This Researcher’s Findings Contradict the Police Lethal Force Bias Against Blacks Narrative

To rational people, it makes sense that because young black men commit violent crime at a disproportionate rate, they face more police scrutiny.

More interaction increases the risk of deadly consequences for the criminal and the cop.

But researcher Roland Fryer recently released the results of a study that go against the narrative that the police are more likely to kill blacks.

Fryer’s data show that while blacks are more likely to experience non-lethal force, they’re less likely to experience lethal force. From the New York Times:

The result contradicts the image of police shootings that many Americans hold after the killings (some captured on video) of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.; Tamir Rice in Cleveland; Walter Scott in South Carolina; Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La.; and Philando Castile in Minnesota.

The counterintuitive results provoked debate after the study was posted on Monday, mostly about the volume of police encounters and the scope of the data. Mr. Fryer emphasizes that the work is not the definitive analysis of police shootings, and that more data would be needed to understand the country as a whole. This work focused only on what happens once the police have stopped civilians, not on the risk of being stopped at all. Other research has shown that blacks are more likely to be stopped by the police.

Naturally, it’s not what some people want to hear.

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