Zac Kriegman had worked at Thomson Reuters for more than six years, most recently as a director of data scientists. Concerned with data and statistics, Kriegman and his team advised numerous other divisions within company.
But in 2020, Kriegman noticed changes within the company, with coworkers publishing numerous articles about “White Privilege” on the company’s internal collaboration platform. When the Black Lives Matter (BLM) riots broke out that summer, the platform was filled with support for the organization without any question as to the narrative being told about race in America.
“This concerned me. I had been following the academic research on BLM for years (for example, here, here, here and here), and I had come to the conclusion that the claim upon which the whole movement rested—that police more readily shoot black people—was false,” Kriegman wrote in an article published on Bari Weiss’ substack. “ The data was unequivocal. It showed that, if anything, police were slightly less likely to use lethal force against black suspects than white ones.”
Kriegman discovered that, based on a database of police shootings compiled by The Washington Post, police have fatally shot 39% more unarmed white people than black people in the past five years. BLM activists have insisted, however, that since there are six times as many white people in America as black people, police should be shooting 600% more. Anything less, Kriegman wrote, is evidence to the activists of police bias.
Kriegman suggested that such a comparison isn’t as accurate as comparing “Black suspects who pose a grave danger and white suspects who do the same,” but wrote that there isn’t reliable data for such a comparison. Instead, he used Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County Patrick Frey’s calculations based on FBI data that found “black Americans account for 37 percent of those who murder police officers, and 34 percent of the unarmed suspects killed by police. Meanwhile, whites make up 42.7 percent of cop killers and 42 percent of the unarmed suspects shot by police—meaning whites are killed by police at a 7 percent higher rate than blacks.”
Kriegman broadened the analysis to include armed suspects, finding that with those numbers included, whites are shot at a 70% higher rate than blacks. He then mentions the only study that looks at the rate at which police use lethal force across racial groups, conducted by Harvard economist Roland Fryer. Fryer, who is black, tried to prove BLM’s narrative in 2016, but ended up disproving it by finding that, while black Americans and Latinos may experience some amount of police force, they are slightly less likely to be shot by police than whites.
“Unfortunately, because the BLM narrative was now conventional wisdom, police departments, under intense scrutiny from left-wing politicians and activists, scaled back patrols in dangerous neighborhoods filled with vulnerable black residents. This led to soaring violence in many communities and thousands of needless deaths—otherwise known as the Ferguson Effect,” Kriegman wrote.
When he shared his findings on Thomson Reuters’ collaboration platform, he was met with vitriol by white coworkers who lobbed insults at him rather than provide “even a single substantive challenge to the facts I was citing.”
Kriegman wrote that his post was removed when he stated his concerns and told that if he discussed the issue on internal company communications channels, he would be fired. Without a resolution, Kriegman emailed colleagues and company leadership discussing the attacks. The next day he was told by Human Resources that he no longer had access to his company computer or communications systems. Three days after that, he was fired.
“A decade ago, my experience at Thomson Reuters would have been unthinkable. Most Americans probably think it’s still unthinkable. That’s what makes it so dangerous. Most of us don’t understand how deeply compromised our news sources have become. Most of us have no idea that we are suffused with fictions and half-truths that sound sort of believable and are shielded from scrutiny by people whose job is to challenge them. This is true, above all, of my fellow liberals, who assume that only Republicans complain about the mainstream media. But this is not a partisan issue. This is a We The People issue,” he wrote.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Kriegman worked for Reuters, the wire service, when he in fact worked for Thomson Reuters, the business information services company.