I have already made the case that systemic racism in law enforcement is a myth. The claim that racist police are prowling the street searching for black men to murder is absurd on its face, and even absurder when you look at the facts. It is by now well publicized — at least in some corners — that, despite all of the panicking and rioting over race-based police brutality, only a very small number of unarmed black men are killed by police each year. But an even closer look at the data, and a study of each “unarmed” killing, reveals that the real number of unjustified police shootings of actual unarmed people — black, white, or any other race — is much smaller still.
First, to put the statistics into perspective, it’s helpful to begin with the overall number of arrests. According to the DOJ, police make about 10 million arrests each year. As a rough average, 7 million of the arrested suspects are white and 3 million are black. Out of that number, last year, 25 unarmed white people were killed by police, compared to 14 unarmed black people, according to the Washington Post database of police shootings. That means about .0004 percent of all blacks arrested were killed while unarmed. The percentage for whites is comparable. In total, 1,000 people were shot and killed by police in 2019, the vast majority of whom were armed. Still, that’s a mere .01 percent of all arrests.
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