The Narrative has Become Racist

This essay is about George Floyd being killed by an arresting police officer in Minneapolis, MN on May 25th.  Three fellow officers observed without interfering.  All four officers were dismissed and Derek Chauvin is under arrest to be charged with Second Degree Murder.  

I begin my narrative with some significant research on the subject of police use of deadly force.  The more frequently police encounter possibly violent persons, the number of persons fatally shot by police will be proportional to their respective racial group. This observation is not unique to current events; it has been so for decades.  The most recent confirmation is The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, August, 2019.  Research by Harvard University economist Roland G. Fryer found no evidence of racial discrimination in shootings in a report for  the Department of Justice of the Philadelphia Police Department (2015). Also, white police officers were less likely than black or Hispanic officers to shoot unarmed black suspects. 

In a June 1 Washington Post opinion column Catherine Rampell wrote, “In the United States last year, police shot and killed more than 1,000 people; by comparison, across England and Wales, fewer than 100 died in police shootings over the past two decades.”  What Ms. Rampell failed to note is that England and Wales have a population of about 59 million and the United States nearly 330 million.  British police are overwhelmingly unarmed.  

On Chicago’s West Side, four neighborhoods – Humboldt Park, Austin, East and West Garfield Park — in 2018 counted 121 killings.  These are not police killings, but resident-against-resident.  Baltimore’s Western and Southwestern police districts, having a smaller population than Chicago’s four neighborhoods by about one-half and had 100 homicides the same year.  

In 2018, police discharged their firearms an estimated 3,043 times, killing 992 people. The estimated number of police officers in 2018 is 686,665 full-time.  They were involved in 10.3 million arrests (in 2015).  That estimates to more than five contacts with the public for each arrest, or 50 million.  This infers that, at most, police applied deadly force with a firearm in just 0.003 percent of arrests.  

Today’s politics provide proof of the aphorism that “talk is cheap, and whiskey costs money.” You can get more than enough accusations of racism against the President and most of his cabinet every day of the week. Where does it come from?  It begins with the Obama-era narrative that law enforcement is endemically racist.  The former president recently tweeted that for millions of black Americans, being treated differently by the criminal justice system on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly normal, and he called on the police and public to create a ‘new normal,’ in which bigotry no longer “infects our institutions and our hearts.” Joe Biden then released a video the same day asserting all African-Americans fear for their safety from “bad police” and black children must be instructed to tolerate police abuse just so they can “make it home.”  That is a repeat of Mr. Obama’s claim after the ambush murder of five Dallas officers in July 2016; African-American parents were right to fear that their children may be killed by police officers.  I remember during World War II, I often heard a narrative from the government in the news that “loose lips, sink ships.” It referred to not speaking about shipping and troop transport movements to aid attack by Nazi submarines off the Atlantic coast.  The Obama narrative continues.  He must think it is worthwhile. June 3, 2020