, very low.

Reality is one thing, beliefs are another.

The Skeptic charts clearly reveal that the farther Left you are, the higher the number of victims you choose. . . Wrongly.

Nearly 60% of those calling themselves liberal or very liberal believe the number is about 1,000 — 30 times the reality of the higher number of 27. No wonder so many of them believe in defunding the police. They see an ocean of abuse when the reality is a pond.

At the other end of the scale, 90% of those calling themselves conservative or very conservative chose 10, underestimating the actual number. 

Only one-third of moderates chose 10, which is the choice closest to reality. The majority picked the higher numbers.

Skeptic doesn’t speculate as to why this is true, but I will.

There is such heavy reporting on each of these cop-on-Black incidents, almost nonstop on some cable outlets, it exaggerates them. Conversely, there is a lack of reporting on whites shot by cops, which amounts to about three-quarters of the shootings. 

Then there are the advocates who use each shooting to generate support or donations.

Politicians sometimes minimize (or maximize) the killings.

U.S. Rep Karen Bass (D.,CA) on Sunday told CNN’s Dana Bash that “Since George Floyd’s murder, over 100 people have been murdered or brutalized by police.”

For her own purposes, Bass conflated two different things — alleged homicide and assault — to make the number as high as possible, and to stir the maximum amount of fear. She also used the loaded word “brutalized.” Does that mean a slap, a shove up against a wall, or a felonious beatdown with blackjacks?

We don’t know and Bass is not saying. She’s happy to foment fear.

The actual numbers reported by the Washington Post  are important because facts are always important.

The actual number of Blacks killed by cops — every incident is different, and all are regrettable — proves that Blacks are not being “hunted,” as we have heard some “leaders” say. Others claim “It’s open season on Blacks.”

It’s just not true. It is nonsense.

In Philadelphia, as I reported last June, “African-Americans were 80% of shooting victims, but the unarmed suspects were more likely to be white. In a majority of cases, unarmed Black suspects were shot by Black officers,” according to a Department of Justice study of the Philadelphia Police Department.

Nationally, one of the biggest lies has attained legendary status. It’s the one about Michael Brown: “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

Black, liberal Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart courageously called that a flatout lie.

This isn’t to diminish Brown’s death, but we shouldn’t have people marching in the streets chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot” when it is built on a lie. The chant riles them up, infuriates them, intimidates them — but it is a lie.

I have reported this kind of information in the past, not to disprove racism, as a few have said. I do it to present the facts, that the problem is nowhere near as devastating as some believe. Beliefs should be built on a platform of fact, not propaganda.

The Skeptic research showed the political persuasion of those surveyed.

Can you imagine the results had they surveyed white people and people of color?

Am I crazy to think the POC results would have dwarfed those of the “very liberal”? I base that on comments I got from Blacks on previous columns I have written, and on Facebook. It’s clear that Blacks imagine the numbers are very much worse than they are.

That is dangerous, and demoralizing.

It creates an exaggerated sense of danger for Black people, which is not good for their mental health, or for us, as a nation.

30 thoughts on “How dangerous are cops to Blacks — actually?”

  1. The merchants of racial doom, such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton make there living by pushing this lie of blacks being slain by white cops. Your article refutes these lies told by these opportunists. You never see them show up when black youths kill each other in cities, which is the real tragedy.

    Sorry to say, when people get on their soapbox, seldom does the truth get in the way.
    One thing for sure. When their is a police involved shooting, the color of that cop is BLUE. Especially if the shooting takes place in the ghetto.

  3. Nobody wants to hear the truth. For today’s journalists it’s all about the number of followers.

  4. Hello Mr. Bykofsky,

    Great article as usual. It seems to me that it would take an insurmountable amount of courage for the MSM to publish a similar piece. By doing so, they would run the risk of being branded as perpetuating systemic racism. So, their limited options are either to continue “the narrative” or simply not run articles such as this one at all. Very sad.

    Can you imagine your former employer running this column?

    Keep up the good work. Thank you!

    1. Thank you and yes, I think the Inquirer would have published this had I written it. But with me gone, there is no one left to write it. 😃

  5. The Michael Brown shooting was justified. Brown initiated the confrontation by reaching into Officer Wison’s car and tried to get his gun. Brown fled with Wilson pursuing him on foot. Shortly thereafter Brown stopped and charged Wilson, Brown was shot 6 times, all in front of his body. Wilson fired his gun twice in his patrol car and 12 times in the pursuit.The U.S. Department of Justice determined that Wilson shot Brown in self-defense.

    In a study released last week, Skeptic magazine released the results of a Questionnaire given to over 1500 participants separated by a far-left liberal to very liberal-and conservative to far-right conservative. The result is that the actual killing of unarmed black men in 2019 quoted by the Washington Post was 19. Looking at the percentage of the breakdown of each group was the far left varied from 100 plus to 1000 were killed by the police. On the far right, the belief was from 30 to 60. In other words, both got it wrong but the liberals ran with the false media narrative along with political leaders and black demagogues willfully lying to their constituents. Scarily 6% of the far left believed that 10,000 unarmed blacks were killed by police in 2019.
    If you as a member of the black community accept the false narrative that police were killing blacks by the hundreds and at a much greater number than whites you then join demonstrations that become violent riots while Liberal city Mayor’s fuel the flames causing the shouts of defunding and reeducation of their police. One of the countries’ respected civil rights lawyers stated that the number killed was far below that could have been killed according to the rising crime rates. We can hope that in the future elected officials, Mayors, City Councils, anti-police DA’s and those who pander for votes would be confronted with this type of study along with other recent studies to return to a flicker of honesty but sadly that will happen when hell freezes over and Al Sharpton pays his taxes.

      1. Michael Shermer is an old acquaintance whom I became a friend with after meeting him through the amazing Randi maybe the greatest debunkers of our time. I am trying to put together a post on White privilege and black victimization but using nothing but black conservative leaders like Thomas
        Sowell, Shelby Steele, Glenn Laury, and John McWhorter all professors in major colleges across the country. I wish in some ways the platform was more widespread to establish an open dialogue. If you get the opportunity to watch the independent film “What killed Michael Brown?” by Shelby Steele it is easily a couple of informative coluums. Thanks for the comment.

        1. Tom, I already have done the Michael Brown column, leaning on the excellent reporting and commentary of Black, liberal Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart. I link to that column often, and yet I find — just yesterday of Facebook – a white (guilty) liberal who will NOT accept it.
          Nor the fact that A.G. Eric Holder found nothing racist.

          1. Yes, I read it and it was a great synopsis by as you stated liberal Journalist. My suggestion which I try to direct to anyone on Facebook is to not just read the opposing view but watch an independent film like the one that destroys the entire beginning of the first riot in Ferguson Missouri. (What killed Michael Brown}
            P.S. The trial of the cops In Minneapolis will cause new uprisings.

  7. Yes, it is a small number, and that number is twice the number for whites.
    This is one of those situations where the statistics show how much worse something is, but because it is such a small thing some folks think it shouldn’t matter.
    No death is a small thing. I think the point has been missed. As long as there is a difference, there is a problem. That problem is currently 200%. When it is equal, 100%, then it won’t be anything to talk about.
    This is not about racial slurs and hurt feelings, this is about lives. No difference is acceptable.

    1. As you know, I reported the disproportion in shootings by cops. Nothing I said made it acceptable. The POINT of the post was that political orientation shapes perceptions, which is not exactly earth shattering.

  8. Stu: I wonder how many police officers of any color were shot by Blacks. Have you access to that info?

      1. HAPPY TUESDAY !!!
        While it’s always entertaining and often educational to listen to Mayor Rudy G, I was hoping that you had the numbers for Philly. I’m not curious enough to do the research. I’m sure that all of your readers are concerned about national numbers, but the immediate issue is right here. Did Rizzo train his cops well ? Did those that follow as Commissioner continue the work of making us proud our police ? I think that the answer is a resounding YES ! Except for the current commish.

          1. pallie,
            As I said above. I would like to see the real numbers for Philly. I doubt that they are anywhere near the national average. It’s only in recent years that it has been open season on cops. It never was hunting season for blacks. As I also said about black cops shooting blacks. The only color is blue. The noise level from people rioting and screaming , are not yelling and screaming that a black cop killed a black.

  9. Philadelphia, PA

    Dear Stu,

    Many thanks for your good efforts to get at the facts and the actual numbers. It’s important. I’ve never before seen actual numbers.

    The politically polarized do tend to follow each other instead of the facts.

    H.G. Callaway

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