Evidence of a ‘Ferguson Effect’ Costing Thousands of American Lives

David Shuey
23 min readJul 12, 2022

Tonic for an Inflexible Media: 7 Scientific Papers + 1 Analysis by Astral Codex Ten (Scott Alexander) + Bonus Data & Resources

The Washington Post argued that it’s the 2020 rise in gun sales that led to a spike in homicides. Inconveniently, their own graph shows no uptick in suicides by firearm over the same period. Also, no murder spike after enormous gun sale surges post-Obama’s election (2008) or in aftermath of Sandy Hook mass shooting (2013). SOURCE: The Washington Post
Imagine if we stayed at 2014 levels of homicides. If we did, we’d have at least 26,500 more people alive today, half of them black lives. UPDATE WITH 2 MORE YEARS ADDED (click link below): Since rise of anti-policing and BLM movements starting in 2014, 37,000+ excess homicides (as of Jan 2024) and 74,000+ excess nonlethal shooting victims (approximately 50% are black). SOURCE (2nd tab): https://tinyurl.com/33-thousand-deaths (1st tab): https://tinyurl.com/jails-police-save-lives)
July 2022 article that frames my own argument and post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/interactive/2022/gun-deaths-per-year-usa/

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This was supposed to be a social media post, but decided to reawaken my dormant Medium profile for a data-packed new article. I mostly want these resources out there for academics, thinkers, and writers who want to have some credible research handy. You know, just in case they want to fight this upstream battle of countering bad or myopic information which I believe firmly is costing lives. TIP: Scroll down for the links, and copy & paste for your next discussion!

It’s the Guns, Stupid

So are “guns” the reason for the crime spike in 2020?

Once again, in a foggy weekend haze of media consumption, I find myself analyzing a chart-heavy Washington Post article that both overreaches and ignores the elephant in the corner.

Focusing on deaths by firearms, the Washington Post did their usual in tipping their biased hand by ignoring anti-police sentiment or 2020 protests as driving forces of increased election-year violence. As I’ve highlighted in a few pieces critical of the Washington Post, the increasingly Democratic-friendly Washington DC-based publication tends to push a specific narrative that favors the policies of lawmakers and citizens on the left side of the aisle.

Many feel gaslit. I know I do. And increasingly I don’t have faith that these so-called solutions, narrowly focused on firearm access and mass shootings, will do much of anything to address America’s problem with gun violence.

And it’s not hard to see why: In 2020, media outlets, large swaths of academia, and a majority of the voters in the Democratic party celebrated the righteousness of these anti-racism protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death. They published data on the disparate racial impact of police killings, with zero context on criminal behavior. What I consider a dereliction of journalistic duty, is really just the politically correct status quo.

Yes, black folks are 3 times more likely to be killed by police than white folks. But men are 20 times more likely to be killed by police than women, and I’ve only seen that printed once with nary a reference to misandry, let alone an accompanying photo flaunting a #MaleLivesMatter protest banner.

And I’ve never seen that “3 times more likely” figure — mentioned countless times in the legacy media — in the same story as the statistic that black folks are 5 times more likely kill cops than white folks. In fact, the Post published that fact once, and down the memory hole it went.

Basically, no one is going to own a problem that they might have helped cause. (By the same measure, ditto Donald Trump in regards to January 6.) Instead, they will obfuscate and downplay inconvenient facts — and even research.

Defunding Police & “Mostly Peaceful” Protests

In 2020, media and academics defended the “defunding police” aspects of the protests, as well as any violence they may have helped spawn. This can be summed up in the widely publicized and arguably ideologically left-leaning study indicating 93% of the protests were peaceful.

Buried in the study itself was the fact violence erupted in approximately 570 of those protests. SOURCE: CNN

Often, the media bias was so obvious it was downright mockable. Remember CNN’s “FIERY BUT MOSTLY PEACEFUL PROTESTS” reporting? Many do.

Even the New York Times downplayed the $2 billion in direct damages and 18 deaths directly tied to the protests. The Washington Post continues this trend.

They do it the way they normally do: Selecting specific academics (who already have a viewpoint diversity problem) and cherry-picking narratives to minimize the idea that anti-criminal justice sentiment and protest may increase crime and lead to greater bloodshed. Which isn’t shocking considering 1,800 sociologists signed a Ferguson Letter decrying racial injustice in policing. They did this even before the U.S. Department of Justice led by Attorney General Eric Holder, a respected black Democrat, found the shooting justified with no evidence of racial animus.

I have a simple theory of these past few years: Humans are tribal, and are conditioned not to change their mind if it will affect their standing in their group. Fewer accept responsbility. This is specially true when they buy into concepts like “mass incarceration” as a blight on America and racial bias is endemic to the criminal justice system. Few in elite circles ever ask the obvious: Did late 1990s and early 2000s policing, and the locking up of violent criminals, save lives? No, the true victims are those locked up.

What Is The Ferguson Effect & Why Write About It?

Today I’m offering writers of future Washington Post pieces (and NPR, CNN, MSNBC, and New York Times) this data-heavy blog post plus seven recent papers indicating a Ferguson Effect certainly occurred. The Ferguson Effect is generally defined as an uptick in violence and homicides as a result of increased police scrutiny and protests. This combination delegitimizes police in the eyes of citizens, causes police to pull back, emboldens criminal activity, and often leads to policies detrimental to public safety, such as disbanding anti-gun tactical units. This, I’d argue, happened both in 2020 (29% murder spike), as well as 2014–15 (a two-year roughly 20% murder spike).

Those are my words. But the Ferguson Effect is defined on Wikipedia as thus:

The Ferguson effect is a hypothesized increase in violent crime rates in a community caused by reduced proactive policing due to the community’s distrust and hostility towards police. The Ferguson effect was first proposed after police saw an increase in violence following the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Additionally, I also believe there’s an uptick of anti-social behaviors in the wake of these protests that also feeds the monster of homicidal violence, as well as crime in general. You can’t tell me the non-stop images of black lives taken by police, as well as the constant highlighting of bigotry and racism as a dominant experience in America, is going to make young people more likely to pay attention in school, follow the rules, and listen to authority figures. People are angry. In Chicago, attacks on police are on the rise. Here are two recent stories:

And I won’t even get into progressive prosecutors from coast to coast that likely are adding to the violence. Well, OK, here’s one peer-reviewed tidbit. There’s a new July 2022 paper by Thomas P. Hogan in Criminology & Public Policy arguing Philadelphia’s bail-reform advocate Disrict Attorney Larry Krasner cost hundreds of lives. No wonder Republicans are trying their damndest to recall him. It’s politics, sure, but it’s also about protecting citizens from public officials derelict in their duty.

Paper: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1745-9133.12597

The synthetic control model estimates that de-prosecution has been associated with a statistically significant increase of 74.79 homicides per year in Philadelphia during 2015–2019.

Perhaps this is fodder for Krasner to go the way of prosecutor Chesa Boudin in San Francisco: Being fired.

What the WaPo Missed

The Washington Post avoided the other brave academics who’ve ran statistical analyses indicating thousands of lives have been lost in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement. Think that’s hyperbolic? Here’s a screenshot from that last link:

SOURCE: https://scholarworks.uark.edu/edrepub/136/

And here’s data from the first link in that paragraph above, showing 900 excess homicides and 34,000 excess felonies in five cities alone:

SOURCE: https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w27324/w27324.pdf

(I’ll say more about academic pariah and co-author Roland Fryer shortly.)

The 2020 protests — which were so violent they left 2,000 police officers injured — were barely mentioned by the Washington Post. It was all about the scary looking “assault rifles” and how easy they are to get in the United States — which in this year filled with tragic mass shootings all around the country, is a huge talking point. Understandably so.

An Independence Day parade mass shooting in Highland Park occurred no more than 20 miles from my house, and it left seven people killed and 46 others wounded by gunfire. This hit me and others in the gut, but my mind immediately went to the fact that I know 6o to 100 people are shot in Chicago every damn July 4th weekend, and that shootings have jumped more than 50% in both Chicago and nationwide. This is due to factors other than just “guns” or availability of AR-15 rifles.

These weapons have always been around. Massive uprisings and incessant media callouts of our institutions as irredeemably “systemically racist” is a new phenomenon. Yet people still fail to even consider the connection, or work tirelessly to undermine it.

SOURCE: Zach Goldberg in a Tablet Magazine article titled “How the Media Led the Great Racial Awakening

Predictably, guns were immediately the politicized talking point before the insane killer was even arrested on July 4, from President Joe Biden to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. A Politico headline summed it best: Pritzker wages war with the NRA. (Pritzker is vying a run for president, some speculate.)

The Focus: 0.3% of Total Gun Murders

At least the Washington Post pointed to a criminologist who stated under 1% of firearm murders came from mass shootings. I mention this data point often, which I calculated as closer to 0.3% since 2018, using updated and credible Mother Jones data. Yet the solution to the “scourge of gun violence” appears to be focusing on the military-style weapons commonly used in high profile mass shootings.

Ignored is the fact AR-15s are used in a small percentage of gun crimes.

In fact, an early 1990s report by the U.S. Department of Justice found incarcerated inmates used assault weapons in under 1% of the crimes for which they were jailed.

SOURCE: https://bjs.ojp.gov/content/pub/pdf/GUIC.PDF

Here’s a new definition of mass shootings [mas-shoot-ing, noun]: Those isolated violent events that account for 1 in 300 gun murders in the U.S.

Worse, there appears to be a moratorium on talking about the widespread problem as the United States inches closer to 1990s levels of violence. When have you heard Democrats mention the 50% murder spike in six years? Like the opioid epidemic, this is a huge f***ng deal. There are twice as many children killed in Chicago annually as all the kids whose lives were taken during the Uvalde school shooting, with more than 250 shot in 2021 alone. How many front-page New York Times headlines do you see about gang violence as opposed to a school or mass shooting? Perhaps it’s because the murder spike started in the last two years of the Barrack Obama presidency in 2015 and 2016, then subsided until 2020, fueled by the summer of “racial reckoning.”

To policy makers, I humbly ask three questions:

  1. How do you solve the problem of “gun violence” when 4 out of 5 deaths are from handguns, which gun control advocates have little interest addressing?
  2. How can you say you truly care about the bloodshed from guns when the public conversation largely avoids the 99.7% of firearm murders that aren’t mass shootings?
  3. Who can honestly argue with a straight face that the 50% increase in murders — creating 26,000 additional murders over six years — was driven by mass shootings?

Pardon the expression: It doesn’t add up.

This is why the conservative Second Amendment side of the aisle, while offering few solutions of their own, shake their heads at their counterparts.

SOURCE: https://heyjackass.com/2022-police-involved-shootings/

What Do Republicans Offer?

Scratch that. Republicans don’t have “gun control” solutions, but they do advocate support for proactive policing, and push against radical progressive reforms in criminal justice — which include such insanity such as a “no-chase policy” for Chicago police. I say “insane” literally because this policy is meant to keep the public safe from police, who many believe (including the Democratic mayor) might shoot citizens for no good reason. The ACLU calls foot chases by police “extraordinarily dangerous.”

As I write, there is one (1) fatality in the city of Chicago so far in 2022 from a police-involved homicide. There are 353 overall murders. Um, I don’t think police are the danger.

Are city officials in Democratic strongholds making policy from feelings or facts?

For the past five years, with no notice by the media or public officials, Chicago police are no more likely to shoot and kill their citizenry than the national average, numbering just under nine fatalities per year. During that time, the Chicago Police Department has removed 36,000 guns off the street. Without a doubt, Chicago is a complete outlier nationally when it comes to police restraint. I personally think those stats should be paired like fancy cheese and fine wine, and promoted incessantly by CPD rank-and-file and their higher ups. But no one does.

I argue they should.

Maybe the side of the aisle who isn’t embarrassed to publicly support police — and understand why there are “racial disparities” in outcomes in policing — have some answers. It’s no surprise that it’s the conservative Manhattan Institute in the May 2022 article “Breaking Down the 2020 Homicide Spike” that drew attention to the fact that homicide rates rose 34% for black Americans but only 19% percent for non-Hispanic whites. They also showcased a graph indicating the homicide victimization rate of blacks jumped from about six times higher than whites to eight times higher, which is the largest gap in decades.

Conservatives want law and order. If they were smart politically, they would call public safety a civil right. Or, better yet, Democrats could wisen up and beat them to it.

SOURCE: CDC and Manhattan Institute
UPDATE 2023: Finding Ferguson Effect data-driven charts are extremely hard to find. I haven’t found one graphic that overlays the precipitous drop in arrests in America with the rise in shootings and homicides. But the above two graphics may serve that point. SOURCE: FBI https://www.statista.com/statistics/191261/number-of-arrests-for-all-offenses-in-the-us-since-1990/

Good Points in Washington Post Article

Don’t get me wrong. The article did have useful information, and the charts were edifying. I’ve never been a pro-gun advocate, and certainly wish there was a time-machine where we could go back and have less bullets and guns, somehow. Here’s one excerpt in the Post piece that highlights the vast differences in how guns affect black and white lives:

White men are six times as likely to die by suicide as other Americans. Black men are 17 times as likely to be killed with a gun fired by someone else.

About 60 percent of the gun deaths in the United States each year are suicides, according to CDC data spanning the past 20 years.

The Washington Post chart on this point highlights the massive contrast. It’s jarring, especially if you focus on the “white men” vs. “black men” comparison.

SOURCE: The Washington Post

Why Fear the (Cancellation) Reaper?

Additionally, if you want to go down one rabbit hole about why media nor academics have incentives to counter the widespread argument that institutional racism is leading to police snuffing black lives, look no further than Thomson Reuters data scientist Zac Kriegman. He was called a racist and fired for attempting to question the Black Lives Matter narrative in Summer 2020. He not only questioned BLM with stats and research (“here, here, here and here”), but also endorsed the Ferguson Effect hypothesis. He lost his $350,000 a year job at the news organization over his grounded beliefs.

Writer and podcast host Coleman Hughes even had an excellent interview with him this past week in June 2022, calling his treatment among the most egregious “cancellations” he’s seen.

Then there’s the case of economist Roland Fryer, who was called an Uncle Tom long before he was suspended at Harvard and had his innovative lab shut down. His crime? Ostensibly, it was for harassment in the form of being sexually inappropriate over texts with students, and managing an overly congenial workplace. But many believe the subtext was “canceling” him for being truthful and uncompromising in research that pushed against “woke” academia and pretexts, such as presenting data indicating there’s no racial bias in police shootings. There’s even a new documentary about it.

Dr. Fryer will make a strong comeback, I believe, despite hostilities in corners of Harvard. Kriegman even wrote about Fryer when talking about his own cancellation, calling the charges against him “dubious,” and I tend to agree. Fryer also made a recent appearance with Coleman Hughes calling other researchers “cowards” for not publishing their shooting data and hiding it. He’s even claimed law professors told him NOT to publish his data showing no racial bias in police shootings, while keeping his data showcasing disparities in other uses of force. If this isn’t evidence of intellecutal corruption in the ivory tower of academia, I don’t know what is.

Side note: Mr. Hughes I once defended myself on Medium when people on the left called him an Uncle Tom. Hughes even thanked me in a Tweet he promoted on his sizable platform. He hasn’t been cancelled yet, but he’s exremely careful about what he says.

With abuse like these guys receive, what incentive is there to speak the truth? Well, if you do, make sure you’re armed with empirical evidence.

That YouTube moment in 2022 when Roland Fryer rightfully calls his fellow academics cowards for not publishing the same data he had.

Now the Main Course

Finally, as promised. The seven (7) specific research articles ignored by the Washington Post that indicate the aftermath of protests to high-profile police-involved shootings of black people likely brought about large spikes in murder.

7 Studies Indicating a Ferguson Effect of Greater Violence & Crime

1. https://scholarworks.uark.edu/edrepub/136/ (2022, Robert Maranto, University of Arkansas, Wilfred Reilly, Kentucky State University, et al.)

2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0047272721001936 (2022, Cheng Cheng, Department of Economics, The University of Mississippi, University and Wei Long, Department of Economics, Tulane University)

3. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3715223 (2021, Deepak Premkumar, Public Policy Institute of California)

4. https://www.nber.org/papers/w27324.pdf (2020, Roland Fryer & Tanaya Devi, Harvard University)

5. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2378023117703122 (2017, Neil Gross, Colby College)

6. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3145287 (2018, Paul G. Cassell, University of Utah College of Law)

7. https://jnix.netlify.app/files/pdfs/denpo_depolicing.pdf (2021, analysis on George Floyd Effect in Denver by David Pyrooz, Justin Nix, and Scott Wolfe, who are three prominent criminologists)

Interestingly, I’ve doled these sources out on social media and to friends, and they really don’t sway minds. Twice I had someone tell me my first source by Drs. Maranto and Reilly (and Drs. Patrick Wolf and Mattie Harris) didn’t say what I claimed, but they obviously never got past the intro. I’ll copy and paste exactly what the article does claim in a key section one can read by simply clicking the “Download” button for a full PDF of the article:

This “de-policing” in turn led to higher homicide rates, concentrated among African Americans. Reilly estimates that these BLM initiated policy changes were followed directly by the deaths of 2,874 more Black citizens nationwide, in a single year, than would normally be expected: 218 of these excess deaths occurred in Chicago alone. Reilly (2020) points out that in typical years roughly 25 times more Blacks die from (usually same race) civilian violence than from police violence, so any serious effort to make Black lives matter must consider the impacts of policy changes on homicide rates. Whether the bullet comes from the gun of a police officer or a gangbanger, the victim is equally dead.”

This is obvious and easy stuff, if you try. But will the Washington Post, who seem bent on blaming “guns” and not the people shooting them?

And these are no small numbers. By my estimate, 2020 experienced nearly 7,000 more murders than 2014, approximately half of them black lives. For comparison, and to highlight how little this is really about “black lives” being lost to bloodshed: In 2019 the Washington Post tabulated that 12 out of 54 unarmed fatal shootings by police were black lives (22% of the total).

If that seems low, it’s by design. U.S. media publishes 12 times as many stories about a death of a black person by police compared to a white person.

The Maranto/Reilly article throws shade at the virtue signaling in academia, too:

First, using scholarly citations, we show empirically that social scientists focus far more attention on research regarding BLM related activism than on research regarding how to improve policing in ways that might save Black lives.

The Washington Post overreach can be summed up in this key sentence, capturing the strong certainty on one side of the gun debate:

“Guns [are] almost entirely responsible for an overall rise in homicides across the country from 2018 to 2021, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

I hate cliches and political platitudes, but there is something to the saying: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. One of the largest spikes in gun sales occurred at the the beginning of Obama’s term (2008–10), and again after Sandy Hook in 2012. At the same time the U.S. had 50-year low firearm murder rates until the year 2015. The argument that “it’s the guns causing this” doesn’t really hold water.

SOURCE: New York Times

The Post certainly plays up the availability of guns in America, which we certainly have vastly more than our fair share: Around 400 million, enough to arm every man, woman and child.

We’ve always had guns. But the protests —nearly as intense as anything in the late 1960s anti-war or civil rights era — are an entirely new variable. Come to think of it, we had an incredibly sharp spike in murders then, too.

Large spike on the left didn’t cause a murder spike. Did the one on the right? SOURCE: The Washington Post

But Is It Guns?

A good portion of the article tended to focus on suicides and access to guns. First, I’m just going to point out that South Korea or Japan have higher rates of suicide, but very few guns.

Secondly, the Washington Post presents a chart showing the 29% increase in murders in 2020 while also showing in the same chart no increase in suicides! (Suicides actually dropped 3% from 2019 to 2020.)

This would entirely undermine their theory, with tacit approval by several academics quoted in the story, that increased gun sales in 2020 drove the homicidal crime wave. If true, then why didn’t it also create a tsunami of suicides? Yet, the Washington Post still have the temerity to include this ominous subhead: “Spikes in gun sales and climbing deaths.”

As we all know, correlation does not equal causation, folks.

Is It The Pandemic?

If you think murders increased from the “pandemic,” another hypothesis thrown in here, then you’re also off. Murders fell or remained static across Europe, Central America, and South America, and I’ve yet to find a single country that had a 2020 murder spike except the one country (USA! USA!) that had thousands of “mostly peaceful” anti-police protests after George Floyd’s death, 7% of which turned violent. (Again, a situation where all the Minneapolis police involved were immediately arrested, and have since been convicted. So much for “no justice, no peace.”)

But critics say “more research is needed.” Which I’m all for, but somehow they missed the multitude of studies indicating a “Ferguson Effect” can be shown statistically and with strong methodologies. I don’t think that’s an accident that they ignore brave academics like Wilfred Reilly, Justin Nix, and Roland Fryer.

Could Rise in Murder Come from Month After Month of Anti-Police Protest, Civic Disruption, and Attacks on Policing? (Bingo.)

Here’s a vastly more intelligent and thoughtful analysis by famous rationalist and blogger Scott Alexander. He also had a brouhaha with The New York Times, where he has legitimate beefs with them trying to out him publicly and tarnish his reputation, but I won’t get into it.

Simply, the creator of Astral Codex Ten is not beholden to media or academic pressures, where merely suggesting the “Ferguson Effect” means you’re not an “ally” and possibly “racist.” Alexander puts the near 5,000 single year increase in murders squarely on the BLM protests. Is there any incentive for career-minded academics or media journalists to promote this theory, even if painfully obvious? Of course not.

Read for yourself:



I think there’s clear evidence that the current murder spike was caused primarily by the 2020 BLM protests. The timing matches the protests well, and the pandemic poorly. The spike is concentrated in black communities and not in any of the other communities affected by the pandemic. It matches homicide spikes corresponding to other anti-police protests, most notably in the cities where those protests happened but to a lesser degree around the country. And the spike seems limited to the US, while other countries had basically stable murder rates over the same period.

I understand this is the opposite of what lots of other people are saying, but I think they are wrong.

He also has charts:

Scott Alexander is brave, but he’s not alone. If more people stand up against the ideological grain, I honestly believe lives can be saved.

One More Thing On the Washington Post Article

Nowhere in this article do they truly support this statement: “Guns [are] almost entirely responsible for an overall rise in homicides across the country from 2018 to 2021, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

I actualy ran the data and we had an estimated 35% increase in firearm murders, and 8% of non-firearm murders from 2019 to 2020. However, the spike in murders largely accelerated in the days after the George Floyd protests, which the Astral Codex Ten analysis confirms. Thus, you can’t blame the pandemic.

I’ll note that professors in these media stories have professional incentives not to blame the BLM protests, nor speak in favor of the carceral system. The author above, Scott Alexander, does not.

My Data on How Policing Saves Lives

• Spreadsheet link with several tabs: tinyurl.com/jails-police-save-lives

• This 50% increase over six years means that from 2015 to 2021 we’ve likely seen an excess of 26,500 murders if 2014 is the baseline (50% black victims). Compare this to the 40–50 unarmed killings a year (25–35% black). This 26,500 number I calculated very simply in this 2nd tab “Murder increase 2014–2021.”

• In 1st tab “The Real BLM Effect” I calculate and hypothesize that some significant part of 180,000 lives were saved by incarcerating and arresting violent offenders, as the USA dropped from an average of 24,000 annual murders (1990–1994) to a low of just above 14,000 murders in 2014. We’re now past 21,000 murders again in 2020 and 2021. I quote economist Stephen Leavitt of Freakanomics fame who claimed these four factors led to violent crime decreasing: “Increased incarceration, more police, the decline of crack, and legalized abortion.” (Source: http://pricetheory.uchicago.edu/levitt/Papers/LevittUnderstandingWhyCrime2004.pdf)

• In the 4th tab I ran the numbers to show that a black person killed by police is 12 times more likely to get a news story than someone non-black. That’s what you get when blacks are 25% of the people killed by cops but 80% of the news coverage. Obviously, black lives DO matter. Yes, the media is brainwashing our collective brains on this topic, and it’s why so many people believe cops are routinely going around killing black people willy nilly. It’s all we see, from CNN to the New York Times to our local affiliates. Thus, nearly 25% of “very liberal” persons polled recently said 10,000 or more unarmed blacks are killed by cops each year. They’re just a hair off. The real number is around 10–20. (Sources: https://www.commentary.org/articles/wilfred-reilly/no-there-is-no-coming-race-war/ & https://www.skeptic.com/research-center/reports/Research-Report-CUPES-007.pdf)

53% of “very liberal” people in the United States believe 1,000 more more unarmed blacks are killed by police each year. The real number is closer to 10–20. How are we supposed to trust “that side” of the issue when they inflate reality by a multiplier of 100? SOURCE: https://www.skeptic.com/research-center/reports/Research-Report-CUPES-007.pdf)

What I Want Every Black Lives Matter Protester to Understand

These are basic facts for approximately the past decade:

  • 400 out of 1000 people lethally attacking or killing cops are black.
  • 250 out of 1000 people killed by cops are black.

People who believe systemic racial bias in police use of force after reading those numbers are in denial or ideologues.

In real data, there’s more than 2,000 firearm assaults on police each year out of approximately 60,000 total assaults. This isn’t widely published by media or academia, nor acknowledged by Democratic politicans. Around 40% of those attacks come from black citizens. Virtually no on says that.

Like clockwork the Washington Post annually publishes 1,000 fatal outcomes by police, 250 (25%) or so are black and 500 (50%) are non-Hispanic white. The headlines and content focus overwhelmingly on “disproportionate” outcomes for black people, stating systemic racism is rampant. Since 2015 when The Guardian and Washington Post started tabulating deaths by police, the breakdown where non-Hispanic whites are half the deaths has been reliably consistent but not widely acknowledged. Less consistent (or non-existent) is mentioning that whites are not even 40% of the people attacking cops with knives or guns.

Another interesting fact hardly ever stated publicly: Police in the late 1960s and early 1970s killed blacks at nearly four times the rate they do today. For all other racial groups it’s remained the same.

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The data clearly shows a slight pro-black bias, and slight anti-white bias in shootings when benchmarked to behavior and not population. Which, of course, is what Roland Fryer found and he’s been dealing with the professional blowback and attacks on his character ever since.

Remarkably, I’ve (so far) found 13 total studies indicating no racial bias in police use of lethal force or negligible force differences.

Some like to say, “Well, it’s complicated.” I don’t think it is, really. It’s obvious.


37% of cops are killed by black suspects (2010–2019, 199 out of 537 were black; “white” includes Hispanic).

39% of cops assaulted and injured by knife or firearm were by black offenders (2012–2016).

In 2015, The Washington Post actually reported 43% of police killers are black (from an earlier period). This is a rate 5 times higher than whites per capita. Whites in this article also include “Hispanic” in the mix, as often is done with government stats.

2015–2021: 25% killed by police are black (3 times higher than non-Hispanic whites); 50% white; 20% Hispanic; 5% other. Men are 95% of people killed, making them 20 times more likely to be killed compared to women.

From 2007–2016 an average of 2,150 firearm assaults on police per year (10% injury rate; around 250 cops are shot a year, 50 killed — many not killed due to training and bullet-proof armor) https://ucr.fbi.gov/leoka/2016/officers-assaulted/tables/table-75.xls

Still Think Police Use Too Much Force? Consider This One Chart:

Use of force does not occur in 96% of white arrests and 96.7% of black arrests in Chicago according the same data used in the Obama-era U.S. Department of Justice Report to condemn CPD for using “excessive force.”

Don’t Believe Policing Saves Lives?

Well here are 5 studies saying policing does save humans from being victimized, shot, or killed:

1. https://crimesolutions.ojp.gov/ratedpractices/8

2. https://mason.gmu.edu/~atabarro/TerrorAlertProofs.pdf

3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0047272706000831

4. http://pricetheory.uchicago.edu/levitt/Papers/LevittUnderstandingWhyCrime2004.pdf

5. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/24751979.2020.1858697?fbclid=IwAR3-l6QI26X_dSBSmfc7Lu1sv27O0KaNRPATpUJLOIJZrKePuK_CWyTXKBo&journalCode=rjej20

In Conclusion

This is a tragedy all-around, based on what I believe to be obfuscation by people who should know better. This should be about saving lives and true justice for victims of violence. This is sadly forgotten in these protests, along with statistical reality. More resources are here for the public, and are open to critique or scrutiny. Same with this post.



David Shuey

Writer. Researcher. Designer. Human seeking better outcomes for all. Empiricism, relevant facts, and logical arguments > simple narratives.