David Shuey
4 min readSep 9, 2019


I find it interesting —well, more tiresome — when people like this author argue that there’s something more nuanced than the reality of criminal disparities of blacks and whites that may lead to fatal use of force by police. Of course the fact the black population kills 8 times more than whites, and are also killed 2.5 times more by police, says everything about why outcomes are the way they are. That data alone may tell you there might be an anti-white bias as whites aren’t killed at even close to their rates of criminal offending (put another way, whites are 50% of those killed by police, but only 25% of murderers). Thankfully the author, Nadir Nibras, even mentions the homicide offending gap — which is more than most researchers. Yet the author predictably adds the same anti-racist religious platitudes I’ve seen countless times: “A deeper level of confounding factors such as poverty rate, educational background, and socioeconomic status could arguably much better predict incidences of violent crime among groups.” Yes, and those intersect with race, too. But not exactly as predicted, because blacks kill and commit violence at a rates vastly higher than Hispanics, even though their poverty rates are more aligned with them.

SOURCE: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/topic-pages/tables/table-21

There is also a tendency in science, especially social science, to not state the obvious. And obviously populations involved in killing more will be killed more by police.

That’s why we don’t see people complaining about the fact men are killed by police 20 times more often than women.

I’ve written about the key statistics at play many times before in this age of delegitimizing police. In fact, this is my most recent:

Also, I whipped these graphics up recently and I think they put into perspective the intellectual dishonesty we’re finding in papers that say police killings are a leading cause of death of young black men. Even the LA Times bestows these papers with legitimacy without mentioning any criminal disparities between black, Latinos, and whites. Their headline: “Getting killed by police is a leading cause of death for young black men in America.”

Some of my own analyses offer antidote to the insanity:

And my #1 most precise and regularly updated piece (20,000 words): My analysis on Roland Fryer’s study and The Center for Policing Equity’s report on use of force by law enforcement. Conclusion: There’s negligible racial bias and it’s arguably rare.

The ending of this article that led to the above comments by myself (basically, I disagree, and I find this a common “mantra” in sociology that doesn’t make a lot of sense once you apply the most basic logic):

You may notice that black people made up a disproportionately large share (more than 25%) of those killed, while comprising of only 12% of the overall American population. However, trying to find meaningful conclusions purely based on these statistics would mean we are ignoring the confounding factors behind them.

According to this FBI report, the homicide rate for black males is 8 times higher than white males. A novice at statistics may be tempted to prematurely conclude that higher crime rates are the explanation to black people getting killed at a higher rate. But again, to reach conclusions about a race/ethnicity based on snippets of data like this would not only be incorrect, but also dangerously ignorant. We would be breaking the Golden Rule of Observational Studies: Correlation does not equal Causation. A deeper level of confounding factors such as poverty rate, educational background, and socioeconomic status could arguably much better predict incidences of violent crime among groups.



David Shuey

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