Home / Blue Privilege / Peer Reviewed Study Shows Cops Kill Black People at 3 Times the Rate of their White Counterparts

Peer Reviewed Study Shows Cops Kill Black People at 3 Times the Rate of their White Counterparts

Directly contradicting a widely-publicized Harvard study, an investigation by Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health Professor James W. Buehler found black Americans are three times more likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts.

Although Buehler’s study disputes the controversial Harvard findings, the exponentially higher death rate for minorities at the hands of police aligns with a number of other studies of the subject.

Philly.com reports:

“Using data from 2010 to 2014, Buehler calculated that African Americans had died at a rate of 6.8 per million residents, markedly higher than the white rate of 2.5.  The Hispanic rate, 4.1, was between the figures for blacks and whites.”

Buehler’s analysis, published in the January edition of the American Journal of Public Health, found that, between 2010 and 2014, police killed around 450 people each year, mostly males — although independent organizations tracking such deaths found numbers significantly higher.

Telling of the issue of police violence in itself, the fact the number of people cops kill isn’t known stands at the heart of the issue — particularly as public debate rages over whether or not blacks are victims more often than whites.

“I wanted to put out this reminder that there are important disparities,” the professor, who served as Philadelphia’s health commissioner from 2014 to 2016, told Philly.com.

While Buehler found the higher rate of death by police for African Americans, the widely-circulated Harvard study by economist Roland G. Fryer, Jr., received the bulk of attention from politicians and law enforcement advocates — largely because no discrepancy in the rate of death was found.

But Fryer only analyzed the albeit markedly thorough data provided by a single city — Houston, Texas. As Philly.com explains:

“A frequent collaborator on projects examining race with Freakonomics author Steven Levitt, Fryer determined that though officers were more prone to use nonlethal force against black citizens, there was no evidence of racial bias in deadly encounters that had been precipitated by specific events.  Indeed, Fryer wrote that in Houston, African Americans were nearly 24 percent less likely to be shot at by police than whites were.”

However, despite access to unusually detailed information, Fryer examined only specific types of encounters between police and the public — those in which cops resorted to lethal force after being summoned to the scene of an aggravated assault, for example — and did not include incidents resulting from routine traffic stops and the like.

Considering the number of highly controversial deaths by police in such incidents occurring in otherwise routine situations — for example, the fatal shooting of Philando Castile near St. Paul, Minnesota, where the aftermath was captured on live video by his girlfriend — the omission is a glaring one that likely decidedly skewed Fryer’s findings.

Studying a single city, Buehler noted of the Harvard report would also not present an accurate picture of a national problem — though access to equivalent information elsewhere is nearly impossible to obtain.

Buehler emphasized to Philly.com that, despite the sizable differences in their findings, he saw no conflict between his and Fryer’s analyses.

“I don’t think [Fryer] got anything wrong,” the professor explained, “I thought what he did was ask a very specific question, and the answer was misinterpreted and misunderstood.”

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Further, the war on drugs and inexplicable continuance earlier this year of the Drug Enforcement Agency-led prohibition on cannabis — recently unjustifiably expanded to include non-psychoactive but medicinal CBD oil — leads to an untold and as-yet not thoroughly examined number of deaths by police each year.

Seeing this disparity should come as no surprise as the war on drugs was created to target black people. In fact, when looking at who suffers most from the drug war, it is the black community as they also receive far harsher penalties for the same ‘crimes’ as their white counterparts.

In a March report, in Harper’s Magazine, written by Dan Baum, John Daniel Ehrlichman, counsel and domestic policy chief to President Richard Nixon, came clean on the real reason behind the war on drugs — to criminalize blacks and hippies.

According to Baum, he tracked down Ehrlichman in 1994 at his engineering firm in Atlanta, Georgia.

“You want to know what this was really all about?” Ehrlichman bluntly asked Baum of the war on drugs. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

As former Congressman Ron Paul pointed out prior to the revelation admitted by Ehrlichman and the recent Colorado report;

[Black peope] are tried and imprisoned disproportionately. They suffer the consequence of the death penalty disproportionately. Rich white people don’t get the death penalty very often. And most of these are victimless crimes. Sometimes people can use drugs and get arrested three times and never committed a violent act and they can go to prison for life. I think there’s discrimination in the system, but you have to address the drug war. I would say the judicial system is probably one of the worst places where prejudice and discrimination still exists in this country.

Indisputably, the atmosphere in the United States has tensed considerably as large swaths of the population fear police and attempt to avoid interactions at all costs, as the moment an officer decides to employ deadly force seems not to have rhyme or reason.

Chuck Wexler, of the Police Executive Research Forum, currently works with police to reform use-of-force policies and develop better techniques of de-escalation to avoid having to employ force whenever possible. Wexler told NPR,

“How many cases [resulting in violence or death] would have been prevented when someone is obviously getting upset and losing their cool, if another officer had said, ‘Hey, step back, let me take over?’ That’s what you need — cool heads to prevail in.”

For black Americans, hearing Buehler’s findings they are three times as likely to be killed by police than whites might seem a tragic confirmation of what has been denied by law enforcement and police advocates — but for there to be a rate of killings by police at all is more telling of the magnitude of an apparently complex problem.

Unofficial tallies of the dead paint a bloody picture of American policing in 2016, as the Washington Post’s Fatal Force puts the total killed, as of publication of this article, at 940, and the Guardian’s The Counted lists 1,045 — but the true number of fatalities caused by police is likely far higher.

  • F.w.u.f.f.y.

    Black Americans are far more likely to commit crimes in the first place. They’re also far more likely to commit crimes against each other, and against whites than vice-versa. Ask why that is the case and you’ll be getting closer to the root of the problem.

    • Phillip Textor

      No, they are not. The primary indicator of crime is drug use. Blacks use drugs at 1.1 times the rate of whites. In real numbers, if 10 whites use drugs in a certain population, 11 blacks will use drugs. So, there is no justification for the use of force. Cops will charge a black for a crime that he would let go with a white. Or would charge them with a more serious crime than the white person. Do some homework.

      • F.w.u.f.f.y.

        I’m talking about violent crime, not drugs. All drugs should be decriminalized.

    • TOPDOG1

      Quite true. Factor in that black on white crime, murder assault, rape, etc is twenty five times higher. Further factor the far disproportionate homicide rate for black on black crime, the picture begins to take focus..

  • Ed
    • European≠Nationality/Ethnicity

      2 separate issues.

  • doucyet

    Did the “peer review study” take into consideration the numbers of blacks that assault officers during arrest as compared to whites? The number of fleeing felons BvsW after a stop? It’s just my opinion (and observation) that the incidents leading up to a shooting are more likely escalated by blacks than whites. I could be wrong about that, I haven’t seen that study………..

    • Elle

      Your comment reminded me of the case about a week back where two cops were shot by a black man who was stopped and he shot the cops. The video is available. He had his hand in his pocket and pulled out a gun and used it. The cops hesitated instead of shooting him. They got shot.

    • Phillip Textor

      Yes, you are wrong.

      • doucyet

        It did take those things into consideration, good. That’s why they are killed more than whites………

  • This is divisive reporting … Simple questions for all people of all groups shot by police.
    1.Was there a report (or did the police observe) the victim breaking the law.
    2. Did victim immediately follow all commands that was given by the police.
    3. Did the victim act in any aggressive manner or speech when confronted.
    4. Did the victim have any previous conflicts with law enforcement that the officer knew about.
    5. Did that victim have a similar appearance to another felon so that the victim may have been wrongly associated with another.

    How ould you have reacted … would you like to be a police officer?

    • Phillip Textor

      There have been several cases where the cops approached the person and they did not have any legal justification for a stop. They proceeded with an illegal stop and the subject was shot and killed. The cops have a pre-disposed “fear” that they use to justify force, and that fear is not legitimate. Check out the Dillon Taylor shooting. the cops had no reasonable suspicion or probable cause to even stop the three men, much less approach them with guns drawn and order them to the ground. yet, the DA called the shooting justified. the cops were wrong, they killed an innocent man, yet nothing was done to the cops since their interpretation of “fear” is there to protect them at the expense of the lives and liberty of the public.

  • Elle

    I am not a police advocate by any means but peer review doesn’t mean shit to me. Many so called peer reviewed studies on sex trafficking and prostitution amount to a load of bullshit for instance. And boy do I mean BULLSHIT. Peer review equates to bunk these days. ‘Studies’ are too often used to forward agendas rather than reveal the truth. Let’s look at this study and what the data group consisted of. Did it look deeply into each individual case with a fine tooth comb? Taking into account the circumstances of each case? How many cases involved someone caught committing a crime- having a weapon- who was unarmed and who wasn’t, etc etc etc

    This is just more derailing of an important discussion. It becomes an issue about ethnicity instead of an issue about police abuses- the majority of which I would wager are not reported and don’t involve shootings.

  • Elle

    Years back I dated a cop for a brief time. Used to refer to it as ‘my kinky stage’ (inside joke). He was an LAPD cop before he was a Tulsa cop (when I met him).

    He opened my eyes regarding ‘profiling’.

    Skin color is hardly the primary, let alone exclusive means of profiling. Based on my personal experience and that of many friends and family members over the years, he was right on the money.

    At the time I drove an old beat up 67 ford falcoln. He said: “you need to get a nicer newer car. When officers see your car (including himself normally he said) they will think you aren’t making good life choices and therefore are likely up to no good. Once they pull you over and see that you smoke cigarettes, they’ll realize you’re addicted to nicotine and therefore you’re likely addicted to other substances, likely illegal substances and will want to search your vehicle”.

    He wasn’t joking. I was constantly pulled over and it got to the point I feared leaving my home! That was in Tulsa Oklahoma. I live in Colorado now and the difference has been amazing. I still get nervous when I visit Oklahoma even though I now have a better vehicle.

    Though I was pulled over in Denver at gunpoint back in 2012. My vehicle was in the middle of being registered and had a paper tag. The address for the paper tag was based in another city next to Denver (30 minutes away) and I was driving downtown Denver.

    The cop had no reason to pull me over other than he ran the paper tag and thought I may have stolen my own vehicle because I was driving downtown Denver (his explanation)! He had his gun drawn when he approached me and yelled at me to place both my hands on the steering wheel. This was the second time in my life I had a cop point a loaded weapon at me. So much for my white privilege card, it must have expired. This incident wasn’t reported.

    My current (and white) boyfriend made an illegal u-turn about a year back and the cop who pulled him over was screaming the second he got out of his vehicle and had his gun drawn pointed at my boyfriend! Over a damn u-turn!! This incident wasn’t reported.

    My impoverished brother lives in Oklahoma and doesn’t drive a vehicle, he rides a bike. Day and night.

    Cops harass him constantly- because after all, a man on a bike at night must be up to no good! The first time they stopped him years back they searched him and found some marijuana. That has led to constant harassment and my brother is now a debt Slave to Oklahoma in the form of fines, court fees. if the fees aren’t paid they lead to bench warrants which lead to more court fees and fines. One incident over marijuana turns into a long list of failure to pays and fines added upon fines added upon fees and fines. Marijuana and failure to pay is what his ‘criminal record’ consists of. He’s a revenue source.

    Let’s face it. Poverty has been criminalized.

    I’ve already posted here several times about the TWO times I’ve had unwarranted cavity searches (two states 16 years apart) so I’ll spare anyone reading this post those stories but I didn’t report either incident of state sponsored sexual violations.

    Maybe we just forgot to get our white privilege cards updated?? Maybe this stuff rarely happens to whites I guess me, my friends and family members are just ‘lucky’?

    Nope. Not going for that.
    The issue of police abuses is far more complex than any of the ethnicity based narratives allow for.

  • European≠Nationality/Ethnicity

    LOL so far this comment section is full of defensive, presumably non-black people. Denial on level 9000 up in this bihhhh

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