If you still harbor any of those sparkly, rainbow, magic unicorn poop delusions of racism being a thing of the past, this grim new statistic should give you a cold, bracing ice bucket challenge full of reality. A shocking new study from Propublica reveals: Young, black males in America are 21 TIMES more likely to get shot and killed by police than white males.
That’s right. Black males are 21 times more likely to get murdered by police. Twenty. One. TIMES. More likely.
ProPublica’s risk analysis on young males killed by police certainly seems to support what has been an article of faith in the African-American community for decades: Blacks are being killed at disturbing rates when set against the rest of the American population.
No wonder beloved right-wing icon Ronald Reagan famously said, “Facts are stupid things.” Unfortunately for all those totally-not-racist conservatives out there, reality does have an unfair liberal bias.
Furthermore, the grinds over at Propublica have gathered and pored over more than three decades worth of “police homicide” data, from 1980-2012:
Our examination involved detailed accounts of more than 12,000 police homicides stretching from 1980 to 2012 contained in the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Report. The data, annually self-reported by hundreds of police departments across the country, confirms some assumptions, runs counter to others, and adds nuance to a wide range of questions about the use of deadly police force.
Furthermore, this data doesn’t even tell the whole story: Many more police executions of black males go unreported.
The data, for instance, is terribly incomplete. Vast numbers of the country’s 17,000 police departments don’t file fatal police shooting reports at all, and many have filed reports for some years but not others. Florida departments haven’t filed reports since 1997 and New York City last reported in 2007. Information contained in the individual reports can also be flawed. Still, lots of the reporting police departments are in larger cities, and at least 1000 police departments filed a report or reports over the 33 years.
Police aren’t only murdering black males.
But, before the rest of us non-black male Americans get complacent, we need to take a long, hard look at the militarization of police across our nation. Police are killing plenty of other people, too. The Propublica study also uncovered a host of other disturbing facts, including:
- 41 of those killed by police from 1980-2012 were terrifyingly young — 14 years old and younger: 27 blacks, eight whites, fourHispanics, and one Asian.
- White police officers were responsible for 91 percent of whites murdered by police and 68 percent of people of color murdered by police.
- Black officers only accounted for 10 percent of police shootings, but 78percent of those they killed were black.
- 44 percent of those shot by police were white.
- The average age of those murdered by police was 30 for blacks and 35 for whites.
- In 1980-1984, only 33 percent of police officers said they shot to kill because they were “under attack”. Twenty years later, in 2000-2004, this rationale for murder jumped to 62 percent.