David Shuey

Aug 12, 2020

27 min read

Kamala Harris: Biden’s VP Pick & Your Next Candidate to Libel Police & Criminal Justice

Pandering for Votes Means Misleading the Public About How Racist & Draconian Law Enforcement Is Today. Will This Prove to Be a Winning Issue for Democrats as Double-Digit Murder Increases Befall 36 of 50 American Cities?

Breaking News August 11: Joe Biden picks Kamala Harris as his VP in 2020 presidential election. (Photo from NY Post)
As a presidential candidate in September 2019, Kamala Harris discussed her criminal justice plan with a panel on a YouTube video that included a NPR commentator (Angela Rye), a social justice advocate (Jamira Burley), a Salon editor-at-large (D. Watkins), and racial bias and discrimination researcher (Phillip Atiba Goff). All have been sympathetic to the Black Lives Matter movement in recent years, and Goff especially has pushed back on any research that doesn’t explain racism as a reason for outcomes the criminal justice system. The content of this misleading YouTube 31-minute video, which include many of the mainstream #DefundThePolice talking points, I dissect further down in this post. (Photo from YouTube)
Sources for graphic here. The data shows there’s a slight anti-white bias in police shootings, but not in other uses of force. i.e. this graphic should show a 36:1 ratio for blacks if fatal shootings merely matched arrest rates (see further down in article as I created a 2nd chart to show this, too). SOURCE: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/police-shootings-2016/
I crunched this data using Washington Post and FBI arrest data. Experts also checked it, but I welcome input.
Fatal shootings by police were 26% black in 2015, according to The Washington Post, and inching to as low as 24% in the ensuing years. Violent crime arrest rates of Black Americans are above 36%, according to the FBI.
It was just in 2015 when we saw this trend before. As The New York Times reported: “The F.B.I. released its 2015 crime data for the entire country on Sept. 26. It showed that the murder rate rose 11 percent across the United States in 2015, jumping more last year than it had in nearly half a century.”
The Vox Headline last week. They wrote the obvious: “Some experts have cited the protests over the police killings of George Floyd and others — which could’ve had a range of effects, from officers pulling back from their duties to greater community distrust in police, leading to more unchecked violence.”
The Tweet that Vox used that’s not exactly going viral. But averaging a 23% murder increase in 23 large cities should be, in the words of Joe Biden, “A Big F-n Deal!”
News headlines the day before Kamala Harris was announced as the Vice Presidential pick for the Democratic Party by Joe Biden on August 11, 2020. Her reputation as a “cop” to the defund policing left I always found interesting, as politically she’s ran to the pro-Black Lives Matter side of the fence for the past several years. When I heard her announcement speech for president, I immediately remember thinking, “Well she just threw cops under the bus to try to appeal to the left-wing of the party and to become president.” My own bias is clear: I’ll probably vote for her and Biden, and she used to be a favored candidate, but I find she panders more than almost any other candidate. More than Mayor Pete Buttigieg!

INTRO: The Unpublished Kamala Harris & Criminal Justice Story

From the research of David J. Johnson, Trevor Tress, Nicole Burkel, Carley Taylor, and Joseph Cesario: “Odds ratios predicting the race of civilians fatally shot by police from county-level race-specific violent crime (estimated by race-specific homicide data) and population size. Values to the left (right) of the dotted line indicate that the civilian was more likely to be White (Black/Hispanic). Civilian race was regressed on each variable individually due to multicollinearity. Lines represent 95% CI. n = 917.” In plain speak: No out-group racism. UPDATE: This article has since been redacted, er, retracted by the authors.
In 1975 in Chicago, 148 civilians were shot by police, according to data published in 1982 by Northwestern University’s Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. In 2015 and 2016, 25 citizens were shot by police in both years, according to the Chicago crime data-crunching website HeyJackass! The Chicago Tribune lists slightly less with 22 people shot, 8 fatally, in 2015. The totals have only gotten smaller in 2017–2019 to record low levels, with no public acknowledgment by the Chicago Tribune or Chiago Sun-Times or praise from Mayor Lori Lightfoot, only ridicule.
Around 99.8% of Black Homicides and 99.5% of White Homicides don’t fit the category of “unarmed and killed by police.” In other words, in 2016 about 0.2% of black homicides and 0.5% of white homicides come at the hands of cops when the citizen is unarmed and not aggressing. SOURCES: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/homicide.htm (CDC, 19,510 homicides); https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/08/16/what-the-data-says-about-gun-deaths-in-the-u-s/ (“Three-quarters of all U.S. murders in 2017–14,542 out of 19,510 — involved a firearm.”); https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2015/jun/01/the-counted-police-killings-us-database (The Guardian, killings by police 2015–2016); http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1948550618775108 (34 white and 23 black “unarmed non-aggressing” in this peer-reviewed research paper that concludes: “Overall, the data provide little evidence of systematic anti-Black disparity in officers’ decisions to shoot unarmed, nonaggressing citizens. Officers either showed no meaningful disparity in either direction or, if anything, an overall pattern of anti-White disparity.”)
Clear evidence that Dr. Goff’s Center for Policing Equity study (or report) actually proves anti-white bias when violent crime is contextualized.
Table 4 and Table 5 are clear evidence that Goff did the work that showed police aren’t racially biased, and in fact show slight anti-white bias, when “violent arrests” are controlled for. The media ran with the evidence in Table 4. This table indicates force is used in only 3.6% of white arrests and 4.6% of black arrests.
Go to page 19 of Phillip Atiba Goff’s research and look closely at a figure that belies his claim that the researchers “did not gather enough data” to find whether there were racial disparities in shootings.
Something in the red circle of this Center for Policing Equity figure isn’t like the other columns. Look closely. That light grey bar is slightly higher in the “lethal” force column for whites than for blacks. Also: Does this chart look like African Americans are “far more likely” to be on the receiving end of force compared to white Americans?
A 2018 research paper by researchers Joseph Cesario, David Johnson, and William Terrill asks the following question: “Is There Evidence of Racial Disparity in Police Use of Deadly Force?” This is what they found: “When adjusting for crime, we find no systematic evidence of anti-Black disparities in fatal shootings, fatal shootings of unarmed citizens, or fatal shootings involving misidentification of harmless objects.” (Note: Hispanics are included with “white” in the crime statistics but not in the killed by police statistics. This may be a small error on behalf of the researchers.)

Writer. Researcher. Designer. Human seeking better outcomes. Also searching for relevant facts and logical arguments above expedient or politial narratives.

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