Myths/police abuse is not racially biased
|Myth: Police abuse is not biased by race.|
There is a common claim that white people are abused by the police just as often as nonwhite people, and therefore groups such as Black Lives Matter are just a creation of the media or an attempt to get special treatment for nonwhite people.
Look at the numbers of people of all races killed in police confrontations. You'll notice that the numbers of people actually killed by police are far more evenly spread among the races than what the media portrays. Blacks get almost all of the media's attention. A white guy who is killed by police is lucky if it's reported locally. Black guy, nationally.
- 2016-07-07 5 Statistics You Need To Know About Cops Killing Blacks "1. Cops killed nearly twice as many whites as blacks in 2015. [...] 2. More whites and Hispanics die from police homicides than blacks." (This article's claims need to be broken down individually.)
- 2015-04-21 Police kill more whites than blacks, but minority deaths generate more outrage "Adjusted to take into account the racial breakdown of the U.S. population, he said black men are 3.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white men. But also adjusted to take into account the racial breakdown in violent crime, the data actually show that police are less likely to kill black suspects than white ones."
- These claims are ostensibly derived from the Killed by Police web site, which is itself derived solely from media reports -- undercutting the "media-induced bias" theory.
In encounters with police, black and hispanic people are more likely to be handled forcefully.
- 2016-08-09 Justice Department to Release Blistering Report of Racial Bias by Baltimore Police "The Justice Department has found that the Baltimore Police Department for years has hounded black residents who make up most of the city’s population, systematically stopping, searching and arresting them, often with little provocation or rationale."
- 2016-07 An Empirical Analysis of Racial Differences in Police Use of Force (PDF) (abstract) "On non-lethal uses of force, blacks and Hispanics are more than fifty percent more likely to experience some form of force in interactions with police. Adding controls that account for important context and civilian behavior reduces, but cannot fully explain, these disparities."
This doesn't directly address the question of the frequency of abuse, but when one group is physically accosted far more often than another, and we have numerous reports of clear abuse situations about the former and few to none about the latter – indeed, there are many reports in which white people behaved far more egregiously than many black people who were killed by police – it seems likely that abuse follows the overall trend.
If it does not, then the disparity in reporting needs to be documented. That is, we need to see a catalog of police reports in which there are a large number contradicting this trend – i.e. showing incidents in which white suspects were abused and/or nonwhite suspects were handled carefully and responsibly – that were not widely reported.