Unarmed Killings of African Americans Numbered Under 10 Last Year. There Were 4 Times More in 2015. *

* And unarmed white Americans numbered nearly 20, but you didn’t see that in the media, did you?

David Shuey
20 min readMay 31, 2020

Author’s Note in 2021: This is a long intro about where we are one year later, and how that headline above isn’t quite accurate. Though, it’s close.

This post was created as the George Floyd protests (a.k.a. racial reckoning) just got started in late May 2020. If Medium’s stats are correct, this article reached several thousands of readers. But I wish it could be part of a larger mental shift with legacy media wising up to the errors of their ways.

Alas, one year later and folks left-of-center politically are largely repeating lies and believing complete falsehoods when it comes to policing. How else can half the population on the political left be off by a multiplier of almost 100 as to how many unarmed black men are killed by police every year?

I have one word: Brainwashing. See case examples: CNN (and CNN) and The New York Times (and The New York Times).

And you should see the actual news that comes from The New York Times. But much of the above leads to…
Brainwashing? Roughly half of the left believe 1,000 or more black men are killed unarmed by police. It’s closer to 10. Factually on the point of racism in policing, conservatives are far more in touch with reality. SOURCE: https://www.skeptic.com/research-center/reports/Research-Report-CUPES-007.pdf

Three captions under the three images that began this 2020 article are addendum thoughts related to the “9” unarmed killings of Black Americans by police, which sloppy Washington Post methodologies changed to “14” and then “12.”

If I could do it over again my headline would read: “Unarmed Killings of African Americans Numbered Under 15 Last Year, A Threefold Drop Since 2015.” That’s a nice, 100% accurate headline. Contextual. Relevant. Essential.

One you’ll never likely see. Ever.

This goes without saying: These unarmed deaths are real lives and real tragedies. Just as the 62 police killed by felony gunfire in 2021 are, a jump from 45 in 2020. 346 officers were shot in 2021.

These are the final “unarmed and killed by police gunfire” breakdowns in the context of “Black Lives Matter” protests for 2019, the year before George Floyd’s death:

  • 26 white
  • 12 black
  • 11 Hispanic
  • 5 in the category of “other”

Less than 25% are black. That’s reality. But look at that Skeptic chart above again. It’s also crystal clear that more than 50% of “very liberal” Americans live in a fictional reality — a morose universe clogged with racism where the number of unarmed Black Americans killed by police might be as high as “about 1,000,” “about 10,000,” or “more than 10,000.” And it’s those “very liberal” people making the biggest stink on Twitter, trust me.

SOURCE: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/national/police-shootings-2019/

Apologies for any confusion, but The Washington Post keeps changing their dataset which messes with my graphics and message. I wish this was clear when many of my graphics below were locked up. A pox on their Bezos house! Skip this author’s note and images below to begin the original article. I also added a 2020 addendum at the end. Yeah, this post was supposed to be a 7-minute Medium read. And now it stands at 20 minutes. Gulp.

But long story short, here’s some bonus facts:

  • This small number of around a dozen Black Americans killed represents only 25% of the unarmed people killed by police in 2019. It also represents only 1–2% of all lethal encounters by police of all racial/ethnic groups. The other 75% total killed by cops you almost never hear about, and are mostly non-Hispanic white. (CNN and The New York Times won’t report this.)
  • The demographic breakdowns of police killings (armed and unarmed) have been roughly the same for the past 5 years, while data from this past decade shows Black Americans are around 40% of the people actually killing police or attacking them with firearms or knives. 4 out of 10. This indicates unequivocally a clear anti-white bias when police pull the trigger, which is exactly what economist Roland Fryer found — specifically, he found a difference of 27.4%. The media, activists, political leaders, and lazy thinkers insist on comparing killings by Black Americans to their share of the population, which is 13%. (NBC or CBS won’t mention 40 out of 100 cops killed are by black men on the nightly news. They only mention that 25 out of 100 people killed by cops are black.)
  • It’s rarely mentioned that men are 95% of people killed by police, which I expand upon in the addendum. (The New York Times did mention in passing that “20 times as many men as women were killed by the police over the past several decades” in late 2021 in yet another “institutional racism” story titled “More Than Half of Police Killings Are Mislabeled, New Study Says.” But at least they finally said it. If even as an afterthought.)
  • Killings by police are fewer than 3% of black homicides in 2020, but represent at least 10% of white homicides. (Media everywhere: Crickets.)

And this is why I use the term “brainwashing.” A lot.

How is this not a massive disinformation campaign by media — and academia and social justice zealots — when they consistently leave out the key variables that debunk the “America is systemically racist” argument?

To say otherwise is gaslighting.

A visual highlight of the disconnect of narrative from reality

I’m not exaggerating when I say 99% of articles that involve statistics of law enforcment officer-involved killngs never mention the data above the 3rd bar, such as how blacks are 44% of illeagal weapons arrests. Kinda relevant, don’t you think?

And nearly all of them mention some varation of “only 13% of the popualation” but “25% of the people killled by police.”

Yup, brainwashing.

The ACLU is full of utter b.s. Murders spiked nationally 30% in 2020, adding nearly 5,000 to the total. There was virtually ZERO increase of police-involved killings. It’s remained about 1,000 for five straight, 91–95% armed.
Surely it’s different math, but this is possible: $100 x 3 million donors = $300,0000,000 that ACLU has in donor money.

It’s hardly an “epidemic” of black murder by state violence as the ACLU claims without factual or logical basis, furthering their ideological retreat as a $300 million a year organization beholden to their elite donor class. Nor is it “open season” on killing black men as the lawyer Ben Crump claimed in his book Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People. (Omitted is the millions of dollars he’s making by pushing this mythical narrative, representing everyone from George Floyd’s family to Michael Brown’s kin.)

Thanks to the several hundred pairs of eyeballs who have viewed this post. I am troubled thinking many may not share my politics, and the people who I want to read this may just skip and dismiss it as Fox News talking points or worse. I do believe that I have liberal values, and do care about outcomes of black folks, and all people, really. Hell, I voted for Obama twice and went to his inauguration, and Biden four times (two as VP, one primary, and one general).

But these past few years have really opened my eyes to how wrongheaded the left-leaning base in America has become, and how far these bad and amoral ideas have infiltrated media and government. Why are they amoral? Well, what else to call a 50% six-year murder spike accelerated by deliberate statistical manipulation and lies that delegitimize our criminal justice system, and being completely unconcerned and unaccountable for the result? That’s an excess of at least 18,000 lives that wouldn’t otherwise be lost.

Even if the murder drop bottomed out by 2014, research shows the boomerang back up came from partly from investigating police departments after viral incidents. And a lot of the media saying “racism” increasingly the past decade.

One of many charts at the end of this article, many created by Zach Goldberg.

And if amoral is the wrong word, they’re certainly blind and not open to facts. This I’ve learned in hundreds of interactions with BLM supporters, and people on the political left. They at the very least have blood on their hands.

Now to the beginning of the 2020 article. (Sorry for digression. Let’s start with that headline again.)

SOURCE, Washington Post (Tip: Click “Weapon” +“Unarmed” and then click “Race”): https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/national/police-shootings-2019/JUNE 11, 2020, Update: Apparently, after this “9” and “19” number of unarmed killings by police was sporadically making the rounds and receiving pushback by media gatekeepers after the protests erupted (and still ongoing), The Washington Post in early June went back and updated their database. They added around 14 more “unarmed” killings for a total of 55 (14 black, 25 white) in 2019 out of 375 million encounters and around 10 million arrests. Just around 5% of fatal shootings by police involve an unarmed individual. A more accurate headline would be, “Three Times More Unarmed Black Men Were Killed in 2015 Compared to 2019” or “Unarmed Killings of African Americans Numbered 14 Last Year, A Threefold Drop Since 2015.” Go to asterisk graphic (*) at bottom of this page for more details and two-months-into-the-protests wrap-up.
2021 UPDATE: For possibly the third or fourth time (or even more), The Washington Post has updated their numbers to the following: 12 black, and 42 non-black people were shot and killed unarmed by police. With 80% of all media stories being about black victims, this hard fact may surprise some. But the brainwashing is very real when a black person killed by police is 12 times more likely to get a news story than someone non-black. So let it be known that in 2019 and 2020, unarmed killings that were black were about 25 out of 100 cases of people killing cops. This means black people are three times more likely to be shot and killed unarmed compared to whites. This is repeated ad nauseum in media, academia (from Yale to Harvard), and social media. From 2015–2019 in my main database I bulit for this article I found 35 out of 100 unarmed cases involved black people shot by cops. But this is a key fact almost never mentioned in the media (save for one time by The Washington Post): For the past 10 years, black folks (mostly young black men) were around 40 out of 100 people killing cops. This is a rate at least five times their share of the population compared to whites. That’s the essential argument as to how American police are NOT systemically racist. Systemic racism is if those numbers were flipped, with say 40 out of 100 unarmed people killed by black, but only 25 out of 100 people killing cops. But that’s not the case, and never has been, in federal and legacy media databases.
2021 UPDATE: The copy in this article will keep the original numbers set in June 2020 as “14 unarmed black people” while the graphics I made on the original publishing date of May 30 are locked in with “9 unarmed black people.” (How they actually LOWER the total again after RAISING it, I have no clue. It really screws with the consistency of this post, but regardless of specific number, they’re in the same ballpark indicating in 2019 — and for every year 2016–2020 — only 1% of all police shootings are unarmed black men; white men are 3% of unarmed killings. Some research indicates 90% of unarmed shootings are justified, meaning it’s possible up to 99% of police shootings are completely legally justifiable, and what the media, activists, and academics are focusing on are extreme anomalies.) SOURCE: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/national/police-shootings-2019/
NEW GRAPHIC MAY 31, 2020: Originally, this is the graphic I wanted for this piece. I’m literally hearing explosions down the street as I wrap this up. 38 unarmed killings of blacks by police occurred in 2015, more than four times the number in 2019 (and with zero media acknowledgment). PLEASE SHARE. KEEP THE PEACE. (Sources and data crunching for graphics above.)

Wait, What Is This Posting? Why Should I Read It?

You may be angry about the brutal killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. The officer is currently being charged with murder. You may be angry at the protest violence that erupted and want to share facts that provide perspective. You may just like data, empirical evidence, and context and not media or political spin.

If you’re an apologist for people destroying police vehicles or burning down businesses, you may want to move on to the next chaotic protest.

But Isn’t Data Spin? How Can I Trust It? Or You?

True. Everything is spin. But I want to give you a chance to understand the data by providing direct SOURCES to everything, and explain the context simply. You can can accept and interpret as you like, or mumble something about “lies, damned lies, and statistics” as you flip back to Twitter or Netflix.

OK, What’s Your Argument?

What happened in Minnesota is 100% unacceptable and should have never happened. Now let’s move beyond the rhetoric.

Last year nine (9) unarmed people were killed by police who happened to be black, according to The Washington Post’s widely used data on fatal encounters with law enforcement. The same occurred to 19 unarmed people who happened to be white. And six (6) who happened to be Hispanic.

I say “happened to be” because I believe this data refutes the narrative that black lives are uniquely endangered by police or that race determines outcomes more than behavior.

In fact at least 10 studies indicate the same. One found “an overall pattern of anti-White disparity” in fatal police shootings. Another said, “blacks are 27.4 percent less likely to be shot at by police relative to non-black, non-Hispanics.”

Stated another way: 99.9% of black people murdered in 2019 were NOT unarmed and killed by cop. And 99.7% of white people weren’t. This is reality. But because we saw one awful, horrendous killing on video, the reaction is nationwide protests, violence, and destruction in dozens of cities.

My main question I often wonder: Is that a rational response given reality? My second question is: Why is the media and political class reluctant to share this reality with the public to squelch this anger?

But First, Here’s a Video of a White Person Killed Not Widely Known and Sporadically Covered in National News

For Every George Floyd there is a Tony Timpa ignored by the larger public and the narrative of black lives being uniquely threatened. As reported in the Dallas Morning News: “Timpa wailed and pleaded for help more than 30 times as officers pinned his shoulders, knees and neck to the ground in 2016.”

Watch if you can. Millions watched the death of George Floyd.

In fact, with more than 200 non-black unarmed lives killed by law enforcement the past five years compared to around 100 black lives, there must be many Tony Timpas we’ve never heard much about. It would be hard to argue that a majority of Americans don’t know most of these names: Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Laquan McDonald, Philando Castille, Stephon Clark, and Botham Jean. Far fewer know the names Zachary Hammond, Jeremy Mardis (age 6), Dillon Taylor, Dylan Noble, or Gilbert Collar. Who are they? They were all unarmed white teens or children killed by police in recent years. Yet Twitter doesn’t trend their deaths. And protests aren’t built around their names.

Yes, there is a black-white disparity based on population. But there’s no racial bias when benchmarking to violent crime rates, killings of law enforcement, and overall arrest figures.

Let Us Begin (Media, Feel Free to Steal These Headlines & Data)

As I write this, I’m receiving a citywide lock-down order in Chicago due to the protests, so maybe we should have began days ago, weeks ago, or years ago. Though I’ve been writing and building data-driven charts on this topic intensively for the past four years. All the following statistics are true. They’re also graphically represented below under matching subheads.

  • 9 Unarmed Black People and 19 Unarmed White People Were Killed by Police in 2019 *
  • 4 Times Fewer Black Americans Were Unarmed and Killed by Police in 2019 Compared to 2015 *
  • Several Sources Indicate Killings of African Americans by Cops at All Time Lows, Dropping Nearly 75% Since 1970
  • Chicago Has Seen a Ten-fold Reduction in Shootings by Police Since 1975, and Killings by Chicago Police Have Dropped In Half the Past Five Years
  • “Unarmed and Killed by the Police”: Around 99.8% of Black Homicides and 99.5% of White Homicides Don’t Fit that Category
  • Unarmed Blacks Are Disproportionately Killed by Cops at 34.5% of Total 2015–2019; But (Largely Unsaid) Blacks Are Also More Than 40% of Cop Killers
  • Data Proves Media Focus on Racism and Social Justice Issues at All-Time Highs Despite Arguably Lowest Levels of Discrimination in U.S. History (This is Why You Think It’s Really Bad Right Now)

* Again, scroll to bottom for update on adjusted “unarmed” figures as Washington Post updated to 14 unarmed blacks and 25 unarmed whites.

9 Unarmed Black People and 19 Unarmed White People Were Killed by Police in 2019 *

Yes, around 5% of both blacks and whites killed by police in 2019 were unarmed. SOURCE: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/national/police-shootings-2019/
See June 11 note at top of this article or addendum at bottom with asterisk (*). Washington Post updated data to now show 25 unarmed whites and 14 unarmed blacks killed by police in 2019. SOURCES: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/national/police-shootings-2019/; https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2018/crime-in-the-u.s.-2018/topic-pages/persons-arrested; https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2018/crime-in-the-u.s.-2018/topic-pages/tables/table-43 (Data crunching.)

4 Times Fewer Black Americans Were Unarmed and Killed by Police in 2019 Compared to 2015. *

* It’s close to “3 Times Fewer” with new updates by The Washington Post. SOURCE: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/police-shootings/

Several Sources Indicate Killings of African Americans by Cops at All Time Lows, Dropping Nearly 75% Since 1970

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, 1968–2011. SOURCES: http://www.cjcj.org/mobile/news/8113 (liberal Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice); https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/12/18/racial_cop_stories_that_didnt_make_the_cut_125004.html (conservative Larry Elder). Also I’ve written extensively on CDC source here and here.
And blacks are not uniquely threatened by whites today, an ever common refrain from media, activists, and politicians. Sadly, the facts remain constant every year: Twice as many black people kill white people than vice versa, and in relative low numbers as most murder is NOT interracial. SOURCE: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2018/crime-in-the-u.s.-2018/topic-pages/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-6.xls; https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-09-29/race-and-homicide-in-america-by-the-numbers
SOURCE: https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/htus8008.pdf

Chicago Has Seen a Ten-Fold Reduction in Shootings by Police Since 1975, and Killings by Chicago Police Have Dropped In Half the Past Five Years

SOURCE: https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=6298&context=jclc (data published in 1982 by Northwestern University’s Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology)

Compared 148 people shot (likely around 75% black) in 1975 to the 12 people shot in 2019 and 21 people shot in 2018 (around 75% black).

HeyJackAss! is a snarky cop-run source of crime data. Their numbers are similar to those kept by The Chicago Tribune. The Tribune has published several articles critical of Chicago’s police culture, yet have only run this single story highlighting the significant drop in shootings from 2014 and before, let alone from the 1970s. Why is that? SOURCE: https://heyjackass.com/2020-police-involved-shootings/

“Unarmed and Killed by the Police”: Around 99.8% of Black Homicides and 99.5% of White Homicides Don’t Fit that Category

2016 was a fairly average year, so let’s look at that data. (In 2019, it was closer to 99.9% black and 99.7% white, but I was too lazy to make a new graphic.)

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.”)
SOURCE: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/police-shootings-2016/

Unarmed Blacks Are Disproportionately Killed by Cops at 34.5% of Total 2015–2019; But (Largely Unsaid) Blacks Are Also More Than 40% of Cop Killers

How is 13% of the population really “overrepresented” if they’re 43% of cop killers? Police are on the receiving end of up to 2,400 firearm assaults a year, according to FBI records. This is story I’ve never seen referred to after originally being published in 2015. I wrote a Washington Post and media critique last fall after the death of Atatiana Jefferson at the hands of police, mystified that journalism ignores their own sources or contextual data.

SOURCE: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/01/09/are-black-or-white-offenders-more-likely-to-kill-police/

Additionally, these are the breakdowns for black arrest in 2018 according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report:

  • Overall arrests = 27.4%
  • Violent crime arrests = 37.4%
  • Weapons arrests = 43.3%
  • Robbery arrests = 54.2%
  • Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter arrests = 53.3% (8 times higher than non-Hispanic whites)

This isn’t high-level Bayesian data, but the figures map on fairly closely to overall unarmed deaths of African Americans the past five years. Here is also my analysis of unarmed shootings by race and gender for 2015–2017.

Data Proves Media Focus on Racism and Social Justice Issues at All-Time Highs Despite Arguably Lowest Levels of Discrimination in U.S. History (This is Why You Think It’s Really Bad Right Now)

Statistician Zach Goldberg regularly runs data like this showing media has gone gonzo for social justice rhetoric in recent years. Check him out. SOURCE: https://twitter.com/zachg932/
SOURCE: https://twitter.com/zachg932/status/1133822312606777346?lang=en
SOURCE: https://unherd.com/thepost/is-there-a-racism-epidemic-in-america/ (Zach Goldberg chart)
Media is flush with white liberal contributors who have a clear bias. Zack Goldberg wrote about this for Tablet. SOURCE: https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/americas-white-saviors
Even white conservatives over-estimate racism in one of the most often highlighted examples: Resumes with black-sounding names. SOURCE: https://twitter.com/ZachG932/status/1267563005262381058
This graphic and source I didn’t have in my original posting, but it may be the most pertinent. Like Philippe Lemoine’s statistical argument — who coincidentally connected me to Goldberg over Twitter — you can see how clearly attitudes and beliefs don’t match reality. SOURCE: https://twitter.com/zachg932/status/1259259908664496131
Actually, Zach is making data right now during the George Floyd protests that CONFIRMS MY HEADLINE! SOURCE: https://twitter.com/ZachG932/status/1266926255082999810

That was luck. I was just going to Zach Goldberg’s Twitter page to source the graphics above this last one. But this final gem should have been my lead.

And as if you needed more convincing if you’ve skim read this far: Political scientist and general wizard contrarian Wilfred Reilly number crunched and showed that non-blacks make up 70% of police-shooting victims and receive 20% of national media coverage of police shootings. Blacks got 80%. Among other interesting findings, as he’s wont to do.

Bonus Graphics:

Interestingly, Heather Mac Donald ran these same numbers around the same time I did. I made this graphic and put it on Medium in parallel pulling the data from various sources. Killings by police are below 3% of total black homicides today (around 250 police killings and 10,000 homicides). SOURCES: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the-u.s.-2014/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/expanded-homicide/expanded-homicide/expanded-homicide.pdf (FBI homicide breakdown); https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/homicide.htm (CDC homicide totals); https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-09-29/race-and-homicide-in-america-by-the-numbers (race and crime data); https://www.vpc.org/studies/hispanic.pdf (homicide victim by race)
SOURCE: http://web.archive.org/web/20190331093610/http://policingequity.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/CPE_SoJ_Race-Arrests-UoF_2016-07-08-1130.pdf (Center for Policing Equity who tried to spin this data as uniquely bad and an indicator of entrenched police racism.)
QUICK LESSON ON MEDIA & ACADEMIC SPIN: A more accurate way of calculating this Center for Policing Equity data (used in the three figures above): Before even benchmarking for violent crimes, 1 out 22 arrests involve use of force for blacks, and 1 out of 28 times for whites. Here’s what’s really shocking: That 3.6% vs. 4.6% use-of-force difference does NOT factor in violent crime and Phillip Atiba Goff and his fellow academic writers obfuscate that fact in their own report! Page 17 of the Center for Policing Equity’s report on use of force says, “Table 5 shows that benchmarking to violent Part I arrests reverses the direction of the Black-White gap.” Reverses. The. Black-White Gap. And when one analyzes violent crime arrests as reported in the FBI Uniform Crime Report, as many as 1 in 15 black arrests are for violent acts compared to 1 in 24 white arrests. So while it’s true they found force is used “1.3 times” as often against blacks compared to whites, somehow the authors in the Executive Summary diminish the relevance of violent crime arrests saying, “Previous research has found arrests for violent crimes to involve police use of force only 1.3 times as often as arrests for all other crimes (Worden, 1995).” (Insert logic: Maybe that one 1.3 times difference balances out the other 1.3 times difference.) Page 26 the authors also wrote, “Might cultural mismatches and/or officers’ perceptions of cooperation be influenced by residents’ race? There is some suggestive evidence that there are racial disparities in resistance based on research by Smith and colleagues for the National Institute of Justice. They find that the rate of officer injury is lower when arresting a White suspect than a suspect of another racial group (Smith et al., 2009).” Thus, the small gaps we see on these charts can easily and rationally be explained by violent crime and resisting arrest differentials between black and white populations. All these stats were not written in the news coverage. The public spin by the authors passed through media filters such as The New York Times without skepticism, and presented to indict American policing as overwhelmingly systemically racist when their own data AND passing references to violent crime disparities say the opposite. Read more in a recent publishing of a Sept 2019 story on the author’s primary figurehead, Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, and his connections to Kamala Harris (and his $5 million from Google): https://medium.com/@agent.orange.chicago/kamala-harris-bidens-vp-pick-your-next-candidate-to-libel-police-criminal-justice-1c797d705d05

In Conclusion

I thank you for your time. Feel free to use any content as you see fit. Hopefully to fight for justice and against racism. But the issue is: We have bigger fish to fry when the last graphic should indicate to you that around 96% of the time, police don’t use force when arresting you. And 99.999% of the time they won’t kill you unarmed. No matter your color.

SOURCES: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/national/police-shootings-2019/; https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2018/crime-in-the-u.s.-2018/topic-pages/persons-arrested; https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2018/crime-in-the-u.s.-2018/topic-pages/tables/table-43

Asterisk Addendum (*): How A Washington Post Update Messes with Your Charts & Graphics + BONUS MID-SUMMER THOUGHTS

This used to be a caption at the top of this post, but decided late July to move it down to the bottom and give it a rigorous edit. If you made it this far eight weeks after posting my most widely read article —21,000 views and 2,400 reads — I humbly thank you. But protests continue across the nation, with one late July death of an armed protestor in Austin and likely dozens connected to protests, so the conversation continues.

I’ll be as honest as I try to be transparent: I’m more pessimistic than ever. This “fix” by the Washington Post is but one small example of media obfuscation, even as clarity is the arguable objective.

Despite having six months to fix their database, the Washington Post apparently updated their Fatal Force database about a week after I posted this article. They wrote the following disclaimer in the related high-profile story:

Note: This article was updated to reflect that some numbers in the Post police shootings database have increased recently after additional research, as police, oversight agencies and media released more information about ambiguous shootings.

It’s now 25 unarmed whites killed by police along with 14 unarmed blacks. Not a huge change, though that would make make this article’s headline slightly inaccurate. (More accurate: “Unarmed Killings of African Americans Numbered 14 Last Year, 3 Times Fewer Than 2015.”)

This fluctuating data by the Post was used against black conservative Larry Elder in Politifact, where they gave him a “mostly false” rating for saying the same thing I did on June 2 and merely Tweeting “killed by cops” and not “fatally shot by cops”— sorry, Politifact, he was “mostly right” and you’re being fussy and showing your ideological bias. The Post even added a chart (see above) that would also be helpful to the national conversation on race and police shootings, indicating they’re extremely rare at 6% of total fatal shootings by police.

Again, these are the credible, straight-forward, and essential facts that are almost entirely unwritten and unsaid in the mass media landscape:

  • Two-thirds of those deaths by law enforcement are not black
  • Violent crime rates (one-third black) and assaults on police (one-third black) completely predict those unarmed fatal encounters
  • Unarmed killings of blacks have dropped precipitously in five years

If only 1/100th of Washington Post’s overall coverage, as well as the other mainstream media in the aftermath of Floyd’s killing — or, hell, even the past six years — could be like that chart. So far, I’m not aware of even one of the seven headlines I posted in this article finding their way into a mainstream story. I surmise this is because editors and writers have blind spots, biases, and a healthy fear of “cancel culture” and losing their job from the social justice mob.

I’ve personally exchanged emails with a Chicago Tribune editor who came across this article and contacted me. I suggested he focus on the fact that while shootings are up around 50% in Chicago the city’s police force are utilizing their firearms against citizens less than ever — and even lower than the U.S. average, indicating remarkable restraint. This fact could help build trust between communities and police if it got out there. The trend is clear as well as the newsworthiness: There’s never been such a wide gap between Chicago shootings and civilians shootings in modern history. Yet not a single reporter in Chicago or nationwide is writing about it.

I say it often, “Please, steal this data.” Or just the main idea from this graphic:

It’s also worth noting at least 9 in 10 fatalities by law enforcement involve cops using their firearm, if we compare to Guardian data that includes deaths like neck holds or even car accidents. A tiny anomalistic percentage may look like George Floyd or Tony Timpa. That’s because research shows 90% of unarmed killings might still involve a dangerous suspect. Given these facts, the back-of-the-envelope math indicates you may very well have 5 to 10 unjustified killings out of 1,000 every year. And this makes American police uniquely dangerous and in desperate need of reform?

I suppose so. We keep getting countless articles like this drilling it into us:

Chicago had 58 children shot in July alone, none by police, but this article adds a sentiment I’ve read dozens of times in the papers like The Washington Post and The New York Times: “This country is dangerous for black people. Black parents live with an ever-present fear that their children will become victims of state violence and terror on the basis of race.”
After Floyd’s death, international media followed suit with the familiar narrative and quoting celebrities, too: “Racism is not getting worse, it’s getting filmed,” the actor Will Smith told Stephen Colbert in 2016. Colbert responded, “The revolution is not being televised, but it’s being tweeted.” Four years later, both remain. true.

At any rate, it is frustrating and inconvenient that this number changed. Even if a tiny bit. One prefers not to re-edit charts and headlines, and I haven’t so far. Though, at the end of the day it’s better to be accurate. Thus, this addendum.

I’m just tired that progress can’t be acknowledged.

Perhaps a tipping point on this mid-year/post-uprising update by The Washington Post was because influential heterodox thinkers and black conservatives started to pump out the same Post numbers you see in the main graphic I cobbled together at the top of this post. The first time I noticed the “9” and “19” unarmed deaths mentioned was when philosopher, ethicist, and podcaster Sam Harris Retweeted a post by Kmele Foster from the excellent The Fifth Column podcast. Foster, who is black and not a conservative, Tweeted the following:

“2019 Police-Involved Shooting Deaths of Unarmed Civilians: 19 White 9 Black. Everyone has skin in the game. Propagating the falsehood that this is exclusively, or primarily, a problem for black folks, is a bad look. I’m pro-police reform. I’m against fact-free anti-racism tropes.”

Harris’ June podcast “Can We Pull Back from the Brink” is also highly recommended, reflecting much of the base reasoning this post is attempting.

Other freethinkers like Coleman Hughes started using the updated 55 total of unarmed people killed in 2015 in his new role at City Journal by mid-June.

I have a suspicion that WaPo editors were notified that the less favored pundits (i.e. those in the Intellectual Dark Web or conservatives) were using their data and felt compelled to finally double-check. The Washington Post did post the updated numbers on June 8 with this headline, “Protests spread over police shootings. Police promised reforms. Every year, they still shoot and kill nearly 1,000 people.” Somehow I missed it in the chaos. It’s not a terrible article, except for once again omitting crime rates and research indicating no racial bias in outcomes. But I have problems with the headline, because my answer would be rather austere and resigned to the status quo to some: “Maybe this indicates you can’t really lower that number very much.” How so? Deduct 14 unarmed deaths from the black total of 250 and you still have 236 black lives (armed) taken by police. You’re not going to move the bar much. And this year we may very well have more than 10,000 black homicides (CDC) as we experience a potential “Floyd Effect” like the Ferguson Effect of the past resulting in hundreds if not thousands of extra lives taken.

Yet we have “Black Lives Matter” lettering on public streets sanctioned by Washington D.C. city officials that apparently can be seen from space.

I surmise The Washington Post is investing less resources in keeping the Fatal Force database up-to-date. For example, there are inconsistencies from one page to the next — at one point in mid-June showing 1003 total deaths on one page and 1033 on another. They also have a backlog of 144 of “Unknown” races, far more than they’ve had in past years. Most of those “Unknown” I surmise will be categorized “White” in the end to match the past five years’ consistent demographic outcome of people killed by police: 500 white, 250 black, and 250 Other (Latino/Asian/Indigenous).

Also left unsaid throughout media is any discussion of gender bias involved in police shootings when 95% of those killed are male. Men aren’t even 95% of people arrested, just 73% — women are 27% of arrests. Yet 6 in 10 Americans now support Black Lives Matter and their argument that violent outcomes with police are driven by racism because of disproportionate outcomes. This is how the use (or abuse) of the popular term “intersectionality” works in modern politics and social justice. Don’t expect consistency. You’re expected to only highlight males lives if they’re black, and female lives if they’re black.

It’s no surprise that the #SayHerName movement which focused on so-called police brutality against black women was started by the civil rights academic Kimberlé Crenshaw who coined “intersectionality.” But it may be a surprise to most Americans inundated with activist propaganda that black women are only 1% of people killed by police while white women are 3%. This fact is omitted by Crenshaw in her celebrated Ted Talk with nearly 3 million views, and for good reason: Facts get in the way of narrative. Because women are arguably more oppressed than men there’s virtually no one with a public platform pointing out disproportionate outcomes of men as a group compared to women and decrying that as a form of sexism. It’s possible a red-pilled men’s rights activist is making that claim somewhere. We know what the response would be: “Well, men are more violent, and that’s driven by toxic masculinity.” OK, but try saying the same around race and see if you get away with it without being called a “bigot.”

To me, the textbook example of the 21st century’s collective insanity is expecting a racial or ethnic group that commits 800% more murders and robberies per capita than another group should also be 0% more likely to be killed by police.

Our focus in society should be about lowering all violent rates and helping those historically marginalized by racism, even if they can never quite be “proportional.” Because nothing ever truly is.

The FBI also plans to release new data on police use of force this summer. Will that change conversation? Without essential context being added by a cowed media and overly cautious academy, that new and important conversation remains in doubt.

Bottom line: The black-white use-of-force disparities will continue as long as the violent crime disparities continue.

End of Midsummer Update to this May 30 Post. Thanks for Reading.



David Shuey

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