David Shuey
14 min readSep 27, 2017


Thanks, Traditional Tradesman, you accurately summarized my work.

Here’s some facts and excerpts from my analysis on the U.S. Department of Justice Reports that throw police under the bus (Medium title: “An Evidence-Based Analysis of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Call to Review Obama-Era U.S. Justice Department Police Reforms”) and completely omit the following facts:

  • From row 74 of my spreadsheet, I was able to estimate use of force happened between 3.1 times per 100 arrests (whites in Chicago) and 3.6 per 100 arrests (blacks in Chicago). This range is still far less than the 3.6–4.6% range in the national average, and the difference between blacks and whites is smaller in Chicago (14%) than nationally (22%), too. On-the-ground, these differences are negligible because it’s basically saying between 95.4–96.4% of the time nationally (or between 96.4–96.9% of the time in Chicago), use of force will NOT happen to you per arrest, no matter your race.
  • The DOJ report simply states the following, “Blacks, Latinos, and whites make up approximately equal thirds of the population in Chicago, but the raw statistics show that CPD uses force almost ten times [10x] more often against blacks than against whites.” This part of the report is arguably the most widely reported statistic from the DOJ report in January 2017. They present it as definitive proof of shady, violent police behavior, yet they omit the demographics of crime in the city. NPR, USA Today, The Washington Post, Vox, and The Chicago Tribune all reported that use of force occurred “almost” 10 times more often for black residents than white ones, and all did not contextualize for behavior that would lead to an interaction with law enforcement. Nowhere do they mention in the DOJ report that the “almost ten times more” (10x) use-of-force figure is borderline to case reports issued by victims or 911 calls of suspects (8x), or contact cards by police (8x). Nor do they point out that robbery arrests are 24x higher for blacks than whites according to 2009 CPD arrest data. Other arrest figures: 12x higher for criminal sexual assault; 27x higher for murder; and 10x higher for aggravated battery. The media also ignored these readily available contextual realities.
Feel free to review or comment on my data-crunching. It appears whites and blacks in Chicago are treated about the same per arrest.

This brings me to the several Medium Pieces in 2016–2017, updated regularly for accuracy. Read more for evidence-based facts around racism in the criminal justice system, and how the media and academia has all-but-ignored “The ACLU Effect,” possibly because they’re all playing follow-the-leader — and no one wants to follow the other leader when it’s Trump or our conservative lock-’em-up history. Especially when the prevailing cultural and political tide is all about criminal justice reform and exposing the racism of mass incarceration. Personally, I think there’s a more nuanced path towards reform.

Feel free to get in touch if you think they can be reprinted, edited, co-opted, or republished elsewhere. Email David Shuey at: organica.design(at)gmail.com

My graph using Roland Fryer’s data (new data in right column) based on the New York Times’ damning chart (left column). My theory: The New York Times and other media simply are scared of being accused of racism in today’s race-sensitive environment, a.k.a. “political correctness.”

How Roland Fryer’s Controversial Harvard Study on Racial Bias by Police Actually Shows Negligible Bias (or Brutality)

EXCERPT (with graphic to the left): According to Fryer’s data during Giuliani-Bloomberg’s New York City, suspects are “pushed to the ground” once out of every 73 stops if black (1.3% of the time) or 1 in 87 times if white (1.1%). And the Center for Policing Equity’s definition of “use of force” by police says it happens 3.6% of the time for white people and 4.6% of the time for black people per arrest.

That’s the “next step.” That’s reality. It’s tangible and something an average reader can visualize. Why isn’t that done by media or academia?


FiveThirtyEight & Libertarian Reason.com — and the Media in General — Can’t Face the Obvious: The “Ferguson Effect” is Likely Happening & Trump May Have a Point About Crime

With 31.5% homicide jump, thousands more people died in the last two years of Obama’s presidency than in the first six years. But let’s not call it a “crime wave” or “unprecedented”?

“The 13th” and its Glaring Omission: Actual Crime that Mirrors Demographics

While Ava DuVarney’s movie asks important questions on incarceration, it ignores reasons why we lock people up a majority of people in the first place (hint: It’s not drugs)

BONUS EXCERPT: Last section of this essay: How “ACLU Effect” is likely real, and costing lives in Chicago and nationwide

No Bias In Chicago Policing Despite Mayoral and U.S. Government Reports & the “ACLU Effect”

Which would you rather have in your city? Nearly 1400 more people shot with at least 270 more people killed OR tens of thousands more citizens stopped by police, some unnecessarily. I’ll get to that in a minute, but keep that in the back of your mind. Because that’s exactly what happened in 2016.

Police last year received twice as much civilian gunfire than in 2015, according to a January 2017 Chicago Public Radio report, but shot the same amount of people themselves. For example, after two police were shot in 2017 in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, The Sun Times reported that 12 officers were shot at and nine were struck in the first four months of 2016. Indeed, Chicago police shot around 25 citizens in both years, killing two more in 2016 (11 killed, 16 wounded), yet they interacted with vastly fewer people because of what many have called the “ACLU Effect.”

The ACLU forcefully denies its existence. I think they’re blind to the facts around them, and continue to say Chicago police acted unconstitutionally in recent years, which I wouldn’t deny happens at times. But I just proved that the available data shows police in Chicago arrest both white and black citizens using force at nearly the same rates — 2.4% and 2.8% of the time, respectively — and LESS than the national average. Also, as I’ve pointed out repeatedly, the probability of being shot fatally in Chicago by police the past 28 months is the exact same odds as the nationwide average, about 1 in 300,000.

One could argue police should be commended for NOT using lethal and non-lethal force in the city of Chicago if you look at the data and compare it nationally.

Regardless, 2016 in Chicago started with a nearly 90% drop in police stops and 80% increase in shootings citywide. CBS’ “60 Minutes” reported in a high-profile story that Chicago police stopped 80% less people in 2016 than the year before — arrested 33% less people overall — but citywide homicides increased nearly 60% by year’s end. Some point to the holistic reaction of the Laquan McDonald video being released in November 2015 (a.k.a. “The Laquan Effect”), but a new ACLU-designed investigative stop form implemented January 1, 2016, that takes 40–45 minutes to fill out per person stopped has also been widely cited, from the former U.S. Attorney representing Chicago to the former Police Superintendent, as a major factor in the slow down. The ACLU calls this reduction in stops a good thing. It’s also reported in the Sun Times that in December 2015 police were still stopping many suspects in the month after the McDonald video, but stops dropped precipitously with the implementation of Investigative Stop Reports (ISR) in January 2016 coinciding with an immediate jump in shootings and homicides. This created in many minds an “ACLU Effect.” Indeed, a post-NYE immediate pull back by CPD could very well be due to mayor-approved ACLU reforms that create inertia in police more than the morale-destroying McDonald video street protests. A first report on stop-and-frisk post-reform issued by a retired federal judge in March 2017 still said there were disparities in frisks, but the percentage of blacks, whites and Hispanics stopped was almost exactly the same as March 2015 report that prompted the ACLU intervention.

So what are Chicago police to think in this can’t-trust-the-cop environment? Not only is the ACLU form cumbersome (“Hey, I may have wanted to talk to you for 15 minutes about that shooting down the street … but I have to fill out a very long form for the rest of the hour if I do”), but police morale is at an all-time low. The following generalized cop-on-the-street sentiment has been widely reported: “Why should I risk my neck if every watchdog and government report says it’s us cops who are the bad actors on the streets and ignores the real crooks.” Officers in Chicago are actually saying, “You have to be a complete idiot if you don’t think the climate doesn’t have a role in the rise in crime and murder.”

The hyperfocus on policing called the “Ferguson Effect,” popularized by Manhattan Institute scholar Heather Mac Donald and promoted by others, importantly note an immediate shift in crime in cities like Chicago, Baltimore and St. Louis. Many critics have pushed back against the concept that a drop in proactive policing led to rising crime, despite the fact that in 2015 major cities, and the country, had the largest single year increase in homicides since 1971. That trend continued in 2016. However, skeptical research criminologists like Richard Rosenfeld, who said before there’s no “Ferguson Effect,” are having “second thoughts” now. “My views have been altered,” he said to The Guardian after seeing an overall 17% increase in homicide in 56 of the nation’s largest cities. Rosenfeld now claims “something like a Ferguson effect was responsible for the increase.” The critics of Mac Donald in 2015 should look at the continuing problem of increasing violence with fresh eyes.

Whatever the reason, it’s beyond dispute that police have pulled back precipitously. Despite being pleased by that fact — just like they’d be pleased if police stopped wearing protective gear — the ACLU continued to complain, as recently as March 2017, that 71% of stops remain black, despite the nearly six-fold drop in stops. This is the exact same percentage breakdown as before the reforms, where disparity of stops and shootings was the focal point. And all evidence shows stops (and shootings) match almost exactly the demographics of perpetrators of Chicago’s crime as described by third parties. Again, stops went down 80% for every racial group, just like shootings went up around 60% for every demographic from 2015 to 2016.

When does ideology get in the way of what makes rational sense?

The Chicago Tribune headline, March 14, 2017: “Fardon issues fiery letter on exit as U.S. attorney in Chicago” He still calls for court-mandated reforms for police.

The ACLU also blasted the former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois for daring to make the obvious connection between the ACLU agreement’s effect on policing and increased criminal violence. They say they feel “attacked.” U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon was also involved in the DOJ report, and says key police reforms are needed and “you can’t have a top-flight police department on the cheap.” Fardon wrote how the city task force on policing and the ACLU had detrimental effects, whereas rule of law had been delegitimized and the pendulum of law enforcement swung in favor of criminal. He also stated clearly his non-political perspective in his departing 5-page open letter:

“And then on January 1, 2016, a contract began between CPD and the ACLU requiring that officers complete lengthy contact cards for every street encounter. That ACLU deal grew out of a lawsuit about stop-and-frisk, but the contract that settled the lawsuit swung the pendulum hard in the other direction by telling cops if you (officer) go talk to those kids on the corner, you’re going to have to take 40 minutes to fill out a form, and you’re going to have to give them a receipt with your badge number on it.

So by January 2016, the city was on fire. We had no police superintendent. Cops were under scrutiny. Cops had to worry about the ACLU deal. And many of them just no longer wanted to bear the risk of stopping suspects. Many became scared and demoralized. And that demoralization was compounded by the City panel’s sweeping tone and language around racism and lack of respect for the sanctity of human life.”

It’s likely for Fardon, who had nothing to lose, the principle of saving lives became more important than local politics. Thus, he bravely spoke out and said the ACLU-CPD agreement is costing lives. Thus, he was rebuked by the ACLU.

And yet, who are disproportionately the victims in Chicago? What is the goal of the ACLU and the officials from Obama’s U.S. Justice Department? Why are 911 calls and third-party case reports (crime reports) nowhere to be found to contextualize the stops in the ACLU’s damning report and the DOJ’s so-called “scathing indictment” of police (a term Fardon says the media overuses and is “not accurate”)? With Chicago shootings becoming an international story in 2016, why can’t the state of Illinois enact stronger sentences for repeat gun offenders without drawing the ire of criminal justice reform critics?

80% of the shooting perpetrators and victims are African American. In a city that is nearly one-third white, only 5% of the victims and perpetrators are white. That’s a disparity of 16 times (16x). (Sources: heyjackass.com and 2009 CPD Arrests)

When one has to agree with Megyn Kelly about the infamous “in your face” Chicago Black Lives Matter protester, it’s a rare day. But the evidence points in that direction.

If you think the difference in arrest is because police are out harassing citizens and finding crimes, ask yourself: How do they find 11x more sexual assaults? These are called in by victims (case reports). But from The Tribune to The Atlantic, the “10 times more” moments of use of force is lobbed as some law enforcement injustice, but it merely is a result of the 8–10 times more arrests that Chicago police are making because of actual crime. If case reports of descriptions of black perpetrators were in the 50–60% range, you would have evidence of racial bias and harassment of citizens when cops are arresting and shooting black citizens in the 70–80% range (whites are in the 5–10% range). Alas, that’s the not the case because they align almost perfectly at around 71–73%.

Contact Cards (police initiated); Case Reports (citizen initiated)

Again, the data is from the CPD and was provided to the media in March 2015 based upon CPD records to defend themselves from accusations of racial bias by the ACLU. But by summer of 2015, the police department agreed with the ACLU to institute changes in how they report each stop.

The ACLU Effect is brought up by police and immediately denied by the American Civil Liberties Union. Of course. Who wants any portion of 270-plus more dead bodies resting at your well-intentioned feet? Or possibly 1500–2000 more deaths every year since 2014 if you count nationwide [my Google Doc analysis] based on FBI and Brennan Center for Justice estimates.

I know many critics say you can’t trust police stats because, well, they’re police stats. This is lazy, and defies logic, even if police may at times not issue honest reports. There’s two reasons why:

  1. It’s police stats that the DOJ and ACLU wields when saying police departments have systemic racial bias. (And as noted earlier, they usually make arguments by showing whole numbers and use-of-force disparities without contextualizing for which demographic commits more crime.)
  2. You can’t hide dead or shot bodies. The stats on black people killed by police match or are more favorable to blacks than arrest or use-of-force stats. (For example, nationally for Black Americans 25% are killed using lethal use of force, 27% are arrested, and 31% are on receiving end of use of force by police.)

I’ve argued against this problematic “you can’t trust police” argument extensively in my “numbers” section of my Roland Fryer and use-of-force Medium posting. I’ve yet to hear a convincing argument why that 6% differential between lethal and non-lethal use of force indicates anything but proof police statistics are accurate. The difference is even large enough to signify how blatantly obvious it is that police today may not be pulling the trigger against black men in dangerous situations. This happened in October 2016 when a Chicago female police officer didn’t want to shoot her attacker out of fear of public scrutiny.

“But you’re wrong, man,” I hear the blogosphere cry out. “The cops are hassling all the black guys, and white privilege keeps white people safe.” Logic destroys this common assumption when whites are 50% of people dying at the hands of police, around 25% of murderers, and close to 40% of persons arrested for violent crimes. Blacks are 25% of those killed by police, 50% of the murderers, and also close to 40% of individuals arrested for violent crimes. (This flies in the face of what liberal media pundits like CNN”s Sally Kohn spin when they try to pin “69% of violent crime” arrests on white men, when they ignore per capita differences or don’t remove 90% of the “Hispanic/Latino” portion of crime from FBI crime data “white” column total.)

I say Black Lives Matter needs to look elsewhere with their anger when 4% of black homicides are by police, but 12% of white homicides are instigated by law enforcement. More liberals need to be open to these indisputable facts, I argue, or people will continue to die.

Simple math: Divide killings by law enforcement (aggregated by The Guardian or The Washington Post) by homicides by race. 51.6% of victims and 53% of offenders are black, and around 30% of victims are white (found in FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting). Total annual homicides in the United States in 2014 are upwards of 14,000 annually to nearly 16,000, according to the CDC. So using The Guardian totals with the CDC number, the black percentage is derived by dividing 306 / 7900 = .038 (3.8%); and the white percentage comes from dividing 581 / 5000 = .116 (11.6%). P.S. I did conjure up this Black Lives Matter “myth” before Heather Mac Donald similarly did. Her data is 100% correct, and fairly straightforward, as she puts police killings as a proportion of overall white deaths (and Hispanic deaths, too) at 12% and black deaths are at 4%.

Again, Context!

There is evidence that police are shooting up to 6 times less in Chicago today than in the 1970s. There were 148 shootings by police in 1975, 25 in 2016 (Sources: Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Spring 1982 Issue, page 349, + Chicago Tribune & heyjackass.com/2017-police-involved-shootings). Nationally, the trend is the same. Even the liberal group Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice refers to CDC data showing the rate per million of black people killed by law enforcement is three times less than 40–50 years ago in the United States, but the rate flat-lined for all other races. In other words, racial bias got 70% better for African Americans in terms of fatal use of force, but not for all other races. I’ve yet to find a mainstream media story highlight how police are likely treating minority and inner city communities in the United States of America far better than in the recent past based on evidence. Instead, it appears narratives are shaped by social justice and civil rights groups unquestionably.

Ask yourself: Have I seen facts like these shared in the news? Why not?

Fact: Around 70% of perpetrators of crime as described by victims in Chicago are black, matching the overall arrest rate (Case Reports, Arrest Rates)

Fact: Around 70% of people in contact by police are black (Contact Cards, reported by the ACLU)

Fact: Around 70% of people shot or killed by police are black (Chicago Police Accountability Task Force Report, instigated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel after the public outcry from Laquan McDonald’s death)

Fact: Around 80% of people killed in Chicago, mostly by gun violence, are black (University of Chicago’s Crime Lab)

Thus: Where’s the racial bias in today’s Chicago Police Department? How can the mayoral task force on the Chicago Police Department in early 2016 say, “CPD’s own data gives validity to the widely held belief the police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color”? How can the U.S. Justice Department investigators in 2017 say they have, “Serious concerns about the prevalence of racially discriminatory conduct by some CPD officers”?

Where is the actual evidence of disproportionate racial bias when ALL the data points — from police stopping people to police shooting people — mirror their crime rate based on third party reports, a vast majority of which are racial minority victims?



David Shuey

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