In 2012, according to the CDC, 140 blacks were killed by police. That same year 386 whites were killed by police. Over the 13-year period from 1999 to 2011, the CDC reports that 2,151 whites were killed by cops — and 1,130 blacks were killed by cops.
Police shootings, nationwide, are down dramatically from what they were 20 or 30 years ago. The CDC reported that in 1968, shootings by law enforcement — called “legal intervention” by the CDC — was the cause of death for 8.6 out of every million blacks. For whites the rate was was .9 deaths per million.
By 2011, law enforcement shootings caused 2.74 deaths for every million blacks, and 1.28 deaths for every million whites. While the death-by-cop rate for whites has held pretty steady over these last 45 years, hovering just above or below the one-in-a-million level, the rate for blacks has fallen. In 1981, black deaths by cop stood at four in a million, but since 2000 has remained just above or below two in a million.
So what’s driving this notion that there is now an “epidemic” of white cops shooting blacks when in the last several decades the numbers of blacks killed by cops are down nearly 75 percent?
Where’s the evidence suggesting race had anything to do with the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, who was pointing a pellet gun at bystanders before being shot and killed by police?
What’s the racial nexus to the death of Eric Gardner, the large, obese man who died after being taken down by several NYPD cops?
While the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case became another racial thermometer of America, the jury found Zimmerman not guilty, and several jurors later said that during jury deliberations “race never came up.”
The Ferguson, Missouri, shooting of Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson is yet another case where there is absolutely no evidence that whatever happened occurred because of Michael Brown’s race. Did officer Wilson display racial animus? Does anyone know if this officer Wilson had some racist background? With the desire by media for a scalp, such information would have long ago been made public by somebody.
This white-cop-out-to-get-black-civilian narrative advances the interest of many. The media loves what Tom Wolfe called the “Great White Defendant” — a bad white guy everybody can agree to dislike. For the Democrats, it furthers their assertion that race remains a major problem in America, that Republicans/tea partiers/black conservatives are out to get them, and you must vote for us. For “activists” like the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and local wannabes, it gives them continued relevance.
That this “epidemic” is imaginary can be demonstrated by the recent stories that never became national news.
In Mobile, Alabama, a black cop shot and killed an unarmed white teenager. As with Michael Brown, the Alabama teen was later found to have been under the influence of marijuana at the time of the shooting. The teen had also recently taken a hallucinogen, and was so stoned he thought he was on fire ?- and literally took his clothes off. Nude — and obviously unarmed — he was still later shot by the cop. Despite public pressure, a Mobile grand jury decided not to indict the black police officer, believing he acted in self-defense. Not national news.
In Salt Lake City, Utah, just two days after Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, a “not white” cop shot and killed an unarmed 20-year-old man whose race has been described as Hispanic. The family of the dead man believes that the cop is a murderer. Not national news.
In Pennsylvania, a state trooper named Kelly Cruz was accused in 2009 of stomping on the head of a handcuffed suspect laying on the ground, resulting in facial fractures, a broken nose and damaged teeth. The trooper, at the time, was attached to a local drug task force and was part of a raid on a suspected meth lab. One of the men inside escaped during the raid, and the victim — who, according to another officer, was seen running from the scene and found five houses away — was thought to be the meth lab escapee. Turns out the victim was not a meth lab escapee. The local grand jury decided not to indict the trooper. The feds, however, filed civil rights charges against the cop. He was found not guilty by the federal jury. Not national news.
It is rare for a cop to shoot and kill any civilian. Excluding practice on the gun range, 95 percent of officers never discharge their firearm while in the line of duty, including those who work for big-city departments. The first time — and only time — officer Darren Wilson used his firearm while on duty was in the Michael Brown case. The facts do not support the narrative that there is an epidemic of white cops shooting unarmed blacks.
We are being manipulated.
Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host.