Who Are the Police Shooting? Fact vs. Fiction
“Who are the police shooting?” is a fascinating question to Americans – and not just in 2018. We’ve been fascinated by the question for generations. That’s why we have something like 700 movies about the Earp brothers’ gunfight at the OK Corral. The recent Alabama mall shooting, as tragic as it was, got us to thinking about this question more.
The community where the police shot a black concealed-carry holder (instead of the real shooter) is up in arms decrying police violence again. Although the group Black Lives Matter has gotten quiet since they don’t have you-know-who ginning them up from the White House anymore, the sentiment and the narrative are still there: Cops shoot unarmed black people all the time.
But do they? We’re definitely willing to have an open mind about this question, so what does the data really say? We decided to do some digging over our Christmas break, to see who the police are shooting.
Despite massive national interest in the question, the federal government doesn’t track police shootings. The Trump administration is the first to begin attempting to do so, but only on a voluntary basis (if police departments choose to submit the data to the FBI). Thankfully, the Washington Post took it upon itself to begin tracking as much information as it can about police shootings, including the race of the suspect, whether or not they were armed, what they were armed with and so on.
The Post, of course, being good anti-gun, anti-conservative liberals, were hoping to discover a big scoop on how the cops are gunning down innocent black boys who look like the sons that Barack never had. Unfortunately, um… their data has a few gaps in it.
Since the Post began the project in 2015, there have been 4,272 police shootings in America. When we downloaded the data, the Post has only been able to ascertain the race of the person shot by police for 1,955 cases, leaving 2,317 police shootings with the “Race” column blank and 19 listed as “Other”. So, the data is incomplete, but it gives us enough info to at least get in the ballpark with some figures. (It’s unlikely that all 2,317 unlisted police shootings were “Black” or “Hispanic,” for example, so it will at least give us a statistical sample that’s more accurate than CNN’s 2016 election predictions.)
Another problem is the wild, catastrophic level of liberal bias at the Washington Post, which we couldn’t help but notice while sifting through the data. From 2015 through the end of 2018, the post lists only 30 “Asians” as being shot by police – and none of them were unarmed. The Post accomplished this by listing folks with names like Omar Mateen, Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik as “White.” They are, of course, jihadi killers from Middle Eastern countries in Asia who were killed by police in spectacular mass shootings during the Obama administration.
This would have been a possibly excusable bias for the Post if it only extended to Muslims from Middle Eastern countries. But no – no matter where a Muslim is from, if they’re killed by the police the Post lists them as “White.”
Sadiq Bishara-Abaker Idris swiped a gun off the counter at a gun shop in the town of Wyoming, Michigan and ran out the door. He then fled into a nearby middle school where he was shot dead by a heroic School Resource Officer. Mr. Idris is from Sudan, but the Washington Post lists him as a white guy. Same goes for Mohammad Moghaddam who went on a stabbing jihad at a Walmart in Texas (Iranian). Zelalem Eshetu Ewnetu was gunned down by the LAPD in 2017, and he hails from Ethiopia. “White” guy.
Really, Washington Post? There’s absolutely no way that’s an accident. It would have been fascinating to have been a fly on the wall for that editorial discussion:
“But he’s from Ethiopia!”
“Doesn’t matter, Floyd. The rules of Responsible Journalism demand that we list him as White!”
The sample of “White” people killed by police is tainted by the Washington Post’s desire to never, ever offend Muslims in the name of political correctness.
So, what did we glean from the data? Here goes.
From 2015 to 2018, there were 34 blacks killed by police while unarmed, out of a total of 460 police shootings of black suspects. According to that skewed ballpark, 7% of blacks shot and killed by police were unarmed. 466 Hispanics were killed during the same period, with 14 of them unarmed (3%). From 966 whites killed by police, 41 were unarmed (4%). And out of 33 Native Americans killed by police, 3 were unarmed (9%).
In our unscientific look at unscientific data, it appears that you’re statistically the most likely to be killed by the police while unarmed if you are Native American, followed by blacks, Hispanics, whites and then Asians. Over a 3.5-year period, the hard numbers work out to 10 blacks shot annually while unarmed, 4 Hispanics, 11 whites, 0.85 Native Americans and of course zero Asians. And that’s with more than half of the data missing and black African Muslims being counted as “Whites.”
In other words, no matter what your race is, it appears that lightning is more likely to kill you while unarmed than the police. The Washington Post’s little experiment certainly makes the police look more responsible than the Post itself! Unfortunately, after three-and-a-half years of compiling data, the Post hasn’t really brought us any closer to answers on these interesting questions.