Now that former police officer Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murder in the arrest of a back man. People want to know if U.S. law enforcement has a racial bias against blacks.
Hours after disgraced policeman Derek Chauvin was led away in handcuffs, two Presidents of the United States, one current and one former, thematically connected his gross misconduct as a police officer to the problem of racism.
But do the facts support that connection?
In one year. 2020. They do not.
According to the Washington Post there were 465 people shot and killed by police in 2020. Of those 185 were white and 97 were black.
In other words, white victims outnumbered black victims by nearly 2:1. At least, according to the Washington Post. If police were targeting blacks over whites. That fact is not reflected in the statistics for that one year.
That is not to say that U. S. law enforcement doesn’t have big problems overall with the killing of civilians.
In 2020, the established publication Politico examined police forces around the world. Their focus: during the past year which countries had the best and worst records when it comes to police involvement leading to the death of citizens. This includes the time of arrest and initial custody in jail.
Japan had the best record. Zero deaths. The U. S. the worst with 1,042. In the U.K. there were three.
Politico cited statistics from a group called the Prison Policy Initiative. That group examined the number of people killed worldwide by law enforcement per 10 million people.
These were their findings:
The Netherlands 2.3
New Zealand 2.0
England and Wales 0.5
Politico cited possible reasons for the huge numbers in the U. S. . They included the large number of firearms carried by police in the U. S as compared to many other countries.; the large number of firearms available to the public in the U. S.; stepped up efforts to control drug trafficking; and something called “qualified legal immunity”. It essentially allows police more latitude in aggressively solving crimes and pursuing suspects. A final contributing factor for the high incidence of death pointed to the lack of de-escalation training available to U. S. police force compared to other countries.
The statistical evidence overwhelmingly shows that the most dangerous place to be arrested by law enforcement is the United States.
But do the statistics on the lethality of arrests suggest a bias against blacks? If you look at the year 2020. The answer is no.