On The Steve Harvey Morning Show Tuesday, Hillary Clinton spoke about "systemic racism" in light of the Terence Crutcher shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
CNN reports that after Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby arrived at the scene of a stopped vehicle, she encountered Terence Crutcher. He allegedly wouldn't answer her questions about the car, and didn't get on his knees when ordered to do so. Instead, Crutcher walked back to his vehicle with his hands up.
Video footage appears to show Crutcher reaching into his driver's side window, corroborating Officer Shelby's account. When that happened, Shelby shot and killed Crutcher.
Speaking with Harvey, Clinton said something incredibly
obtuse insightful about the incident:
"This horrible shooting again. How many times do we have to see this in our country?...And maybe I can, by speaking directly to white people, say, 'Look, this is not who we are'...We have got to do everything possible to improve policing, to go right at implicit bias."
Boy, did Twitter have stuff to say about that:
@WalshFreedom she's been speaking to 'whites' all along. She's offensive to me and all law enforcement.— Linda C. Rodriguez (@LindaRodriguez3) September 20, 2016
They seem to think each group holds meetings and designates a union rep to speak on their behalf.— Chad Felix Greene (@chadfelixg) September 20, 2016
'Hillary spoke to white people'
“We gotta tackle the systemic racism, this horrible shooting again.." Hillary judging before the facts are in. https://t.co/CYhqtqEVIS— James Lea (@jimwlea) September 20, 2016
Do police officers have "implicit bias," as Clinton suggests? Even more to the point, was the Crutcher shooting an example of that? Let's look at some numbers.
Roland G. Fryer, an African American Economics Professor at Harvard, recently conducted a study on police conduct as it relates to various races. He and his colleagues spent more than 3,000 hours analyzing data from ten cities, spanning the years 2000 - 2015, and came to what he describes as "the most surprising result of my career."
According to The New York Times, when Fryer looked at police records for the city of Houston, which allowed him an in-depth analysis, he found that the city's police "were about 20 percent less likely to shoot if the suspects were black. This estimate was not precise, and firmer conclusions would require more data. But in various models controlling for different factors and using different definitions of tense situations, Mr. Fryer found that blacks were either less likely to be shot or there was no difference between blacks and whites."
According to Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute, evidence of implicit bias among white police officers is, at best, lacking:
"A March 2015 Justice Department report on the Philadelphia Police Department found that black and Hispanic officers were much more likely than white officers to shoot blacks based on 'threat misperception'—that is, the mistaken belief that a civilian is armed."
Mac Donald also notes that FBI data show an extremely high percentage of cop killers (40%) have been black. She writes that while blacks represent just 13% of the population, they "make up 26% of the police-shooting victims."
Those percentages, she says, don't indicate racial bias because "according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, blacks were charged with 62% of all robberies, 57% of murders and 45% of assaults in the 75 largest U.S. counties in 2009, though they made up roughly 15% of the population there."
This being the case, the police are simply more likely to encounter black assailants, and thus more likely to use force on them.
There are certainly instances in which white police officers have unjustly taken the life of an African American, as in the case of Walter Scott. However, the flagship case used by groups like Black Lives Matter (BLM), the Michael Brown shooting, has been thoroughly debunked.
Moreover, even in the Oklahoma case, video footage appears to corroborate the officer's account that when Terence Crutcher approached his vehicle, he reached into the driver's side window as if to grab something. Though it turns out he was indeed unarmed, until more details come to light, accurate judgment calls cannot, and should not, be made.
Yet, Hillary Clinton, in her need to pander to groups like BLM, is making baseless claims.