Wednesday, September 7, 2016
The Black Lives Matter movement has been feted repeatedly at the White House and honored at the Democratic National Convention. Hillary Clinton has incorporated its claims about racist, homicidal cops into her presidential campaign pitch.
This summer’s assassinations of police officers haven’t slowed the anti-cop demonstrations or diminished the virulent hatred directed at cops during those protests.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refuses to stand for the national anthem to protest the alleged oppression of blacks, while pop singer Beyoncé has made the Black Lives Matter movement the focal point of her performances.
Yet the Black Lives Matter movement is based on a lie. The idea that the United States is experiencing an epidemic of racially driven police shootings is false — and dangerously so.
The facts are these: Last year, the police shot 990 people, the vast majority armed or violently resisting arrest, according to the Washington Post’s database of fatal police shootings. Whites made up 49.9 percent of those victims, blacks 26 percent. That proportion of black victims is lower than what the black violent crime rate would predict.
Blacks constituted 62 percent of all robbery defendants in America’s 75 largest counties in 2009, 57 percent of all murder defendants and 45 percent of all assault defendants, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, even though blacks comprise only 15 percent of the population in those counties.
In New York City, where blacks make up 23 percent of the city’s population, blacks commit three-quarters of all shootings and 70 percent of all robberies, according to victims and witnesses in their reports to the NYPD. Whites, by contrast, commit less than 2 percent of all shootings and 4 percent of all robberies, though they are nearly 34 percent of the city’s population.
In Chicago, 80 percent of all known murder suspects in 2015 were black, as were 80 percent of all known nonfatal shooting suspects, though they’re a little less than a third of the population. Whites made up 0.9 percent of known murder suspects in Chicago in 2015 and 1.4 percent of known nonfatal shooting suspects, though they are about a third of the city’s residents.
Gang shootings occur almost exclusively in minority areas. Police use of force is most likely in confrontations with violent and resisting criminals, and those confrontations happen disproportionately in minority communities.
But the Black Lives Matter narrative has nevertheless had an enormous effect on policing and public safety, despite its mendacity. Gun-related murders of officers are up 52 percent this year through Aug. 30 compared to last year. The cop assassinations are only a more extreme version of the Black Lives Matter-inspired hatred that officers working in urban areas encounter on a daily basis.
Officers are routinely surrounded by hostile, jeering crowds when they try to conduct a street investigation or make an arrest. Resistance to arrest is up, officers report. Cops have been repeatedly told by President Obama and the media that pedestrian stops and public order enforcement are racist. In consequence, they are doing less of those discretionary activities in high-crime minority communities.
The result? Violent crime is rising in cities with large black populations. Homicides in 2015 rose anywhere from 54 percent in Washington, DC, to 90 percent in Cleveland. In the nation’s 56 largest cities, homicides rose 17 percent in 2015, a nearly unprecedented one-year spike. In the first half of 2016, homicides in 51 large cities were up another 15 percent compared to the same period last year.
The carnage has continued this year. In Chicago alone, at least 15 children under the age of 12 have been shot in the first seven months of 2016, including a 3-year-old boy who is now paralyzed for life following a Father’s Day drive-by shooting. While the world knows Michael Brown, whose fatal police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., spurred Black Lives Matter, few people outside these children’s immediate communities know their names. Black Lives Matter activists have organized no protests to stigmatize their assailants.
For the past two decades, the country has been talking about phantom police racism in order to avoid talking about a more uncomfortable truth: black crime. But in the era of data-driven law enforcement, policing is simply a function of crime. The best way to lower police-civilian contacts in inner-city neighborhoods would be for children to be raised by their mother and their father in order to radically lower the crime rate there.
Here’s a broader look at violent crime across the country:
Heather Mac Donald is the author of the newly released “The War on Cops.” This was first published by the Washington Examiner Sept. 3.