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October 17th, 2017

Insight

White cops victimizing black youth? Not quite

Jack Kelly

By Jack Kelly

Published Dec. 9, 2014

Upheaval in Ferguson.

Jermaine Jones, 29, was gunned down in the street on the outskirts of Ferguson, Mo., Oct. 18, a few hours after his sister, Margaree Dixson, 35, had been shot half a mile away.

If this is the first you’ve heard about these murders, it’s because their killers also were black.

“Black deaths matter only if the killer is a white cop,” said Italian journalist Enza Ferrerri.

Which doesn’t happen very often. Of 1,265 murder victims in St. Louis between 2003 and 2012, 1,138 (89.9 percent) were black, according to University of Missouri-St. Louis criminologist David Klinger, a former police officer.

About 90 percent of the black decedents (1,025) were slain by other blacks, his research indicates. Thirty-two were killed by police officers, 22 (1.93 percent) by white cops.

Between 1976 and 2011 across the United States, 7,982 blacks were murdered each year, on average — 94 percent by other blacks, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. About 227 blacks (2.8 percent) were shot by police each year, according to a study by Pro Publica (which pointed out that national statistics on police shootings are difficult to assess because of differences in how police departments report them).

The use of excessive force by police isn’t unheard of, so if a consequence of the news media’s obsession with the shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson Aug. 9 is more widespread use of bodycams by police, that would be good.

But to assert that racially motivated shootings by police are commonplace and that this was one of them undermines the rule of law and “fans racial discord,” said Milwaukee County (Wis.) Sheriff David Clarke, who is black.

Young black males are 21 times more likely to be shot dead by police than are young white males, Pro Publica said. But because more than two-thirds of police officers are white and blacks commit about half of violent crimes, it stands to reason most police shootings would involve a white cop and a black suspect.

Blacks also are more likely than whites, Hispanics or Asians to resist arrest, according to Heather McDonald of the Manhattan Institute.

Black cops have shot black suspects at essentially the same rate as white cops have, Prof. Klinger’s data indicate. No statistical evidence supports the charge that white cops routinely abuse black suspects. But the question is: Did Officer Wilson use excessive force against Michael Brown?

“What the grand jury had, that the rest of us did not have until the grand jury’s decision was announced, was a set of physical facts that told a story that was independent of what anybody said,” wrote economist Thomas Sowell, who is black. “Moreover, the physical facts were consistent with what a number of black witnesses said under oath, despite expressing fears for their own safety for contradicting what those in the rampaging mobs were saying.”

Despite this, liberal journalists on the “Meet the Press” program last Sunday were aghast when National Review’s Rich Lowry said the lesson of Ferguson was “don’t fight with a policeman when he stops you and try to take his gun.”

Even if Officer Wilson had been wearing a bodycam, it wouldn’t have mattered to journalists “too invested in the white-racism morality play to let facts — even videotaped facts — get in the way,” said Mona Charen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

More despicable are those journalists who made excuses for violence after the grand jury refused to indict Officer Wilson for a crime it was clear he didn’t commit. Those who looted (mostly black-owned) businesses and burned down a black church aren’t “protesters” who were “trying to make their voices heard.” They’re criminals.

The victims in Ferguson are the law-abiding people in the majority black community who’ve lost their businesses, their jobs and convenient places to shop due to mob violence. Among their victimizers are the Obama administration and much of the national news media.

“If the history of other communities ravaged by riots in years past is any indication, there are blacks yet unborn who will be paying the price of these riots for years to come,” Mr. Sowell wrote.

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration.

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