Cops are not the enemy

    Once again, the broadcast media is over-dramatizing an unfortunate event which occurred in Minneapolis where a white cop murdered an arrestee which was captured on video. No one is defending the cop’s improper and unjustified actions. No one.

    What is troubling is the media’s attempt to make this incident sound like a routine occurrence at the hands of racist police officers. The backlash this media event has created has now morphed into riots, major property damage, and local cities calling for the “defunding” of police departments. While this may sound like a solution to some people, those with greater sense realize that such a move would certainly be disastrous.
    In 2018, there were an estimated 10 million arrests effected by the nation’s 800,000 police officers. During those 10 million arrests there were 995 people shot and killed by police. Of these, 55 percent were white, 27 percent were black, and 19 percent Hispanic. In these police shootings, 90 percent of the suspects were armed with a weapon and 90 to 95 percent of the suspects were either attacking the police or another citizen.
    It is not systemic racism that makes it more likely that a person will be shot by the police. An individual’s behavior, not his race, is the determining factor. Several studies have shown that police officers of all races are statistically less likely to shoot a black suspect than a white suspect under the same circumstances.
    Another interesting statistic is how many “unarmed” suspects were killed by police last year. These could be cases where a suspect was reported to be armed but was later determined not to be or the suspect resisted arrest and fought with the officer for his weapon. In 2019 there were 28 such cases. Nineteen (19) of the suspects were white and nine (9) were black.
    A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) incorporating data about every officer involved shooting since 2015, revealed that the race of the officer had no correlation to the race of the suspect shot. If anything, the study showed that black officers were more likely to shoot black suspects than white officers.
    Contrary to what some televised media would have you believe the police are not the enemy and are not racist. Our local, county and state law enforcement officers receive annual, required training in racial sensitivity and are well-aware of the media’s attempt to paint them with a racist “broad brush.” Nothing could be further from the truth. All of our area law enforcement officers continue to perform their sworn duty professionally and without prejudice.
Bill Harlan
St. James