Political scientist Wilfred Reilly said during an interview with Daily Caller’s Brianna Lyman that racism doesn’t play a substantial role in police shootings.
Data from NPR found since 2015, 135 unarmed black Americans have been killed by police, which translates to approximately 27 people per year, although some years could differ. Approximately a quarter occurred during traffic stops, according to the report.
Among individuals who identify as “very liberal,” 53.5% believed that in 2019 1,000 or more unarmed black men were killed by police, the Skeptic Research Center found. (RELATED: Bodycam Footage Shows Police Fatally Shooting Mentally Ill Man Armed With Gun After Standoff)
Available data, however, shows in 2019 approximately 13 unarmed black men were fatally shot by police while 27 unarmed black men were killed by police by any means, according to The Washington Post and Mapping Political Violence respectively.
“I think there are two narratives here. The first is, is there an overrepresentation of black people or of African Americans among police shooting victims at all?” Reilly said.
Reilly noted there are thousands of police interactions daily, with data from Stanford estimating 50,000 individuals are pulled over on a typical day, which translates to approximately 20 million motorists each year.
“Your chances of being killed by the cops as a law-abiding white or black citizen is minuscule. There are people that argue that while that is disproportionate,” Reilly said, noting black Americans make up approximately 13% of the population but account for roughly 28% of police shootings.
“The problem with this [claim] is that it looks just at raw population percentage, you could say, rather than at who lives in large cities or commits crime or is otherwise likely to encounter police.”
“I guess you could kind of truffle hunt for racism … but the reality is that adjusting for differences in behavior between white and black Americans, to me … largely eliminates the disproportion between white and black shooting victims.”
The Bureau of Justice Statistics found that in 2018 “white and black people were arrested proportionate to their involvement in serious nonfatal violent crime overall and proportionate to their involvement in serious nonfatal violent crime reported to police.”
The data also found black people were “overrepresented among offenders in nonfatal violent crimes overall (29%) relative to their share of the U.S. population (13%).”
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