Police Abuse

Racially Skewed Policing Is Not a Statistical Mirage

One need not believe every cop is a bigot to recognize that the problem goes beyond a few "bad apples."


Many conservatives condemn the excessive force that killed George Floyd but reject the notion that such abuses reflect a broader problem of racial bias. "I don't think that the law enforcement system is systemically racist," says Attorney General William Barr, whose boss argues that the crimes of a few "bad apples" do not justify "falsely labeling tens of millions of decent Americans as racist."

Fair enough. But it is a serious mistake to dismiss stark, widely documented racial disparities in policing as a statistical mirage with no implications for equality under the law.

Sometimes those disparities result from race-neutral policies. When police concentrate their resources in high-crime, low-income neighborhoods, for instance, they may impose disproportionate burdens on the people they are trying to help.

New York City's stop-and-frisk program, which at its peak in 2011 involved nearly 700,000 encounters between cops and pedestrians, was supposed to get guns off the street and curb violent crime. But nine times out of 10, those stops did not yield an arrest or even a summons, although each of them was supposedly based on "reasonable suspicion" of criminal activity.

Half the stops included pat-downs, ostensibly based on reasonable suspicion that the person was armed. Yet the searches almost never discovered guns and rarely found weapons of any sort.

When nine out of 10 people subjected to such treatment, sometimes repeatedly, happen to be black or Hispanic, that pattern is troubling, regardless of the policy's intent. Likewise when black people are nearly four times as likely as white people to be arrested for marijuana possession, even though they are only slightly more likely to be cannabis consumers, or when an irrational legal distinction between the smoked and snorted forms of cocaine—a distinction initially supported by African-American politicians—means black defendants get substantially longer sentences than white defendants for essentially the same offense.

Other disparities are harder to explain. Among people who reported police encounters in a nationwide survey by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, black people were 2.5 times as likely as white people to report that the officers had used or threatened force.

One study after another has found that black drivers are much more likely than white drivers to be searched during routine traffic stops, and those searches are less likely to discover contraband. That suggests racial bias, conscious or not, plays a role in deciding who seems suspicious.

In a 2016 speech, Tim Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, explained what such disparities mean in practice, noting that he had been stopped by police seven times in a single year. "The vast majority of the time," he said, "I was pulled over for nothing more than driving a new car in the wrong neighborhood or some other reason just as trivial."

Scott has even been hassled by Capitol Police who thought he seemed out of place, notwithstanding the pin identifying him as a senator. He described a former staffer who was so tired of being mistaken for a car thief by D.C. cops that he traded in his Chrysler 300 for a less conspicuous model.

By the time he retired from the U.S. Navy after a 20-year military career, Theodore Johnson recalls in a National Review essay, he had been pulled over about 40 times, including one occasion during college when he spent a night in jail because his driver's license had recently expired. The cops stopped him because they assumed his cigar was packed with marijuana.

"Imagine the frustration, the irritation, the sense of a loss of dignity that accompanies each of those stops," Scott said. "I do not know many African-American men who do not have a very similar story to tell."

That story provides crucial context for the anger provoked by Floyd's death. One need not believe that every cop is a bigot, or that American society is irredeemably racist, to recognize that the problem goes beyond a few "bad apples."

© Copyright 2020 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

NEXT: Treating All Neck Restraints As Deadly Force Would Help Curtail Police Brutality

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    1. “Basically, he was saying there were a few ways this could have gone”

      Luckily for the shopper Walmart doesn’t require him to speak English. Unfortunately for the cop, not knowing how to speak Spanish will probably cost him his job.

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      2. The base problem overlaid by race, is the “we vs them” attitude of many in law enforcement. The distain and condensation of these LEOs toward any suspected of a crime or even lack of civility can easily turn into confrontation and violence when a suspect tries for dignity.

        Hiring for brawn and obedience to authority has not worked well.

    2. Not so fast: in order to show bigotry the surveys must compare cop interactions with “people of color” other than Blacks. How do Latinos get treated, for instance, or Native Americans, or Asians? I can ask in advance why Asians report far fewer mistreatments from cops than Whites do.

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      2. Excellent point. Also economics.

  1. Racism is no more harmful than fraud. It is when racism or fraud are used in support of an actual harm that they enhance the harm, and provide more evidence of the harm.

    A used car saleswoman who lies about one of her cars has not commited any harm unless you base your buying decision on that.

    A racist cop who does not beat anybody up, who treats everybody politely (even those he despises), who frames nobody — what harm has he done?

    The problem with racist cops is the invisible third word, “government”. That is where they get their uber-authority, their impunity, their unaccountability. A racist mall cop will be held accountable by management when customers complain, unlike a government cop.

    Government is the problem. Always has been, always will be.

    1. You walk into a store and are treated harshly by the clerk. You think “what an asshole” and vow never to return.

      I walk into a store and am treated harshly by the clerk. I think “racism” and stage a protest at he store.

      Exact same treatment, completely different interpretations; how can this be?

      This is the problem with the presumption of racism. None of the above can see into the hearts of men to see their motivations and yet can intuit motive and causality.

      Who is really being bigoted here?

      1. Good observation.

      2. My definition of racist is someone who determines how to treat a person by the color of their skin.
        All the racists I know under the age of seventy are black skinned.

        1. All the racists I know brag about their yearly contributions to NPR and hate everyone that looks like themselves.

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          2. Yea, they’re easy to spot with hood on or off.

        2. My definition of racist is someone who determines how to treat a person by the color of their skin.

          This time of year, someone my color needs SPF 15-30 between 10 and 2 to avoid getting burnt. Someone darker can probably get away with less.

          1. Exactly! When did the race of the perpetrator of a crime become relevant. This is a really easy fix for everybody, race has nothing to do with the matter. Or, is ‘colorblind’ become a quaint notion?

        3. “…how to treat a person…” Therein is a problem, how to “treat” or regard a person one doesn’t know, a being that could be a danger or a friend and often we rely on what we see and past experiences to give a clue as to what to do. I certainly have had occasion to be fearful of a person due to appearance until a few words lead to understanding. Prudence has a place..on how to treat a person.

      3. The fact that an accusation of racism is not falsifiable is where it derives most of it’s power. We’ve made a cultural decision to give such accusations an assumption of guilt at the same time we’ve put it as the highest maxim on our morality scale. I find it hard to believe this isn’t by design.

        1. “accusations an assumption of guilt”, +100000

          Guilty until proven innocent while innocence is never actually a falsifiable instance. I think you shed a lot of enlightenment on the situation.

        2. That is a roundabout way of saying; racism doesn’t exist, it’s false charge based on a spurious distinction itself; race. Logically and as a matter of self preservation I must assert; my difference is not a valid distinction. And from there, for my own self preservation, I do not let that superficial distinction merit my own deliberation.

          I can’t, I just can’t.

      4. Looks like I found another white bigot!

        1. It takes one to know one

      5. Exactly! The guy’s an asshole and move on. Don’t take it personally when a person is being an asshole to you; they’re assholes.

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    3. “A racist cop who does not beat anybody up, who treats everybody politely (even those he despises), who frames nobody — what harm has he done?”

      None. Some must believe or will disingenuously argue that people are incapable of competently and professionally assuming roles and not allow their personal views to interfere. Surely there are cops that enforce laws them may be personally opposed to but since it does not include a potential race factor its okay or not acknowledged.

      Thought control. The appearance of impropriety as determined by unapproved thoughts and opinions will not be tolerated.

    4. That’s the most ridiculous rationalization I have ever read

  2. So black drivers are more likely to be searched. Are they also more likely to consent to searches? Inquiring minds want to know.

    1. I need an “eyeroll” emoji to respond to this comment. Let me lay it out for you:
      You are a black male driver pulled over and told by police that they (for whatever reason they state) have the “right” to search your vehicle. Your response:
      A. Cooperate fully, consent to the search, and drive away hassled but unharmed.
      B. State calmly that you do not consent to the search, get a weapon pointed at you, and get ordered to step out of the vehicle. If you comply, you might still be arrested (for whatever) and possibly assaulted or killed, since when they arrest you, your initial noncompliance can/will be reported as “resisting arrest”. If you DON’T comply with the order to exit the vehicle, expect to be physically assaulted or forced out of the vehicle in some way and still end up arrested/assaulted/dead.
      I hope that answers your absolutely STUPID question regarding why black people (even staunch libertarian ones) comply.

      1. It’s still a useful question. I doubt anybody’s tracking how many searches are being “requested”, but if they were then a difference in the rates at which:
        1. the % of refusals being sustained
        2. escalations by police following said refusal

        would shed some light as to the extent that Sc.B effects blacks vs. whites.

        My personal experience is cops are generally stereotyping, but it’s not so much black/white per se, but high likelihood/low likelihood. Teenage white boys are treated more skeptically than white girls, for example, though I bet black boys get it even worse.

      2. Robean
        June.17.2020 at 1:36 pm
        “I need an “eyeroll” emoji to respond to your idiotic response.

        Cops don’t ask for consent to search when them have determined/assert them have the right to search.

        I hope that corrects your poor comprehension and response.

        “If you DON’T comply with the order to exit the vehicle, expect to be physically assaulted or forced out of the vehicle in some way and still end up arrested/assaulted/dead.”

        That goes for any race. Don’t you have somewhere to be so you can decry white motorist privilege.

        1. Whoa buddy! I was a cop, I never assaulted anyone; are you living in the 7th circle of hell, where you believe every cop is out to ‘get you?’ Look, I’ve been ‘hassled’ countless times, you have to ‘pick and choose your battles’ [assumed facial reaction]

          You’re paranoid.

        2. And search seizure rules are applicable to automobile, too. Te ease your fears, if the police were to search you or your automobile illegally, anything obtained would not be admissible. Cops maybe dumb, but they’re not the dumb.

          But I would still check under the bed, just to be sure nothing’s lurking.

      3. Assume the eyeroll, but substitute white, or any other race into the fact pattern and nothing changes.

        And in my experiences you have only one option, drive away. If you [the driver, or recipient of police attention] have an “issue” with the traffic stop, et al, it behooves you to use the APPROPRIATE venue for redress. Swallow your pride, move on and then react. Or, if you think it’s a good idea, go ahead and lip off to the cop; but I counsel against such rash behavior; it’s counterproductive.

    2. “So black drivers are more likely to be searched. Are they also more likely to consent to searches?”

      Good question. I’m inclined to say no to consented because black people are typically very assertive. Maybe its the weed scented air fresheners.

      1. Remember guys, racism isn’t real. Liberals are the real racists. Black people are the only racists under 70…am I leaving out any of the permanent victimhood reverse-racism complaints here, Snowflake-Americans?

        1. Of course racism is real. The problem is that all interracial interactions that are considered racist most likely aren’t. In 50% of the major universities in the US blacks have demanded separate dorms, classes and even graduations because they do not feel comfortable around people that do not look and act like them. Some white people don’t want to associate with people that look and act like blacks. Are both groups racist? If whites demand segregation for any reason it would be considered racist even though that does not necessarily mean they think they are superior which is a requirement of racism. There again if a feeling of superiority is considered racist or bigotry then a lot of leftist certainly meet that requirement in their judgement of anyone that disagrees with them.

  3. I was pulled over probably 40 times when I went to college in Florida. For stupid things like not driving with two hands on the wheel and the classic changing lanes without signaling.

    Anecdotal evidence doesn’t mean anything.

    1. Yeah…

      I had a classic one night driving home from college. I had all of my belongings in my little Chevy Cavalier. The thing was packed – all three seats loaded with stuff. All of my clothes bundled in bedsheets… it was a mess. I had waited until the last moment to pack the car and move out – and it looked it.

      I was a couple of miles from home at about 2 a.m., finally finishing the drive home. A car with high beams on pulled up behind me on the wooded secondary road I was travelling. He pulled up closer and closer. I tapped my brakes so the lights would flash, letting him know to back off. He pulled up so close that the lights were no longer hitting my rear view mirror. That’s way too close.

      I slowed down and waved him around.

      He stayed on my bumper, backing off a tiny bit so the high beams were blinding.
      I pulled over and stopped, waiving him around. He stayed right behind me.

      So I resumed driving.

      He stayed on my bumper. I made the turn to the last road home. There was a railroad crossing… double tracks, high berm… very bumpy. So I slowly crept over the track and stopped with my wheels just clear of the track, leaving him stopped just entering the crossing.

      Then I accelerated hard. This would put some distance between us. He’d have to accelerate slowly because of the rough and bumpy tracks. Sure enough, I opened up a large gap… probably 100 yards. With my foot to the floor and the 45mph speed limit sign staring me in the face, a thought occurred to me: “What if that’s a cop?”

      Right at 45mph I lifted my foot. He came roaring up behind me, closing at probably 90mph. He resumed position tight on my bumper. I maintained the precise speed limit all the way to the end of the road. When I pulled up to the stop sign, he put his lights on. Sure enough, cop.

      “Do you know how fast you were going?”

      Yes, I replied. I was doing precisely 45 mph.

      “The speed limit is 35mph. You were speeding.”

      He was going to pull that one, huh? No, I answered, the speed limit is 35mph from the gas station to the railroad tracks. After the railroad tracks it changes to 45 mph for the rest of the road. They changed that to 45 from 55 about 6 years ago, when it was 55 all the way to the intersection at the gas station.

      “Well, you were about to run that stop sign, weren’t you?”

      That’s when I knew he was going to back off. So I let him off the hook, saying “Well, maybe one of those rolling stops”.

      He proceeded to hold me for another 15 minutes while he checked things and generally screwed with me.

      And, as you say, that isn’t my only story. Just a fun one because it includes all the elements. Except race. I’ve received multiple bogus tickets in my time – like legitimately bogus, pretextual tickets that got tossed out immediately. (One magical one was getting stopped for an expired tag that wasn’t expired and then getting a ticket for driving on a suspended license that wasn’t suspended – that part was a computer error, not the cop’s fault)

      I even had one officer on a DUI stakeout pull me over by mistake (wrong black sedan in a sea of black sedans) and proceed to harass my wife, pulling her out of the car and trying to intimidate her into saying something against me. He even threatened her with arrest for public intoxication.

      But again.. no racism angle.

      In all the time’s I’ve been pulled over through the years, I have only been given one legitimate citation – that for speeding on the interstate through Charlotte North Carolina. I was driving 65mph in a 55mph zone, with the flow of traffic. But I had an out-of-state license on a BMW, so that probably made me an attractive target.

      So yeah… .anecdotes. We all got ’em.

      1. As I’m sure, you and all others here probably know, you aren’t alone in the anecdotes.

        I have quite a few stories also. A few were of course when I was legitimately (barely) speeding, but some are when I was doing literally nothing wrong.

        My favorite was when I was 19. I got pulled over for “following too closely” after a cop, who was going something like 45 in a 65, changed lanes from right to left about 15 feet in front of me, while I was passing him at about 55. Slammed on my brakes, but when he was 90% over, he jerked back into the right lane (all without any signalling). A little freaked, I slowly crawled by, and as soon as I was a couple feet past, he pulled in behind me and turned on the siren.
        Once pulled over, he took his time. Making this short, he requested I get out…walked to the back of the car, spend 5 minutes swearing at me and then dejectedly gave me a ticket, only for following too closely.
        Icing on the cake was that my dad took me to fight the ticket. Once stories had been told by both the cop and I, the judge says: Is there no other ticket with this, usually these go with accidents? I’m thinking sweet, it’s getting tossed. Nope. Judge then says: I noticed from your license, that you are from up near Chicago (court was in Springfield, IL), and I was just up there last weekend. All of you follow too closely, so I’m enforcing this ticket so at least one person from up there has learned a lesson.
        Yeah, the lesson I learned is that you don’t have to do anything wrong to be in trouble with the law.

        1. I guess not having a ready excuse for bad behavior and idiocy tends to limit it.

  4. Racially skewed violent behavior is not a mirage either.

  5. Another example. Here in Missouri a couple days ago a highway patrol officer shot and killed an unarmed white woman (named Hannah Fizer) during a patrol stop

    Will this ever make national news? Obviously not, as she was pretty much a meth head (at least based on her picture).

    The police aren’t even really investigating it. Just a shrug


    1. The reason nothing will come of the shooting is that no one in the Democrat/marxist party can motivate voters using her death, and no one in the Republican/loser party wants to cross the police unions because they are stupid enough to actually think that will eventually lead to getting votes. Just like with muslims or latinos, Repubs are being told by their closet Democrat/marxist campaign staff to cuck on policy for a voter block which will NEVER actually support them.

      1. Nobody wants to solve the issue. They want to use the issue at the ballot box.

  6. I was once pulled over by a police officer, while white and young, and my vehicle was searched without my consent.

    When I pointed out to the officer that I hadn’t given my consent, he said some variation of “yes, and I didn’t request it.”

    But clearly, my whiteness means that I cannot possibly understand the experience of being powerless before an agent of the state who has told you that he doesn’t care about the letter of the law.

  7. If memory serves, NY stop and frisk weren’t totally random. It was based on existing information and nabbed repeat offenders.

    9 out of 10 stops and frisks targeting Latinos and blacks is seemingly alarming. But a fair question is, why didn’t cops target Asians and Muslims? Gays, transgenders and women? Did minority officers stop and frisk blacks and Latinos any more or less than white suspects?

    The police force is becoming more diverse than some woke companies. Half the LAPD is nonwhite. Blacks commit half of the homicides and most violent crimes are committed in urban zones.

    It’s reasonable to assume that regardless of race, bad cops will run into blacks more often. They’re certainly more likely to resist arrests, have prior records, or are likely repeat offenders operating in the same spot.

  8. Anecdotal: A car stopped on the side of an interstate seems more likely to be accompanied by black people than whites. Perhaps economic hardship leading to poor car maintenance contributes to *some* “routine traffic stops”.

  9. Police violence is a real problem. Who it targets as a function of race is not a real problem. As a function of the number of violent crimes black men commit vs. the number of times they get killed by police, they are dying at a lower rate than huites and Asians. Young black men are being treated with kid gloves and that is BEFORE taking into account the protection they are getting from leftist/marxist revolutionaries in city and state government during these universally violent riots.

    1. “Careful what you ask for (in the way of ‘criminal justice reform’ ….”

    2. New York has done away with “Stop and Frisk” policing and now practices a “Catch and Release” standard for suspected criminals. We shall see how ending cash bail affects criminal statistics in the months and years to come.

      1. Well, some dude with 100 arrests to his name just pushed a 92 year old lady into a fire hydrant for no reason whatsoever

  10. I have not seen a breakdown of these statistically anomalous arrests by geographic location, but I’ll assume that they roughly correlate to the residential location of the people arrested.

    When you look at geographical location of residence by race, you’ll notice an interesting pattern. There are very high concentrations of minorities in large cities. Particularly African Americans seem to reside in large numbers in cities.

    This leads to a question: Who would be doing the arresting in these cases? Would it be the federal government? State police? Or are we talking about city police? I think most major cities have their own police departments, although many smaller cities have unified police jurisdictions with the surrounding county. (I live in such a city)

    So that leads to the second question: Who is in charge of these large cities? Who is setting forth the racist policies for the police force? Is there any unifying thread among all of these disparate jurisdictions? Is there some fealty to a group or organization that might explain this racism?

  11. Disparate impact is a valid use of statistics, it just provides a worthless answer. It would oy be a meaningful statistic against some form of random population sampling. Officer intervention is not random. So disparate impacts use in this case is meaningless.

    1. Not to mention correlation =/= causation, and that’s all disparate impact shows: correlation.

    1. Balko is a hero of this cause…

      But by playing into the “systemic racism” view, I believe you distort the argument and sabotage change.

      Racially disparate outcomes are bad, and that would be a reason for changing things. But we don’t need to go to that argument at all. Things that are wrong are wrong, regardless of intent. The war on drugs has a racial disparity. Does that mean we should address the racial disparity of the war on drugs? Or should we just operate from first principles and say the war on drugs is wrong and end the war on drugs?

      Military police tactics are dangerous and result in death and dismemberment of innocent people. Probably disproportionately poor and minority people. Should we attempt to address the racial disparity…. or should we just end dangerous tactics that are overused by police? Does it really matter if police are 20% more likely to shoot the dog of a black person? Or should we just do something about police shooting people’s dogs on a casual basis?

      I’d wager that black people are disproportionately convicted of capital crimes on bogus forensics who’s effectiveness and accuracy are not scientifically known, from labs who are not science-based and from procedures that do not follow proper blinding. Does that mean that we should take steps to ensure racial equity of such problems? Or should we just fix the dismal state of the forensics system in this country (and around the world)?

      All of these problems can be addressed without the insertion of race as the determining factor. By the dual tactic of making everything about race and promoting cases that are not clearly police abuse, these “activists” do not advance the cause of police reform. They harm it.

      This was a unique opportunity. There was totally unanimity about the problem and a coalescing consensus around making actual reforms to address some of the problems. But we couldn’t go that route. We had to make everything about white privilege and racism and then start burning buildings and blaming racists…

      This is why race is a canard. It plays out the same way every time. It kills the momentum, distracts from the important issues and eventually leads to ossifying positions.

      1. Just when I think we’ve lost Balko to the progressive hive mind, he closes his article thus:

        Unfortunately, today’s protesters rarely mention police unions. Instead, they say: “Defund the police! Fund community programs, like job training.”

        But that won’t stop crime. America has already spent trillions on job training and other government social engineering that rarely works. Initially, the programs are staffed by well-intended people who want to help. But over time, they become wasteful, ossified bureaucracies, like most government programs.

        We need cops. Police presence does reduce crime.

        But we need cops who can be held responsible for their actions.

        Well said, Mr. Balko.

        And in this environment, bravely said.

        1. Except that was not a quote.. it was Stossel’s own voice.

      2. Racially disparate outcomes are bad, and that would be a reason for changing things

        No its not.
        Racially disparate outcomes is a reason to dig deeper into something.

        Vocational tracts in high school were deemed racist because more blacks were in them than whites.

        Nick Cruz had the opportunity to shoot up a school because his school district thought disparate impact was a good reason to abandon disciplinary policy.

        Disparate impact is never a good reason to act.

      3. I’d add that it isn’t even examining causal links a little more closely if there are disparate extremes in outcomes, or dismissing out of hand that race couldn’t play a role.

        But racism seems to be the default for any adverse outcome of the black population beyond any other type of examination, which, on its face, is racist.

        Not to mention the black community is near equivalent to the ENTIRETY of South Korea in terms of purchasing power per population. All of South Korea… within the US.

        Show me any other place in the world where blacks are doing better, and yet systemic racism isn’t implicated in the success of blacks. Why?

      4. Should we attempt to address the racial disparity…. or should we just end dangerous tactics that are overused by police?

        Problem is – you CAN’T fix the second problem if the racial disparity means that it isn’t viewed as a problem by one group and only viewed as a problem by the group that is overwhelmingly on the receiving end of the disparity. You can only fix the problem if everyone sees it as a problem and that ain’t the case right now.

        And it wasn’t remotely the case even 4 years ago – Pew polls re police. The POLICY change that follows from those different perceptions cannot be wished away because they are diametrically opposed. Those who view police as either protectors or dual-role protector/enforcers wanted either a larger (34%) or same size (57%) police force as existed then. Those who view police solely as enforcers were much more likely to want a smaller presence.

        You don’t get police reform when those views differ like that. It is why ‘defund the police’ is even now being seen mostly in racial terms – rather than as the actual step in the right direction that you seem to be saying you want. Of eliminating police presence altogether in the enforcement of the nuisance/petty stuff.

        When those who purport to be advocating the ‘perfect’ (get rid of nuisance/petty enforcement altogether) instead ALWAYS default to the shitty (keep police enforcement of the petty) if they can’t get the perfect; then in FACT they are on the side of the shitty not the good.

      5. It should be obvious by now, Cyto. Politicians and the corporate media don’t want to solve the problems with policing. They created it to enforce their will. They want to divide and conquer and getting the citizenry to scream at each other over skin color instead of atoning for their role in the creation of the police state is the winning play.

  12. So how is it that there are so many racist police in cities run by Democrats, and often black democrats?

    1. Because the Russians and Ukrainians stole the election for Trump, or course.

      1. At least Trump has not abandoned the United States’ greatest ally, Israel.

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  14. So what do you think should be done? Do you place less emphasis on crime prevention in black neighborhoods, where the law abiding may be particularly vulnerable. Do you just stop more white people just to even out the numbers, even if it does not do anything. What do these statistics suggest we do?

    1. What do these statistics suggest we do?

      That’s not how STATEistics work. They are a reflection of the state of the phenomenon under study. Not how it got there or where it’s going next.

  15. Core issues:

    1) The War On Drugs has seriously eroded our Civil Rights, without noticeably reduced ing the availability of the drugs in question. It needs to end.

    2) With the end of the War on Drugs, the practice of ‘No Knock” raids can be flushed down the toilet.

    3) Ditto ‘Dynamic Entry’ raids. Or at least tell cops that if they want to bust somebody’s door in at 2am they have to go dressed and armed like the Keystone Kops.

    4) The ability of the police unions to prevent the firing of thug cops must end.

    5) Qualified immunity must be scaled back to a ‘reasonable man’ standard. A cop should be protected if he did something that makes sense. But a cop that does something that anyone with two working brain cells would have known was wrong should be left twisting in the breeze.

    1. Somebody over at #blm needs to give this guy a call. He actually has a plan that would address a large chunk of the problem and is readily achievable right now.

      I’d add to the second and harder list:

      1. Forensics reform. Police department forensics are going to be biased and skewed. We need professional standards (including blinding and reproduceability) and independent labs that can be equally trusted by prosecution and defense.

      2. Stop killing the dog. (that one is actually for the easy list)

      3. Prosecutorial accountability. This one is complex, but prosecutors currently enjoy absolute immunity. The supreme court has even ruled that they can’t be sued when they frame innocent men. There’s got to be a way around that.

      4. More prosecutorial accountability – this one particularly applicable to the feds: an end to the abusive charging practice of forcing plea bargain agreements by stacking on ludicrous levels of offenses that would result in many decades behind bars – with an offer of 18 months for a guilty plea. This puts innocent people in jail. Even a guy like General Flynn couldn’t afford to stand against this strategy – they bankrupted a fairly well-off man and forced a plea via threats. Just imagine what they can do with a guy who lives paycheck to paycheck.

      1. for the impossible list:

        1. Some way to hold judges accountable when they rubber stamp warrants that should never be approved. This goes from top to bottom. From bogus warrants in Louisville that get an innocent woman shot over a theoretical drug delivery via UPS all the way to legions of FISA warrants that are routinely rubber stamped in total secrecy.

        1. Do you supposed it’s possible that the reason those particular judges got those particular jobs is because they expressed an implied willingness to do this during the interview process?

      2. Jocko Willink had some good insights as well with regards to police training and community policing, but that would mean funding the police even more and the slow, tedious process of organizational change. For all the talk of police reform, I wonder if the populace wants that degree of investment.

        I’d also champion my pet cause of citizen juries. Having direct, continuous oversight over the judiciary keeps much corruption from developing in the first place, and given teeth to dismiss bad actors, insures a degree of accountability.

      3. How about holding judges who issue no knock warrants accountable?

        How about holding judges accountable using statistical analyses of their decisions and outcomes?

      4. I agree with both of you guys on the correct courses of action to correct policing problems.

        I’m also incredulous at the amount of commenters here who are determined to spend their days trying to prove that racism isn’t a factor in America whatsoever, or that there is racism, but it’s primarily against whites.

        The reason why police are as unaccountable as they are now is due to racial policies of the past, and more recent court rulings that have all protected police against conviction in crimes committed against mostly black victims. Jim Crow isn’t all that long ago. I’ll allow the ever talented Balko to speak on this (thanks for the link above, eyeroller):

        “Of particular concern to some on the right is the term “systemic racism,” often wrongly interpreted as an accusation that everyone in the system is racist. In fact, systemic racism means almost the opposite. It means that we have systems and institutions that produce racially disparate outcomes, regardless of the intentions of the people who work within them. When you consider that much of the criminal justice system was built, honed and firmly established during the Jim Crow era — an era almost everyone, conservatives included, will concede rife with racism — this is pretty intuitive. The modern criminal justice system helped preserve racial order — it kept black people in their place. For much of the early 20th century, in some parts of the country, that was its primary function. That it might retain some of those proclivities today shouldn’t be all that surprising.

        In any case, after more than a decade covering these issues, it’s pretty clear to me that the evidence of racial bias in our criminal justice system isn’t just convincing — it’s overwhelming.”

        1. You’re incredulous at your own imagination.
          Makes sense

          1. You don’t see the comments at the top of this article? https://reason.com/2020/06/17/is-racially-biased-policing-a-statistical-mirage/#comment-8305396

            I guess John’s comments lately don’t show up for you? Or Jesse’s? Or Mother’s? Or any of Tulpa’s various incarnations…

        2. I’m not incredulous, these RW white boys are the world’s most sensitive snowflakes.

          Unless everything goes their way, they whine and cry and look for someone to blame, usually a black guy.

  16. The sentencing differences between powder and crack cocaine were arrived at irrationally. They were rational according to the intended goals. The view at the time was that ancillary crime surrounding crack usage was a great destructive problem for black communities. This was greater than the perceived ancillary crime of associated with powder cocaine.
    Giving harsher punishment for possession, distribution and usage of crack was reasoned to be way to lower the crime rates there. That was why many black politicians initially supported the policy because it valued black communities more. It may have had unintended consequences, it may have just been wrong. It was not irrational.

    1. “The sentencing differences between powder and crack cocaine were arrived at irrationally.”

      Thank you, Joe Biden.

    2. That was a prime example of one of the most common problems in society: Right problem, wrong answer.

      They identified a problem – crack cocaine was causing addiction and crime in their community.

      Then they adopted a solution: Harsher and harsher punishment for anyone anywhere near crack cocaine.

      Wrong solution.

      We’ll keep going with the wrong solution until we change one underlying assumption: Getting high is an illegitimate pursuit.

      That’s it. That one assumption is the root of all of the ills of the drug war.

      Drug use causes lots of problems. Because the mechanism of action involves interfering with neurological activity in the brain, they are often physically addictive and often cause changes to the brain and how it works. People eschew productive work to get high. There are downsides to using chemicals to get high.

      But that doesn’t mean that the objective of getting high is illegitimate. It means that care must be used.

      Let’s imagine an alternate reality where the answer to opium dens and meth heads was for companies to do research into variants that are not addictive and don’t have harmful side effects.

      Drug companies have already altered opiod pain killers with the intention of “removing euphoric effects” while retaining the painkilling aspect. Surely they could do the reverse – enhance euphoric effects while reducing other effects.

      Imagine a Smirnoff branded opium cocktail that produces a smooth high that wears off predictably in 30 minutes and has no side effects. Surely that would be a better way of doing things? Or what of a Coca-cola product that has a cocaine based derivative designed as a pick-me-up but without altering neurotransmitter levels when used regularly?

      Same problem. Different solutions because of a single underlying assumption.

      Which one is more likely to work? Well, we know for sure that prohibition doesn’t work. So that leaves the other option.

      1. We’ll keep going with the wrong solution until we change one underlying assumption: Getting high is an illegitimate pursuit.

        The libertarian answer to this is to say “drugs are bad, if you take them, you suffer the consequences and rot in your own filth and government isn’t going to help you”.

        The progressive and social conservative answer is to say “drugs are bad, so we are going to try to use the power of the state to keep you from getting them and using them, and if you choose to take them or distribute them, you will be punished and removed from society”.

        Both of those are rational ways in which you can run a functioning society.

        There are a couple of other answers that don’t work. Like, “drugs are bad, but magic will create drugs that don’t cause any harm”, or “drugs are bad, but if we just give drug addicts free drugs, free housing, and free everything else, we can avoid that harm”.

  17. Don’t judge all Muslims by the actions of a few.
    Don’t judge all illegals by the actions of a few.

    …guess these rules are over now.

    1. Don’t forget – whites share collective guilt for the sin of slavery.

      1. Because a few say that, I guess you think they all believe it.

  18. When nine out of 10 people subjected to such treatment, sometimes repeatedly, happen to be black or Hispanic, that pattern is troubling, regardless of the policy’s intent.

    That was the policy’s intent, as expressed by Mayor Bloomberg. You know, for the blacks. Because he loves them.

    1. Gosh, could the populations of blacks and whites living in cities like NYC and DC be statistically not representative of their respective populations in the US as a whole?

    2. Mike “No Darky Malarkey” Bloomberg is looking out for their best interest. Can blacks and Hispanics really be trusted with 2 Liter soda bottles when diabetes is extremely common in their communities?

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  20. Remind me: Which candidate for president supported harsher sentencing for crack than for powder cocaine? Which candidate voted to allow Pentagon to give more military equipment to the police?

    1. Which candidate uses race-baiting as his primary method of engaging his putrid base?

      You might say “both”, but it was a trick question. Biden doesn’t have a base.

      1. No, Biden does have a base, so the answer is BOTH.

  21. So the stats don’t indicate racism. So its not a mirage?

    New title stats do not indicate racially biased policing


  22. “Fair enough. But it is a serious mistake to dismiss stark, widely documented racial disparities in policing as a statistical mirage with no implications for equality under the law.”

    I’m sorry. Is Jacob saying that the data widely published data (see Mac Donald, Heather) is incorrect? Is he refuting the data and statistics?

    what the heck is he talking about?
    If so, what is the data that he is looking at?

    1. well that was moderately coherent. jumbled the words and sentences are.

    2. I’m sorry. Is Jacob saying that the data widely published data (see Mac Donald, Heather) is incorrect? Is he refuting the data and statistics?

      Jacob is regurgitating statistical fallacies and anecdotal evidence, that’s all. If you expected a reasoned argument from the article, you’ve come to the wrong place.

    3. Reason has completely ignored Heather Mac Donald’s reporting on this issue. They are going all in on the virtue signaling. Perhaps, they want the mainstream media love. Or perhaps, they want to stay ranked high with Google’s “unbiased” algos.

      Either way, I used to depend on Reason for thoughtful, fact-base reporting. That is all but died here. They’ve opted to go all in on the TDS.

  23. I’ve been pulled over by the police man times in my 57 years. With only a few exception, I was guilty of doing whatever the officer alleged, speeding mostly. Got a few warnings along the way but got a lot of citations too. I’ve been arrested too. After being pulled over for speeding a mile from home it was discovered I had a warrant for an unpaid ticket. I didn’t resist the arrest, or fight with the deputy, or run. I just took my medicine that night and sorted things out in court. I’ve been pulled over by white, black, and hispanic cops but I’ve not noticed a “racist” component to any encounter, although when I was stopped two black Harris county constables for speeding, I knew I would not be getting a warning. But then again, Harris county constables are not know for handing out warnings.

  24. Police shooting victims are 95% male. There is obviously systemic sexism at work all over the world. What can we do about this?

    1. Shoot more females to make up the difference, obviously!

  25. Racially Skewed Policing Is Not a Statistical Mirage

    From an article like this, I expect a well-reasoned and well-referenced statistical argument. Instead, we get this regurgitation of left wing talking points, statistical fallacies, anecdotal evidence, and outliers. (About outliers: NYC’s stop-and-frisk program is an outlier and definitely not representative of policing across this country.)

    I have no doubt that black males are much more likely than white males of getting stopped by police. I have yet to see any evidence that this is due to widespread racism (implicit or explicit) or that it is unjustified, rather than being a reflection of rational, justified decisions by police. This article certainly provides no evidence.

    I also have no doubt that it sucks badly to be visually similar to a group of people who commit violent crimes at 10x the rate of other groups. But the only way to fix that is to address the root cause, the massive crime rates and black culture.

    And if I were a law abiding black voter, I would want more policing and more stop-and-frisk of young black males rather than less in my community. But since policing is a local matter, black voters get to decide this for themselves in black and inner city neighborhoods.

  26. Whether there is provable bias or not is mostly irrelevant to the solutions.

    Eliminate the ways in which police are allowed to abuse the public, and you will find that the abuses will stop happening as often. If those abuses are more commonly victimizing black men, then those same black men benefit most from the abuses being stopped.

    1. The solution is for local communities to choose the kind of policing they want, not for the federal government to impose something. We have seen no evidence that local communities aren’t doing that.

      Recognizable minorities with disproportionately high crime rates often prefer harsh police enforcement against their own community because they recognize it as a necessary part of social advancement.

      As an expat living in Asia, i certainly wanted any European person who committed a crime to be sentenced, and removed quickly and quietly from society quickly because whatever they did wrong would reflect on me.

  27. The Stanford Open Policing data and analysis is a good reference. It shows that there are little differences in policing between blacks and whites (and hence little discrimination). Whatever differences there may be is limited to a small subset of jurisdictions.

    Furthermore, even if there were differences (even under the outcome test or threshold test), they wouldn’t automatically be evidence of discrimination, since there may be perfectly rational explanations for those differences.

    1. Sorry, typo: It shows that there is little difference in policing…

  28. Black culture and individuals profit from their victim/warrior status in society. So does Jacob Sullum. What a wonderful country!

  29. To correct a problem you must first identify the cause, but when you keep misidentifying the problem will remain.

    The problem isial not about racist or racism; it’s about the murder of a citizen by a police officer. Or is the perpetrator of crime now relevant? If the perpetrators race has no bearing on the matter, neither can the victims’.

    Keep segregating people by superficial characteristics, then those characteristics become relevant.

  30. Is Sullum being stupid or dishonest with this article? I can’t tell.

  31. “Many conservatives condemn the excessive force that killed George Floyd but reject the notion that such abuses reflect a broader problem of racial bias.”

    Launches argument with the Democrat’s use of stop-and-frisk. Nice work ????

  32. I’m always amazed by the “Cops pull me over X times per week” stories some black people seem to enjoy telling. I have to wonder if cops are the keenest eyed people in the world or if something else is going on because I drive around in my car all day and sometimes, while pondering these stories, I try to spot the race of the drivers in cars around me. I can manage it pretty easily if I pass you and steal a quick glance to the left or right, but trying to pin down people in oncoming traffic or god forbid in front of you? Next to impossible.

    If the cops are always pulling you over for expired plates or failing to obey traffic laws perhaps they’d do that less if you affixed proper plates to your car and obeyed traffic laws. Likewise, driving your S300 into the ‘hood is likely to raise just as many eyebrows as driving your S300 into a trailer park. It’s not at all surprising that the local fuzz might take a keener interest in verifying that such a car was legitimately owned property.

  33. Is racially biased policing a statistical mirage?

    Probably not; but it’s certainly a Democratic communistic disease.

    discrimination – prejudice outlook, action or treatment based on categorical information rather than individual.

    When all you see is [WE] and never a you or a me; discrimination is bound to settle in. The USA was founded on individuality.

    Which would also explain why liberal cities are the one’s crying about discrimination. Their own principles of belief is what has grown this issue.

  34. Cops go for the low hanging fruit. If you replaced all poor black Americans with all poor white ones, those people would get harassed just as much. The piece does point out that the INTENT of policing isn’t racist, but merely that the outcome is. So how do people stop being low hanging fruit? Probably through general cultural improvement. That’s not racial. The meth head in the trailer park has no better prospects than the crack head in the city. People seem to ignore that there are hundreds of thousands of white convicts in prison. This is a problem for everyone.

  35. So: do blacks commit more crimes than whites/Asians/Hispanics?
    And the only reason the stats show that is cops “over-enforcing”? I’ve heard this argument recently. I asked my correspondent where where all of the proportional murders in other communities? No answer.
    There is an elephant in the room, and it relates to the fact that very few festering problems can be solved with a one-sided solution.
    The previous POTUS was uniquely qualified to address this, but chose not to.
    It is not a question of race, but a question of culture; whether it’s a cop that looks the other way when his brother takes someone down a little too violently, or a mother letting her drug-dealer son get away with murder, or nobody in a crowd seeing who that shooter was. These are cultural issues.

    1. “Snitches get stitches”

  36. “Racially Skewed Policing Is Not a Statistical Mirage”

    Neither are the huge disparities in black homicide rates for both perpetrators and victims but for some reason we’re not allowed to talk about them, are we?

    No, any disparity in police response to black suspects must be completely due to bias. There’s just no other possible explanation for it.

    Once again, guilty white liberals will listen to minority race-grifters and dump on the po-po and the end result will be more black victims of crime.

  37. Quoting a letter from an anonymous UC professor.

    “Consider the proportion of black incarcerated Americans. This proportion is often used to characterize the criminal justice system as anti-black. However, if we use the precise same methodology, we would have to conclude that the criminal justice system is even more anti-male than it is anti-black.

    Would we characterize criminal justice as a systemically misandrist conspiracy against innocent American men? I hope you see that this type of reasoning is flawed, and requires a significant suspension of our rational faculties. Black people are not incarcerated at higher rates than their involvement in violent crime would predict.“

  38. The focus on racism, when the problem is statism, leaves over two thirds of the police abuse problems unaddressed or only incidentally impacted, maybe for the worse. The focus on race, also, narrows the market and / or diminishes the intensity of a segment of that market for reform of or recreating police. That the victims in the highest profile cases for the racism case often have criminal pasts compounds these problems. Giving proportionate attention to the many more racial majority and / or non-criminal police abuse victims would both shift the focus, properly, to statism and enhance the support for real reform of or recreating police.

    One area, almost entirely, neglected by the current racial focus is traffic enforcement. Yet, for those of us not in the densest urban centers and without criminal pasts; traffic enforcement accounts for the overwhelming majority of our official police interactions, every one an exposure to police abuse.

    “Why Are the Police in Charge of Road Safety?

    Don’t use a hammer if you don’t need to pound a nail. Road safety does not require a hammer. The responsibility for handing out speeding tickets and citations should be handled by a unarmed agency.”


    1. Traffic signalling and event based traffic control need not be performed by police, but addressing traffic violations should be conducted by people trained and capable of bringing violators to justice.

      If active criminals get ”uppity” during a traffic stop, I’m happy to have them dealt with immediately.

      1. “…get ”uppity” during a traffic stop…”

        Perhaps, you would be happier in Zimbabwe or North Korea. Your statement entirely flips the intended American relationship between the citizen and the government.

        “Man is not free unless government is limited.” ~ Ronald Reagan

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        2. Yeah,

          I don’t understand how traffic stops escalate either.

  39. We’ve got studies on police use of force.

    They’ve found that black and white officers are equally likely to shoot minority suspects.

    When controlling for circumstances of the situation, there’s no difference in use of lethal force between black and white suspects.

    When controlling for circumstances of the situation, there’s only a 10-15% difference in use of non-lethal force between black and white suspects.

    The “stark” disparity is a product of large differences in basal crime rates. Blacks commit over 50% of all homicides and robberies, and a third of aggravated assaults. These are the crimes where the police are most likely to have to use force to subdue a suspect, so we would expect that use of lethal force against suspects would probably fall more along the lines of these severe violent crimes, rather than population data.

    Moreover, data suggests that black suspects are much more likely to resist arrest than white suspects are in general – about twice as likely, in fact. This, again, is going to increase use of force.

    Another contributing factor is likely that police departments in high crime cities tend to be understaffed. Understaffing leads to more overtime, less community policing, and less community connection to the police, all of which increase the risk of use of force incidents. As high crime cities tend to be disproportionately black, this will mean issues caused by understaffing will disproportionately fall upon black people. This difference is on the same order of magnitude as the difference in use of non-lethal force on suspects, which may suggest that the disparity is caused by this rather than race (as police overtime/stress were not factors considered in the study).

    That’s not to say that there aren’t any racist police officers, but the evidence does not show much evidence of racism in aggregate.

    The solution to many of these issues is to increase police presence in cities so as to enable police to do more community policing and to drive down crime by deterring it with greater police presence and faster response times to crime. All of this will also help improve community relations, both by making the police more helpful, reducing crime (which makes people happy), getting the police to interface more with the community, and making it so that people feel like calling the police will result in them very swiftly receiving help.

    NYC and Camden have both seen large improvements in use of force and lower crime rates after increasing their police forces, and the US as a whole saw a positive result in the 1990s.

    1. So the question is “what is it about blacks?” And
      “How can we help blacks make better choices with their agency?”

      Can black help with this?

      Do we need more black floydays for looting?

  40. I’m barely a half dozen paragraphs into this article, and I have to stop because otherwise I’m going to scream.
    First example: “When police concentrate their resources in high-crime, low-income neighborhoods, for instance, they may impose disproportionate burdens on the people they are trying to help.”
    So this poster seems to think that perhaps the police should concentrate the resources in low crime high income neighborhoods. Someone explain to me exactly what good that will do. It’s a stupid remark, despite the fact our poster thinks he’s being wise.
    The next poorly informed remark is this one: “or when an irrational legal distinction between the smoked and snorted forms of cocaine…”
    Does this also why does posterior not understand that crack cocaine as opposed to powder cocaine is incredibly much more addictive? That’s the reason for the differences in the laws governing the two substances. A third example: “black people were 2.5 times as likely as white people to report that the officers had used or threatened force.” Perhaps the writer is unaware that blacks are responsible for a significant amount more crime then what whites are. For example blacks are responsible for 52% of all murders, despite making up only 13% of America’s population. Given those numbers, is it really any surprise?

    I’m not seeing our problems, I’m not saying there are things that can be done to improve the situation. However, the problem is not as simple as this author makes it. Perhaps later I’ll get around to reading the rest of his poorly researched drivel, but at this point it’s just not worth it.

  41. I thought this debate was about hard evidence that police (specifically white police) were killing black americas due to racism. And the metric was to see how many blacks were killed by police as a % of population than other groups taking into account circumstance like attacking police or threatening with deadly force citizens and the analysis showed there there was no evidence. Now were are into the “I felt this or that” land…come on Jacob…

    The local paper (which I haven’t bought in years as it is far left crap) actually started a column with “after systematic racism in the suburbs….” yeah ok…

    1. That same anonymous UC professor also wrote,

      “The vast majority of violence visited on the black community is committed by black people. There are virtually no marches for these invisible victims, no public silences, no heartfelt letters from the UC regents, deans, and departmental heads. The message is clear: Black lives only matter when whites take them. Black violence is expected and insoluble, while white violence requires explanation and demands solution. Please look into your hearts and see how monstrously bigoted this formulation truly is.”

  42. If we assume the Cincinnati police force of 800 has only 2 “bad apples”. and the 2 others were helpless rookies, then the probability of both B.A.s turning up together are one in 319,600.
    How do these guys go unreported by the 798 “good apples” for decades? If not for a citizen, they would still be out there.
    Policing is based on the initiation of violence, and that’s immoral. It is inhuman, irrational, and unjust.

    1. If that were the case then the vast majority of all police interactions would become violent. They don’t.

      The hold that resulted in Floyd’s death is used everywhere without incident. It was normal. It was not a “bad cop” hold. Maybe it should become one.

      Of everyone at the scene, Floyd was the only criminal.

  43. Racially Skewed Policing Is Not a Statistical Mirage


    It is a series of lies using valid statistics in inappropriate ways to create a detailed illusion.

    And they all start the same way– ‘Black people are only 13% of the population but they’re X% of…. ‘ and then that’s used as a justification for everything.

    No one ever seems to ask what black people’s percentage of the total population has to do with anything. Why does it have any bearing on crime statistics? Crime statistics are about crime, not demographic representation.

    People don’t only do things in accord with their demographic representation. To insist otherwise is a lie.

    Likewise with ‘disparate impact’. Disparate impact is only a factor if people only do things in accordance with their demographic representation.

    They don’t. Thus, the very idea of disparate impact is a lie right from the start.

    So why start from lies?

    Because reality isn’t saying what you want it to say.

    But it is the impassioned adherence to these lies that has made policing for the black community the frightful mess it is today.

    1. Like so many great lies of our time.

      All supported by propaganda which requires that the issue be made emotional so the facts won’t matter.

  44. It is essential for liberals – Left and Right – to divide the nation on Police Reform using race. If Americans united on the issue, liberals would lose power

  45. Stop and frisk in New York? Democrat controlled city and state.
    DC cops stopping senator and aids? Democrat controlled city
    George Floyd killed in Minneapolis by racist cops? Take a guess
    Rayshard Brooks killed in Atlanta by racist cops? See where this is going yet?

    Democrats in office for 20, 30, 40 years or more saying it’s the guy who’s been in politics for 3 years fault.

  46. “One need not believe that every cop is a bigot, or that American society is irredeemably racist, to recognize that the problem goes beyond a few “bad apples.”


    There are an estimated 850K ‘cops’ (people who have the right to make an arrest). They invest approximately 1.8B labor hours annually policing & protecting 330M of us (about 365 of us per officer) from 10M crimes tallied across 60M police/civilian interactions annually…1.2M of which are violent. This, in total, yields about 1000 fatal police shootings/year of suspects….and in 2019 about 89 fatal shootings of police.

    So how many bad apples are there in that basket of 850K?? How many are “more than a few”?

    Recognizing, of course, that the plural of anecdote (even colorful anecdotes related by honorable characters) is NOT data….what do we really know beyond the sensationalizing surrounding the handful of TV-outrage-worthy stories?

    Well, we might note the Rand Study on the question of Traffic Stop Profiling. https://www.rand.org/pubs/reprints/RP1253.html which tell us “the data yield little evidence of profiling in traffic stops”, finding instead that even though there was a clear racial imbalance in the number of traffic stops, that imbalance was directly attributable to equivalent differences in driving behaviors and the condition (safe/not safe) of the cars being driven.

    Or, when told that “black people were 2.5 times as likely as white people to report that the officers had used or threatened force”, we might then equally note that in any random encounter between a cop and a civilian, the cop is 2.4 times more likely to encounter a Black criminal (when the civilian is Black) than a White criminal (when the civilian is White). If the individual is a Young Black Man, those odds go up from there.

    Given that the Black community commits crime at a rate significantly disproportionate to their demographic balance in the population….with a murder rate 8X the White murder rate…should we be surprised to discover parallel racial ‘disparities’ in policing?

    True — a Penn State study of NYC’s Stop & Frisk program indicated little impact on crime. The racial disparities noted by the author, above, would seem to underline that point. On the other hand, a simultaneous ‘strategic flooding’ of high-crime Black neighborhoods with a large police presence by the NYPD (also a form of racial disparity in policing) “was a major factor in the crime decline: a 12% to 15% reduction”.

    So how many ‘bad apples’ abused Stop & Frisk? How many ‘good apples’ enabled the 12 to 15% crime reduction?

    Racial disparities in policing are, in other words, sometimes a very good thing and sometimes not so good. But the simple fact of disparity reflects only a mirroring of the equivalent racial disparity in criminal behavior.

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