George Floyd

George Floyd's Horrifying Death Highlights Stark Racial Disparities in the Use of Police Force

When Minneapolis cops report that they used or threatened violence, blacks are on the receiving end three-fifths of the time.


The cellphone video of George Floyd's fatal encounter with three Minneapolis police officers—during which one of them kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, ignoring Floyd's anguished pleas, bystanders' objections, and the concerns of a colleague who twice suggested that Floyd should be rolled from his stomach to his side—is horrifying enough on its own. But the anger expressed in the nationwide protests triggered by that incident goes far beyond this case or the litany of others in which cops killed unarmed black men. It reflects a general pattern of racially skewed law enforcement that is clear from data on the use of force by police in Minneapolis and elsewhere. These numbers show that African Americans have good reason to believe their complexions make them especially vulnerable to police abuse.

Whenever a Minneapolis officer draws his gun, deploys a dog, or grabs, shoves, slaps, punches, kicks, tackles, pins, strangles, tases, or pepper-sprays someone, he is supposed to report that use of force. Blacks, who account for a fifth of the city's population, were on the receiving end of such violence nearly three-fifths of the time during the last five years, according to official records analyzed by The New York Times. Whites, who account for more than three-fifths of Minneapolis residents, were involved in less than a quarter of those incidents.

To put it another way, the Times says, "police in Minneapolis used force against black people at a rate at least seven times that of white people." While the contrast is especially striking in Minneapolis, researchers have documented such racial disparities in cities across the country.

In a 2016 National Bureau of Economics paper, Harvard economist Roland Fryer analyzed information about police encounters from New York City's "stop and frisk" program, from a nationally representative survey of the general public, and from reports on incidents in which officers fired their weapons, based on records provided by law enforcement agencies in Austin, Dallas, Houston, six Florida counties, and Los Angeles County. Although he found no evidence of racial disparities in shootings, he reported that "blacks and Hispanics are more than 50 percent more likely to experience some form of force," such as grabbing, handcuffing, slapping, baton strikes, pepper spraying, and pushing to the ground or against a wall.

According to a 2015 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, based on data from a supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 3.5 percent of blacks who reported contact with the police said they had been threatened with or subjected to force during the most recent encounter, compared to 1.4 percent of whites. Among respondents who said they had been stopped by police on the street, blacks were twice as likely to report the use of force. They were also twice as likely to be manhandled during searches. During traffic stops, blacks were three times as likely to be threatened with or subjected to force.

Blacks are also more likely than whites to be searched during traffic stops. A 2018 analysis of stops in Portland, Oregon, found that black drivers were subjected to discretionary searches 9 percent of the time, compared to a rate of 3 percent for white drivers. Based on data collected by the Pennsylvania State Police, The Philadelphia Inquirer found that "troopers were roughly two to three times more likely to search black or Hispanic drivers than white drivers." And when searches were conducted, "troopers were far less likely to find contraband" if the drivers were black or Hispanic rather than white, suggesting that the evidentiary threshold for searching blacks and Hispanics was lower.

In a 2017 analysis of data from 20 states, researchers at Stanford University found that "white drivers are searched in 2.0% of stops, compared to 3.5% of stops for black motorists and 3.8% for Hispanic motorists." After the researchers controlled for stop location, date and time, and driver age and gender, they calculated that "black and Hispanic drivers have approximately twice the odds of being searched relative to white drivers." They were also twice as likely to be arrested. The study found that "black and Hispanic drivers are searched on the basis of less evidence than white drivers, suggestive of bias in search decisions."

After surveying drivers in the Kansas City area in 2003 and 2004, Charles Epp and two other researchers at the University of Kansas classified police encounters based on the legal justification (or lack thereof) and the amount of discretion involved. They found that black drivers were no more likely than white drivers to report clear-cut "traffic safety stops" (e.g., for running a red light or stop sign, driving at night with headlights off, or exceeding the speed limit by seven or more miles an hour) but were nearly three times as likely to report seemingly pretextual "investigatory stops" (e.g., for an unilluminated license plate, driving too slowly, or no reason mentioned by the officer).

During investigatory stops, Epp and his colleagues reported, black drivers were five times as likely as white drivers to be searched. They were also more likely to be handcuffed and threatened with arrest, and more likely to describe the officer's demeanor as rude, hostile, or insulting. Blacks perceived investigatory stops as less legitimate than traffic safety stops, while whites made no such distinction. The more stops black drivers had experienced, the less they trusted the police, an effect that was not apparent among white drivers.

Highly publicized incidents like the death of George Floyd are the most extreme manifestations of a quotidian reality. "There is no question that there is residual racism in America," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.) acknowledged yesterday. "This is a vexing issue. If we could have figured out exactly what to do, I think we'd have done it years ago. It's one of our continuing, persistent problems in our society that we're all acutely aware of." Some of us more than others.

NEXT: Here Are 4 Policing Reforms Cities and States Are Considering Right Now

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  1. //Blacks, who account for a fifth of the city’s population, were on the receiving end of such violence nearly three-fifths of the time during the last five years, according to official records analyzed by The New York Times. Whites, who account for more than three-fifths of Minneapolis residents, were involved in less than a quarter of those incidents.//

    Yea, well, at 13% of the population blacks commit approximately half of all homicides, in which the overwhelming majority of victims are …. also black. So, perhaps, there is something else at play here other than the evil white man.

    1. ENB admitted there’s a narrative this am, and that stat isn’t part of it.

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    2. Persons being shot by the police are 96% male and 4% female yet males only make up 49% of the population. Cops must be sexist too.

      1. More black folks are shot by black cops than white.

        I mentioned the FBI UCR for 2018 last night in the Biden militarization thread. If you discount cases where the perpetrator was ‘unknown’, murder breaks down to African-Americans committing a little over 3 for every 2 that whites commit. Or 60 percent. Asians and Native Americans are basically a rounding error.

        So being involved in 60 percent of the police UoF incidents doesn’t sound out of line at all.

          1. Which part? I made two statements. Statement 1, blacks are killed by black cops more than they’re killed by white cops. Your cite doesn’t mention that point. When AAs are killed by cops at all, as your cite mentions, it is basically a rounding error.

            Statement 2: about 60 percent of murders are committed by AAs. Aside, this is likely low, but I engaged in the fiction that the cases where the perpetrator was of ‘Unknown’ race mirrored the cases where the race was known. Your cite mentions 53 percent. Close enough, I’d think.

            I’m sure I’m missing something here.

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      2. Bino, thats exaclty the bullshit comparison that Jacob made.

      3. I think that’s beyond dispute.

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    3. There are a hundred ways to normalize the data. They could control for income and location, and the data might still make their point. But it wouldn’t be eye popping, and people may question if it actually justified the violence.

    4. So Minneapolis cops pull out of black neighborhoods, crime rates then will shoot up just as it has in other cities where cops leave the locals to their own madness.
      When cops stop ‘harassing’ minorities, more minorities die.

      1. No, a lie, wrong. When NYC cops decided to go slow and stop arresting because one of their own was punished for killing someone, crime went down.

        1. And in Baltimore, chicago, san Antonio’s is, phoenix…

          1. Oh nevermind. Rates went up there when police pulled back.

            Also nyc has manipulated the crime stats often. Weird you chose that one example

            1. Not at all weird how you complain only about the one example which invalidates your argument. What makes you think cops in your examples haven’t manipulated the data?

              Conspiracy theorists always have an out.

              1. I offered multiple cities, you offered one dummy. And I didnt even bother to show how well NYCs bail reform went.

              2. Those cherries you’re picking, are they sour?

                1. No, but the grapes are.

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        2. So the lesson here is abolish policing and crime will disappear? Does someone actually believe that?

          1. If there’s no one recording the crimes, they don’t exist! Similarly, if you don’t hear about something in the mass media, it didn’t happen. That’s the same kind of logic here. Of course, the crimes will still happen but if no official body is doing anything about it then the people themselves who are the aggrieved parties will have to start carrying more weapons and killing the criminals as the crimes take place.

        3. NY is an abnormality…unique…can’t be judged by accepted standards. Cotton appears to be a war monger and his solution would look like 1984.

    5. It used to be accepted as logically true that unequal outcomes are not proof of unequal treatment. But on matters of race, the trend is to look at statistical data and if it does not synch exactly with white and black population ratios, it is proof of racism. When we examine the number of police-related deaths in the US, more blacks are killed than whites as a percentage of their respective populations, so the conclusion is “racism!”. But as you suggest, the numbers themselves are proof of nothing. Those numbers could be made “right”, for example, by shooting more white people–an absurd suggestion, but the point is that further analysis and considering alternative perspectives is the reasonable course of action. Until our society loses its fear of noncomformity and social judgment, and begins examining racial issues from a perspective that does not always require assertions of racism, no truths will be uncovered.

      1. No one is interested in a good faith dialogue (including Sullum), just a monologue.

        The only acceptable response is to express shame and beg for forgiveness—thinking critically about statistics, or otherwise offering a response aimed at identifying actual, concrete issues that can be addressed is not allowed, because the “correct” conclusion has already been reached—everyone and everything is irredeemably racist.

    6. Yeah,I was gonna add,”Blacks may commit 7 times as many crimes.

    7. In 2018 42% of the people who killed cops in the line of duty were black. It’s also possible, though I don’t know, that blacks are more likely to resist arrest with violence. It could also be that blacks commit crimes out of proportion to their percentage of the population so there are more interactions between blacks and police. Remember when blacks complained they were being pulled over more often on New Jersey highways because racism, then a study found not only did blacks speed more often they exceeded the posted limit at higher speeds? Isn’t this magazine called Reason? How about not jumping to conclusions based on limited data?

    8. Actual data does not support the material in this article. Indeed on a yearly basis more white people are killed by white cops than black people are killed by white cops. The incarceration rate for white and blacks is about the same. Blacks that are are around 15% of our population commit an inordinate amount of crime in relation to the percentage of our population. That is just for starters there is ample other data and statistics which poke holes in this article. Police accountability for sure, excessive force a no-go, but the idea that blacks are being targeted by racist white cops and a system out to stick it to them is nonsense made up by leftists and their fellow travelers. Fact is they commit the most crime not to complicated to figure out. Unless you are looking for an avenue to condone their dysfunction within their own communities and blame the white boogeyman for black failure.

  2. Keep that race hustle going!
    Its been soooooooooo productive

  3. I have full confidence that Reason will take a short break from wall to wall “peaceful protest” coverage to cover this in the next 24 hours, right?

    1. No chance. They’re already stumping for Biden.

    2. I listened to the testimony. I could not believe what I was hearing.

  4. News: Chauvin now going to be charged with 2nd degree.

    While probably appropriate, it feels potentially risky to me. 3rd degree is an absolute drop-dead slam dunk. 2nd degree, I don’t know. They can probably still get the conviction, but I don’t consider it nearly as automatic.

    1. Yeh, if that guy gets off….oooo nelly. Watch out.

      Has there been any reporting about the events leading up to the arrest?

      And what’s this story about he and Chauvin worked in the same bar? I don’t know if they knew each other but interesting; if not coincidental.

      1. Them having possibly known each other is the only thing that could justify 2nd degree as opposed to 3rd, but with all the unrest going down, no way in hell have they done the research to know for sure. They better hope and pray this was a personal beef, because the riots are going to start all over again when he rightfully gets off otherwise.

      2. Keith Ellison, career politician, has taken over as prosecutor.
        Unfortunately, there’s probably a better than 50% chance it gets fd up because of that

        1. Especially since, well, Ellison might be just fine with lots more riots.

    2. I honestly think they might be able to get 1st degree Murder, if it can be proven that Chauvin and Floyd knew each other beforehand, and had some beef. Lean on one of the three other cops there, and get him to spill his guts. Those three had to know this some extracurricular bullshit Chauvin was indulging in, and one of the three at least, ought to be angry as hell at getting put in this situation.

      OTOH, if Keith Ellison is actually running the case, as was reported, instead of hogging the mike and sitting second chair, you could have a videotaped confession of murderous intent by Chauvin, and he’d still probably fuck it up.

      1. IANAL and don’t know the trickier details of premeditation and how such things differ by jurisdiction.

        Is it possible that they could convince the jury that 8+ minutes turns an initial justified restraint into premeditated murder? Suppose any normal civilian was in a street fight, was choking someone, and kept choking long after his opponent was subdued. Or someone who empties a magazine in panic, reloads, and empties a second magazine. I have seen speculation in gun forums that just emptying a magazine, instead of stopping after the threat is over, could be considered premeditation, and reloading would be far worse.

        I have no idea if any of this speculation is valid, just guesswork, or based on real prosecutions. But it seems at least plausible to me. At some point, the treat is over, and further violence is just intentional premedidated revenge.

        1. I’m not a lawyer either. However, the original charge of third degree murder, as described by various media, is essential “depraved indifference” – no premeditation, no particular intent to kill. That sounds about right, and carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in Minnesota, probably longer than the average actual murder sentence there or elsewhere in the US.

          Second degree murder, the current charge, has similarly been described as either requiring specific intent to kill or murder during commission of a felony. That is reported in MSM as the direction they now want to take, but seems a bit of a stretch in the circumstances of an arrest with the arrestee resisting. They may run the risk, in that, of what happened in Florida with George Zimmerman, where the ambitious prosecutor went for second degree murder when the circumstances for which there was any evidence at all suggested a valid self-defense strategy, and involuntary manslaughter would have been a stretch, but possibly successful.

          The first degree charge the family and their lawyer seek seems pretty absurd, as it would seem to depend on evidence of both premeditation and some theory explaining how Derek Chauvin arranged for Mr. Floyd to be arrested at a time convenient for him to arrive and carry out his plan.

        2. I have seen speculation in gun forums that just emptying a magazine, instead of stopping after the threat is over, could be considered premeditation, and reloading would be far worse.

          Emptying a magazine seems questionable as premeditated as rage or panic can be spontaneous emotions that would lead to both.

          I also wouldn’t put out reloading and doing it again if the one doing it was subjected to terror.

      2. Maybe, but I’d say it’s too risky. Juries in general far too often give cops too much leeway. 3rd degree was an easy win.

      3. Early reports of the incident were that Floyd was not cooperating with the police. They got the hand cuffs on him but it was a struggle and he would nit get in the car. Floyd was taken to the ground. An ambulance had already been called because their was confusion about whether Floyd was on drugs or some thing else. The take down occurred AFTER the ambulance was called. The news reported that Floyd was in the hospital where he died after a while. Now the story has changed to he died on the scene. The medical examiner also reported that Floyd had fentynol in his system and he had underlying medical conditions that contributed to his death. Keep an eye on the main stream conspiracy news media, they are h*ll bent on destroying this nation.

        1. Yes, and absolutely none of that justifies kneeling on his neck for 8 1/2 minutes.

        2. That is all true, but they still shouldn’t have killed him for it.

          I think that the mainstream media and clerisy are definitely hell bent on destroying Western culture, AND that America’s police forces are packed with thugs and act like occupation troops.

  5. I have a dream …

    1. ….go on….

      1. yada yada yada not by the color of his skin.

        1. But you yada yada’d over the best part

  6. Lying with Statistics, 101.

    Next thing you know they’ll be whining that 95% of NBA players who get dunked on are black!

    The proper ratio is the ratio of black violence to the ratio of violence towards blacks. That, and only that, can tell us if the police are responding disproportionately.

    1. Not good enough. The War on Drugs is enforced differently for blacks and whites. Recall those studies showing equal percentages of whites and blacks smoke pot, but blacks are more often arrested for the same crime. It’s easy enough to understand why: blacks are more likely in poor urban centers, and cops know it’s easier to find arrests there, with less backlash from the mayor, than in affluent white neighborhoods.

      Also easy to extend that classism into other arrests. It may not be intentional racism, it may “only” be classism, but it’s real.

      1. Is it easy enough to understand why, or are you making an assumption as to why?

        I can think of several other reasons blacks might be arrested more often for pot than whites. Doesn’t make them right, but they’re certainly plausible. For example, “arrests for pot” include “arrests for other things in which pot was found”. If blacks commit more crimes than whites, are thus more often arrested, it stands to reason that police would find more pot on more blacks.

        1. Or you know stupid policies like stop and frisk.

          1. That was only NYC and for a short time. Doesn’t really help your wider argument.

            1. Which is what?

          2. Yet if “stop and frisk” was, as has been reported, practiced disproportionately in high-crime neighborhoods, and those neighborhoods were disproportionately populated by African Americans, it would result in disproportionately targeting African Americans without any actual bigotry. And if those neighborhoods were populated disproportionately by poorer people it also would result in a crime-rate defined policy disproportionately targeting African Americans, since they are overrepresented at lower income levels.

            It might be possible to separate the various factors, but I doubt a serious effort has been made to do so, and suspect that if it were done it would seriously muddle the simpler, more direct, and probably wrong message that “stop and frisk” was simply a way of harassing African Americans.

      2. “The War on Drugs is enforced differently for blacks and whites. ”

        Yep. Thanks, Joe Biden, for the differing sentencing guidelines between flake cocaine and crack cocaine.

      3. When I was younger you could drive down to “browntown” and get pot, and more from brothers selling it right on the street. They’d even call you over and ask what you were looking for. All the white people I bought pot from used a house, apartment or at least a car.

        They may attract more attention from the cops cuz they don’t fear going to jail, or they don’t believe anyone should be able to tell them what not to do in their own hood.

        You could round and round on cause and effect.

        1. *go round and round

      4. I bet blacks totally don’t do things that draw attention to them more often.

  7. First, note that over a five year period, 1,262 Blacks, 887 Hispanics, and 2412 Whites were shot to death by police.

    Since lots of blacks get arrested, I am not surprised they are subjected to the “violence” of being handcuffed.

    Have the Russians been using Reason the last few days, or is it just the effect of solitary confinement?

    1. I think it is more the case that Reason writers live in the very cities that are being burned right now and, they imagine, when the riotous mobs come knocking on their door they’ll be able to pull up their published articles, distribute them, and thus begin the process of bargaining for their safety.

      “But … WAIT …. we’re on YOUR SIDE!!”

      Kind of like these douchebags:

  8. No surprise. Another thread infested. Brought to you by the letter R.

    1. Robby didn’t write this one.

    2. I know right. Fuck all those stats. JFree prefers panic and narratives.

      1. Oh Kool. The letter K shows up too.

        1. Lol. You actually can grow more pathetic. Congrats.

          Everyone, statistics wear white hoods. JFree wouldnt lie to us.

          1. For a raging antisemite J(ew)Free is remarkably woke.

        2. So you’ve gone full Sesame Street…that feels about right.

  9. Aaaargh! Give me a break Leftitarians. Young black men – perhaps 2% of the American population – commit over 50% of ALL violent crimes in the United States. Of course, young black men are more suspected by ANY sane cop of becoming violent at any moment. Grow up you pot-smoking, video-game playing perpetual adolescents.

    1. If you want to start crying, for real, look at the death rates from violent crime, broken out by victims. CDC occassionally publishes them in their M&M reports.

      Young (15-24) black males die at a rate that utter shitholes like San Pedro Sula think is excessive. Something in excess of 100 per 100,000, last I looked. The pisser is that old (65+) black men had a violent death rate that was higher than that for 15-24 white males.

      It’s a national tragedy, and none of their leaders bother to give a shit beyond platitudes, unless a white cop or ‘vigilante’, can be shown to be responsible.

      1. Some people give a shit, like Dave Chappelle for example.

        The pastors we tend to see leaping in front of microphones to race hustle these days, not so much.

        1. The sad thing is that there are a lot of Black Pastors working hard to help young men get their lives together, but it’s the Sharptons and the Jacksons that get the acclaim.

        2. Well, anti-racism has been, and is, a fairly profitable occupation. Once that happens, we wind up with an activist group making their living on fighting racism, with a significant interest in the continued existence of a racially oppressed group. They themselves usually are members, but that is pretty much beside the point, since they, and especially the leadership are, in fact, on a par with the designated oppressor class both economically and socially.

          “Race,” here, can easily and correctly be replaced by any of several other terms.

  10. Police are correct to arrest black people more often than white people because statistics clearly show that black people are arrested more often than white people. My guess would be that if cops stopped arresting black people there would be statistically fewer black people getting arrested. Me, I just stick to my three felonies a day, the cops don’t hassle me, and, statistically, I haven’t committed any crimes at all.

    1. That’s why murder is useful statistic in cases like these. Robbery, rape, assault. All pretty easy to bias against a group. Murder at least you have a corpse to prove the crime happened, which cuts out a lot of making up a crime to justify the arrest.

  11. On a tour years ago, I struck up a dinner conversation with a cop in the group. And he admitted the war on drugs was wrong and led to all sorts of cop misbehavior. In any case, it was his experience that white folks,kids in particular, were far more polite to cops than were black people. This factor — insults, vulgarity, acting the asshole. — made it far more likely the situation would escalate…Not to excuse unprofessional police behavior but one might agree it is tougher to give the benefit of the doubt to someone screaming motherf**ker in your face.

    1. A local radio talk show was talking about race and police brutality a couple years ago. Some black guy called in saying some shit that cops actually say “sir” and are super polite to white people. I thought to myself, what a bunch of bullshit. Any interaction I’ve ever had with cops involved me saying “sir”, not them. And many of them acted like assholes, but I still stayed polite.

      1. Yea, well, you know how it goes: white men can’t judge what its like to be a black man, but black men can judge what it’s like to be a white man.

        As a white guy, I’ve had less than pleasant encounters with cops, and have had store owners suspicious of me. The stuff that supposedly never happens. I’m not going to claim that this isn’t going to happen more often to people who live in a highly policed neighborhood or have different manners than me. But the idea that it never happens to white men at all isn’t really based on anything. White men just don’t talk about it.

        Same thing on the gender issue. I’ve also had women sexually harass me, even what would count as sexual assault. I had a woman grope me. Happens to other men, too. Men just don’t talk about it.

        This is one of the reasons its hard to have a real honest discussion about these issues socially IMO.

        1. I would talk about a groping done by a woman. But I’d do it at a bar with friends … just before the high fiving ritual commenced. The only one not congratulating me would be the guy who called BS on me. (Good chance that he’d be right, too)

  12. There is no “systemic” racial hunting of police in America. Cops shot 9 unarmed blacks last year. They hardly shoot any Asians and Muslims, even though they’re the fastest growing segment of the population. Incidents involving Latinos are declining.

    What we’re seeing is police misconduct and the shortcomings of the criminal justice system being inflated on a segment of the population that struggles to rise out of poverty and crime more than anyone else. It creates a perception. There is no meaningful difference between Kelly Thomas and George Floyd other than race, but the race obsessed media has a narrative to tell.

    Reason has tendency to share lefty rhetoric on race if it suits their agenda. Does it matter that most mass shooters are white? Not when you can crunch numbers in proper context. The anarchists who riot on streets are the same left wing agitators who always lashed out violently against their racist bogeyman – big banks, corporations, white people, Jews, you name it. They decry police brutality but idolize monsters who have a record of vaporizing millions of people. Don’t make excuses for them.

    1. “Does it matter that most mass shooters are white?”

      Are they though? If you use the definitions used to blather that, ‘A mass shooting happens in America once every three days!!!!’, pretty sure it’s not white guys who’re doing them. Despite that being the popular narrative.

      It’s hoodrat shit, happening in the hood, and contributing to AA males’s skyhigh violent death rate.

      1. I have seen statistics suggesting that most spree or rampage shooters (think Columbine here, or the University of Texas, or Virginia Tech, or Aurora, CO). The term “mass shooting” dilutes the particular issue by dumping in a lot of relatively more ordinary multiple killings based only on the number of people killed in addition, where applicable, to the killer. This usually is done for the somewhat dishonest purpose of exaggerating the number of mass shootings to agitate for firearms control laws with little relation to the problem and less likely to be beneficial in solving it.

  13. One thing is certain – court dockets/city & county jails are going to be full after COVID-19/all these riots/general lawlessness in recent days…

  14. “When Minneapolis cops report that they used or threatened violence, blacks are on the receiving end three-fifths of the time.”

    Really Jacob, THREE-FIFTHS? LOL!
    Aside from that, I would expect a demographic cmmitting the most crime the have the most violent interactions with police, wouldnt you?

  15. The National Academy of Sciences published a study on police use of force and whether there was systemic racism in 2019. They found that there was a strong correlation between the number of encounters with policy over violent crime and deaths at the hands of the police. Unfortunately, African-American men have far more of those encounters per capita than other races. It changed my views an whether there is systemic racism in our policing. I know that’s not a view in vogue at the moment but data is data.

    1. I don’t understand what point you’re trying to make.

  16. It would be nice to see a media writer who actually demonstrates an ability to hold a wider context regarding crime statistics. What Mr. Sullum is presenting here are half-truths.

    Others have done what I came here to do, which was to point out that it is no great feat of logic to point out that officers threaten or act with violence against black men more often; black men commit a larger portion of the crime in the US.

    I haven’t been watching the riots so I don’t know the answer to my question but I’d like to ask you, Mr. Sullum: what ethnic group makes up the larger portion of the rioters and looters?

    Rioting and looting are unlawful acts by the way, Mr. Sullum.

  17. Completely aside from everything else, it always puzzles me when cops do things like this — choke the guy for 8 minutes, long after he’s so dead he’s long past any help from Billy Crystal — he can’t be resisting, not even from a death rattle — why not handcuff and restrain him while he’s being choked, then GET UP? How long would that have taken — 30 seconds at most? Three other cops standing around who can’t be bothered to help a brother cop restrain some dying arrestee?

    What is this urge to keep choking and smothering? Far as I can see, that alone makes him a psychopath and ought to see him sent to a mental institution.

    1. Well, that’s the reason isn’t it. That, coupled with “he didn’t OBEY when I told him too”, mixed with a soupcon of racist bias?

      Personally, I think the racist motives of this cop are probably way overstated. The psychopath and control-freak aspects are far more likely in my mind. Put it this way, in a diverse police force, if someone’s a racist, his peers will know and he will get written up eventually but if he’s just a psycho cop “respect my authority”, well so are plenty of other guys on the force it seems since the occupation tends to draw them.

      1. well stated

      2. Yes, that. I don’t believe this cop, or most cops, are racist like the KKK or even George Wallace. But the system is racist and caters to control freaks like this. It is so much more lucrative to take down dealers than investigate burglaries, for instance (yes, I know this was for a counterfeit $20 bill); that’s how they get federal assistance from the DEA,FBI, etc; and it is so much easier to bust poor people than rich people. There’s the institutional racism.

    2. I was puzzled why they had the guy handcuffed in the car already and then took him out again apparently for the express purpose of killing him. Sociopathy seems like a good explanation.

  18. I don’t remember any riots when Huston TX cop Gerald Goines and Steven Bryant arranged for the deaths of white Navy Vet Dennis Tuttle and white Rhogena Nicholas.

    ps They also shot the dog.

    1. Non-Antifa white people don’t generally riot, and the blacks in Houston could give a shit about a black cop lying his way into a search warrant operation that ended up killing two older white people, while putting a bunch of cops in the hospital with bullet wounds.

      Sounds like a win-win for that crowd.

  19. Reason is NOT libertarian site, it has a liberal slant on almost everything.

    1. Thata what happens when you hire almost solely from D.C. and NYC.

  20. I don’t understand how Reason can publish this.

    Smart people understand the difference between socioeconomic disparity and systemic racism. The author of this article does not.

    WTF is going on at Reason?

    1. Sullum’s been writing on crime here for a long time, too.

      Maybe there’s something to the jape that most of the ‘articles’ are ghostwritten these days?

    2. Apparently they don’t have enough of a budget to hire writers that can actually think.

  21. It’s a hard truth, and it is admittedly easy as a white person to point it out, but racial statistics as applied to police actions are very very misleading. But in the need to avoid examining the reality of the social situation among some communities we choose to define by their ethnicity, we often miss the real problems in the process of law enforcement, to all our detriment.
    Why would one be sure that the best statistic to use in analyzing racial enforcement disparities would be total percentage of the race in the population? Would it make sense to assume discrimination against men because physical enforcement is used on them 90+% of the time, although they represent 50% of the population? But we have no real problem with the belief that men and women can tend to have different behaviors; the idea that there may be statistical differences in communities’ behavior has become an intellectual “no go”. The problems with such ideas is understandable as history is replete with examples of unfair and self serving assumptions of those doing the analysis. But it is an unfortunate consequence of describing groups according to their statistics.

  22. This country has gone insane with virtue signaling, and media outlets are rife with dishonesty. There is one and only one reason why blacks are disproportionately involved in encounters with police: black disproportionately commit the kinds of crimes that result in police encounters. That fact is borne out by every conceivable statistic that addresses any aspect of the issue.

    This is not a racial issue, it’s a police issue. Due the truly bizarre SCOTUS qualified immunity doctrine (“violated someone’s constitutional rights? You get a mulligan!”), police incompetence, district attorney collusion, and the culture of the thin blue line, police have been allowed to routinely violate peoples constitutional rights with impunity.

    Sollum is fundamentally dishonest here.

  23. The Freyer and Stanford studies actually provide decent support for the claims of this article– the rest are easily dismissed for all the reasons the other commenters have noted. But the other commenters should grapple with these two good pieces of evidence rather than simply dunking on the bad ones.

    If these are accurate, it begs the question of why local governments are so dysfunctional that these issues have not been honestly addressed before riots occurred.

    I am open to the possibility that there are no good answers, but if that’s the case, that case should be made forthrightly.

    I suspect, however, that part of the problem is intractable and the other part involves solutions that would force their advocates to bear a high political cost, e.g. in tangling with public employee unions.

    1. Agreed. I was going to point this out as well, it Sullum’s attempt to conflate those studies with the eye-rolling ones was too aggravating.

      Those studies could start an interesting conversation—is it institutional racism? Is it black culture? Are those two inextricably intertwined (I’d say yes)?

      Of course, even suggesting that “black culture” may lead to disparate results makes me a racist—it’s not acceptable to even suggest that the black community owns some of the responsibility for the problems it faces.

  24. What happened to eliminating taxation by citation?

    Are the city councils and state legislatures too addicted to using the police as their personal shtarkers?

  25. it’s interesting to see here the folks trying to give ANY justification to the recording of a man being assassinated in slo-mo.

    the cops that stood there are equally guilty.

    lord help us all if they walk like the psychos that beat up rodney king or the ones that murdered daniel shaver in arizona

    let’s all remember…the murder took 8 minutes

    1. Who is justifying the murder dummy?

      1. Bob Kroll Union hack

        1. That’s his entire job description. The man could have tossed babies onto a flaming pyre and the union rep would be excusing his actions.

        2. Is he posting here?

          Do you also express wonder at other paid mouthpieces giving the opinion they’re paid to give?

          Officer Derek Chauvin is a fuckhead who deserves to be in jail for unlawfully killing George Floyd. Other than trolls, I don’t think you’ll find anyone here expressing a different opinion than that.

    2. How about the deliberate misuse of the video to inject a racial narrative (where was one?) out of nowhere in order to cause mayhem? Notice, they DIDN’T do it when Justine Damond was shot.

      1. It’s not racism when an “of color” police officer kills a white person. Only white people exhibit racist behavior or otherwise target those of other races (whatever that may actually mean, given that it also is a tenet of those taking this position that race is purely a social construct).

        There need be no further discussion on this question; the answer is obvious and all correct thinkers (some of them scientists) agree on that.

    3. Yes, why doesn’t anyone know the name of Daniel Shaver, a white man who was killed by some tacticool asshole after the guy made him play a game of Simon says in a hotel? Is it because this is all egged on by the media? Why no riots there? He wasn’t some drug-addicted career criminal who was trumpeted by the media. Why is that? Might that be because of who owns the media and what their interests and agendas are?

  26. until we de-militarize the cops and cease recruiting them from ex military this will not ever stop

    1. I don’t think “recruiting them from ex military” is the problem you think it is. Absent some sort of a study, we’re not going to know for sure, but my perception is that ex-military cops are disproportionately whistle-blowers and are under-represented among unjustified police shootings. The military spends a lot of time making sure its personnel know that they need to follow the rules, and what rules they need to follow (which are usually *more* restrictive than cops have to follow).

    2. The “racial diversity” problem is literally why you have militarized cops. In the absence of militarized cops, because you are increasingly living in a country that demographically looks like Brazil, you will have to start arming yourself and killing criminals yourself. You are not very smart. Genes and evolution are real. You can’t tactically ignore these things.

  27. You guys lost me as soon as you mention NY Times as a source.

    Give me a break.

    1. The New York Times is a good source of news and facts. It is necessary to read it carefully to sift out the facts from the implicit opinions and substitute neutral words for the omnipresent loaded ones. It also is necessary to read the articles through to the bitter end, since quite often some of the most important relevant facts are buried and passingly reported there. If you only read the front page, or the first half dozen paragraphs, you get the gist, but miss a lot.

      It helps, too, to think about whether what is reported is consistent, with itself and other things you know.

      That’s true, of course, with all media, including Reason. The Times (and Washington Post) present more than most.

  28. Yeah, I’m losing respect for you guys. How about fact based Multi varied analysis. This is propaganda. Losers.

  29. I’m losing respect for you guys. How about fact based Multi varied analysis. This is propaganda. Losers.

  30. Don’t assign an iota of responsibility to black people. The media monster got busy creating another “gentle giant” myth around George Floyd. No mention of the meth and fentanyl in his blood, long criminal history or the facts around the call that brought police to the scene. The protests actually program that sliver of the black population which is low IQ, mentally challenged, drug intoxicated or just young and stupid to resist police authority.

    1. Yes, and the people who suffer from the most from the media monster and the colleagues in Government are the great majority of African-Americans. They are left with neighborhoods without groceries, clothing stores, pharmacies, etc. However, they do get more than their share of sneaker stores, abortion mills, and drug markets. These last three things are important to the young thugs glorified by the progressive press. They did the same to some extent to the Sicilians in an earlier time.

    2. That might have gotten him arrested. It shouldn’t have gotten him executed while he was proned and handcuffed. He still gets due process whether you like it or not.

      1. strawman. GTFO

  31. Good ol’ George started fighting the cops when they tried to put him in the squad car. I betcha if he didn’t fight, he’d still be a alive just sitting in jail. Or out on Bail! But the man was hand cuffed, yet he’s kicking and fighting the cops! Who does that? Someone who’s done it many times before. Few really know about Good ol’ George! He was a real stand up guy:
    Convicted of Felony Home Invasion and Assault with a deadly weapon (firearm), Aggravated Robbery in 2007:
    >Falsely Identifying himself as an Employee of the “Water Department” George Floyd forced-entry into the home of FEMALE: Aracely Henriquez.
    >George Floyd produced a Firearm, and placed the muzzle to Aracely’s stomach, pushing her back into the threshold, allowing 5 black-male accomplices to enter the residence and search for any valuable items or drugs.
    >Aracely was struck in the face and head (‘pistol whipped’)by an accomplice after screaming for help during George’s search of the residence
    George Floyd was sentenced to 5 years Prison time for the above Home-invasion and robbery of a lone female.

    …… Yea, the Cops were in the wrong. But why you want to keep defending a Violent, Career Criminal of 23 yrs?! So, don’t ask me to cry a river over him!

    1. Irrelevant. Even if the cops knew his history they have to apply due process every single time. There’s no three strikes/you’re summarily executed in the road rule.

    2. The cops had Floyd handcuffed and in the backseat of a police car, completely pacified and restrained.

      What possible justification did Chauvin have for dragging him out, throwing him on the ground and kneeling on his neck?

      What comes to my mind is pure, gratuitous cruelty and that fits the very definition of depraved.

      1. Oh, and the very fact that the cops had Floyd handcuffed and in the backseat of a police car makes your “if he didn’t fight, he’d still be a alive just sitting in jail” a patently false statement.

  32. WRONG. Blacks get all the press, for obvious reasons. Tony Timpa didn’t even get a word of national press. He was killed almost exactly like Floyd. since he was white no one cared.

    1. “Many white liberals have adopted blacks as mascots, in order to ‘make a statement’ against American society. But mascots are only symbols, and their well-being is seldom a top priority.” – Thomas Sowell

  33. Has anyone adjusted the statistics for age? The most common age for “whites” in the US was 58, while the most common age for minorities is 27. Maybe most people are different but I was much more likely to get in trouble with cops (and others) when I was younger. Could we be seeing a form of ageism rather than racism?

  34. Jacob Sullum thinks he sees unfair racial discrimination in statistics but he doesn’t look behind the superficiality of the statistics. Why write such insipid junk?

    1. How to shut up these deceivers? Just ask them about the same stats broken down by sex. Oh, men are shot more often than women? Guess that proves sexism.

    2. “Why write such insipid junk?”

      1. Check still clears exactly the same.
      2. He doesn’t get rations of shit from all the kool kids on Twitter

  35. “George Floyd’s Horrifying Death Highlights Stark Racial Disparities in the Use of Police Force”

    Does it? Perhaps, if one assumes that the people – black, white and other – who have had hostile police interactions were all strolling along, just minding their own business when they were approached/stopped/arrested/attacked. Is it possible they were doing something that required police attention? And does that behavior distribute equally along racial lines? If so, why are young black men charged with committing a majority of the murders in this nation, while they represent a fraction of the population? Are the police simply overlooking vast numbers of murders and violent crimes committed by whites and others? Is it possible that there actually is a behavioral reason that black men are overrepresented in police encounters? If you believe there is not, then, yes, it appears that “racism” is certainly the answer to this incongruity.

  36. BTW, does everybody agree that the cop who kneeled on Floyd’s neck is guilty? I thought people were innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Did he get convicted and I missed it? I don’t like what I saw on a video but does that mean he should be lynched? He deserves a trial and may get one but does anyone believe he can get a fair trial?

    1. No – hang him first, and then give him a fair trial. No one has seen the video of the other cops; no one saw why he was back out of the police car; no one has heard from the witnesses; no one has heard the whole story. Wait for the damned trial – that’s why we have a judiciary process. A fair trial? With Ellison as the DA? Only because Ellison is a hack and will probably blow it with incompetence. Or on purpose, to serve the perpetuation of the narrative. Floyd was killed by a dysfunctional police administration and his police union backers that put a cop with 18 priors on the street. THEY are the murderers, the abettors, the cause of this; it never would have happened if they had simply thrown the cop off the force like he should have been after incident #2. Will they face trial? Will they be charged with contributory negligence, aiding and abetting, misfeasance? On the other side, was there “white” cooperation with the arresting officers on the scene, or the well-known, well-documented “tough guy” reaction by black men to white cop interrogation, stops, orders? Cultural norms change outcomes! I have been stopped by cops many times. Not once – not once – have I ever been anything but deferentially respectful; not once have I ever been abused. Black cop or white cop. Respect breeds de-escalation. Struggle breeds tragedy. Simple equation.

      1. My experience is similar. When I was young, I was hassled but I did hassle back, I had nothing to lose then. Age does bring some wisdom along with laziness. 🙂

    2. You misunderstand the concept here. The *court* needs to presume they are innocent, until they are proven guilty. If a guy walks up to you on the street, points a gun at you and demands your wallet, do you feel the need to refer to that guy as an alleged mugger until a court convicts him? Do you think witnesses will? Of course not. And when you tell your friends about it, they’ll call him a mugger too. People certainly can assess available evidence for themselves and decide what they think for themselves.

      No one here is calling for Chauvin to be hauled out and strung up without a trial. Mostly, people have discussed what charges seem justifiable. I don’t see a problem with people looking at the available evidence and assessing his innocence or guilt for themselves. That’s exactly what a jury does, except that there are two teams of people trying to convince them of what each piece of evidence means. You seem to be implying that people can’t make a reasonable judgement for themselves, based on the evidence they’ve seen, without a prosecutor to try to convince them why this thing means they should convict, and a defense attorney telling them why that other thing means they should acquit.

      Certainly, there may be information we don’t know that absolves Chauvin of guilt for Floyd’s death. And if something comes out that does, I’m ready and willing to change my mind. But given the clear unreasonableness of kneeling on a guy’s neck for 8-10 minutes, when the guy didn’t seem to be struggling during most of that time, it would have to be something pretty compelling for me to say, “Yeah, I guess he was completely justified in what he did.” This is especially true given the fact that someone told Chauvin they couldn’t find Floyd’s pulse, and Chauvin stayed on his neck anyway. “Nah, bro, I’m good. I’m pretty sure he’s faking not having a pulse.”

      As far as the fair trial, I’m sure that they can find a dozen people who don’t pay any attention to the news, who think that all cops are noble warriors protecting them from the evil criminal hordes, who will be happy to give them an acquittal. Of course, with Ellison handling the prosecution, it’s more likely to go the other way, and Chauvin’s jury will be a dozen people who think all cops are corrupt and racist.

  37. The data here needs to be corrected for class and/or income. White homeless people and other “poor white trash” get treated similarly to blacks by the police.

  38. It is sad that “Reason” is just now the opposite of that.

    “When Minneapolis cops report that they used or threatened violence, blacks are on the receiving end three-fifths of the time.”

    Care to report how often MEN are on the receiving end of it? Hmmm?

  39. Baloney. About 1,000 people are shot by cops annually. Only about 6% are unarmed. Of that 6%, blacks are underrepresented, not overrepresented. Cops are disinclined to pull a trigger when it’s a black man, because of the race-peddlers and backlash. This from a study of the real (not fabricated) data by a liberal Harvard researcher. The truth would set you free, if only the media would let you hear it.

    1. You know you’re cheating! Using real data — shame shame. 🙂

  40. Which is the dog? Which is the tail? And who is wagging what? And why oh why is no one paying attention?

    Yes, the 2008 ‘Use of Force’ report does indicate that Blacks were involved in 62% of all ‘UoForce’ incidents. Blacks are therefore demographically over-represented. Asians are under-represented as are Whites who were involved in 24% of the incidents but comprise 60% of the population.

    But is this demographic imbalance evidence of bias on the part of police when it comes to ‘use of force’? Or is it evidence of an equivalent imbalance in the behaviors of those being confronted by police?

    Is the fact that the NBA is 75% Black evidence of discrimination on the part of every NBA team, or evidence only of talent imbalance? If I beat you 10/10 times in the 100m dash is that because the race is fixed….or am I just faster?

    Outcome imbalance is actually evidence only of imbalance. The question is: what is the source of this demographic disparity?

    The same report shows that 87% of all UoF incidents involve males and only 13% females. Should we conclude that the police are biased against males? Or should be conclude that males are vastly more inclined to violent crime than female?

    Equally we would note that 69% of those represented on the “UofForce” reports are 30 or younger. Again, does this show us evidence of police bias against young men? Or does it more reasonably indicate that most violent crime is committed by young men?

    This issue was specifically addressed in a 2010 Minnesota Crime Report assembled by the DOJ: “An important issue is whether the
    relatively high rates of minority arrests stem from high minority crime rates or are a result of the police concentrating their arrests on the minority communities. In a study of this issue at the national level, Hindelang (1981) compared FBI arrest statistics with the reports of crime victims, as recorded through the National Crime Survey conducted by the Bureau of the Census. The comparisons show a close relation between what victims say and what arrest records show in regard to the age, race, and sex of criminals. FBI arrest data and victim survey data both show, for example, that about one-fifth of robberies were accounted for by Black juveniles, who are only 2 percent of the general

    The report goes on: “Hindelang’s analysis of national survey data shows that the incidence of crimes against persons by young
    (18-to-20 year old), Black males is exceedingly high, with a rate of
    8,500 such offenses per 10,000 in that subgroup per year. The fact that homicide is the leading cause of death among young Black male adults also confirms the high incidence of violent crime in this subgroup.”

    “The question of bias in arrest statistics has also been studied through the self-reporting of crimes committed…. They report
    significantly more crimes committed by Black youth than by White
    youth… They also observed that the Black/White ratio increases with the seriousness of crimes against persons.”

    In the end the conclusion here is painfully obvious. Young Black men commit violent crime at a rate far in excess of their presence in the population. Sadly, this is more true in Minneapolis than most other cities, given that the rate of violent criminal acts there run at 697 per 100K population vs. 252/100K in the average American city.

    The question is not “Why is the MPD racially biased?”, for there is no real evidence of bias. The question is, why is the Black community in Minneapolis so much more prone to violent crime?

    We hate that question and we hate even more looking at the reasons for the question..but that is, indeed, the question which must be asked even as the Minneapolis Police Department continues through the investigation into the criminal tragedy which was the death of George Floyd.

  41. Tarl says the guy was murdered in a Democrat state, in a town with a Dem mayor and Dem police union… So does this sound–kind of like the place Rodney King was beaten, or where George Wallace ran for office. Has a single one of those anarchist protesters EVER voted against the initiation of force?

  42. How many European-American Methodists are stopped by the police each day? How many of these Methodists terrorize their neighborhoods with violence and mayhem?
    If the inner city residents of any race acted like the vast majority of European-American Methodists, crime would go way down and so would police brutality.

    Have any of the reformers writing editorials or peacefully protesting on the streets spent a week or two with the police in high crime areas> Have those who work for reason? If so, what have they found out about police misconduct?

  43. “During investigatory stops, Epp and his colleagues reported, black drivers were five times as likely as white drivers to be searched. They were also more likely to be handcuffed and threatened with arrest, and more likely to describe the officer’s demeanor as rude, hostile, or insulting.”

    “Blacks perceived investigatory stops as less legitimate than traffic safety stops, while whites made no such distinction.”

    Now I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but maybe there’s a connection here.

  44. No mention that Black Americans commit the majority of violent crime despite making up only 13% of the population???? No mention that white violent criminals are MORE Likely to be killed by police than black violent criminals?

    What is Reason becoming?

    This is total dishonest rubbish propaganda, what you might expect from a Left wing propaganda site.

    Is he suggesting police should just start beating up and shooting more cooperative non violent white people or maybe non violent Asians just to even out the numbers? Maybe he could do a story on how police are targeting men since they are the overwhelming victims of police use of force? He could leave out the fact that they commit the vast majority of violent crimes. And he could call for more shooting and beating up of non violent female suspects just to even things out.

    Completely insane. Reason should apologize for this rubbish.


  45. And what about the behavior of suspects? If a suspect resists arrest, should police not use force based on skin color?


  47. The talking points have been set.

    This isn’t about shitty unaccountable local law enforcement murdering people because shitty unaccountable local government is worthless, corrupt and in the thrall of employee unions.

    No, it cannot be about that because that shitty local government is 100% Democrat.

    So, it must be racism, never mind how many of the cops and government officials of those shitty places are themselves black.

  48. Jacob knows better, but he must signal to the mothership that he will toe the line.

  49. It reflects a general pattern of racially skewed law enforcement that is clear from data on the use of force by police in Minneapolis and elsewhere

    Yes, based on a racially skewed propensity for violating the law. If you want to make any argument about racially biased policing, you need to prove your point against that background.

  50. But no atually:

    “92% of cops killed are white and are killed 41% of the time by black males who are 6% of the population.”

  51. But what was causing the “incidents?” Say it was assaults..then you have to look at the % caused by white versus black…this is classic political bs when any group point out disparity but doesn’t identify the actions which led to the “event” which results in disparity. I mean seriously…will cops be judged based on murders arrested…based on % of that group in the general population? Think people…if there is disparity you need a little more critical reasoning to conclude. Jacob is just getting emotional like the Covington the beginning..

  52. Floyd was a career criminal. And a great role model for young black people. Hence the scholarship in his name..

    “Floyd had landed five years behind bars in 2009 for an assault and robbery two years earlier, and before that, had been convicted of charges ranging from theft with a firearm to drugs, the Daily Mail reported.”

  53. It is simple. Black males comprise, in total, about 5.8% of the US population. Males of the prime “Crime Age” of 15 – 45 years old are three percent (3%) of the total population as a whole.

    Yet blacks comprise over sixty percent (60%) of prison populations in this country. So that means a black male is twenty (20) times more likely to be a criminal. So who are the cops going to question? Joe Average White Guy in a minivan with a kid(s) in it, or the car with 3 black males in it?

    Also I thought that cop was a “rogue” doing something he just made up. Then I heard in the past year over 200 incidents of suspects rendered unconscious by that technique in that city. So apparently this is a taught and sanctioned technique there.

    All the “Law Enforcement Experts” on TV commenting how horrible what this cop did and wasn’t allowed, we’re talking about police departments that never taught that kind of thing, and banned “Sleeper Holds” twenty years ago.

    I am not saying Floyd’s death was justified and the cops should get off, I am saying that the black police chief must know that this was a very dangerous technique, and his cops used it all the time. Seeing how they were taught to use it.

    1. And because the perpetrators lived in the previous 200 incidents, that hold to subdue was considered successful by the police.

      Unthinking cops need a policy of quickly subduing and immediate total restraint with non lethal devices.

  54. Civil disobedience isn’t a game with rules that allow crime, if you’re black or a self proclaimed demonstrator, with the police impotently doing nothing to restore justice.

    If that’s the society you want, get used to barricades, boarded windows and curfews.

  55. They were also more likely to be handcuffed and threatened with arrest, and more likely to describe the officer’s demeanor as rude, hostile, or insulting. Blacks perceived investigatory stops as less legitimate than traffic safety stops, while whites made no such distinction electrician lancaster

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