Some may argue that there is a rise in police brutality towards blacks since the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Members of the Black Lives Matter movement believe that police officers are specifically targeting black men during routine traffic stops or for other reasons. Heather MacDonald compiled a list of statistics that may prove this argument to be wrong in a sense. Data shows that in 2015, nearly twice as many whites were killed than blacks. Fifty percent of fatal police shootings occur amongst the white population, while nearly half of that makes up the percent of blacks involved in fatal shootings. A majority of the victims that were fatally shot by police were either wielding a weapon or threatening to harm a police officer. It is a right as law enforcement to utilize your weapon when you feel threatened by any situation. Sadly, with racism still alive and well, one may look at this as an act of racism towards blacks, being that a majority of white cops are fatally shooting blacks.
A study conducted in New York City states that blacks make up about seventy-five percent of all shootings, seventy percent of robberies, and sixty-six percent of other violent crimes (Bandler 1). With a black man being more likely to commit a crime than a white man, it is evident that a police officer would act out of self-defense if the situation raises any suspicions. Police were most often interacting in black neighborhoods when the use of force has occurred. The use of the term “unarmed” has also been thrown around several times when discussing the topic of police brutality. Members of Black Lives Matter are quick to say being that the man was unarmed, it should be deemed a wrongful and unjust killing. Like stated before, a member of law enforcement may act when threatened by a suspect, which includes the use of a weapon. In most of the reports stated by the police, it is said that the suspect either grabbed the officer’s weapon or struck them with some other kind of object.
One last statistic that MacDonald stated was that blacks are actually more likely to kill cops than them actually being killed by cops. FBI data shows that forty percent of suspects of fatal cop shootings are in fact black. It is a little over eighteen times more likely for an armed black man to kill a police officer or for an unarmed black man to wound and potentially kill a police officer. According to the Department of Justice, it is actually more likely for a black or Hispanic police officer to fatally shoot a black man. With the idea of blacks being a more upfront and violent race, it is 3 times more likely for a black man to shoot a gun. Professor David Kennedy, who is the director of the National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, stated that “You hurt people who are a lot like you. That’s how it works (Kennedy 2).” Black on black crime has become a more apparent issue and should be incorporated into the idea of fatal police shootings.
With frequent media coverage and outraged citizens, law enforcement has evidently and unconsciously decided to back off on patrolling black neighborhoods in fear of being labeled as a racist. Heather MacDonald describes this phenomenon as the “Ferguson effect”. Violence, especially black on black crime, has increased since the second half of 2014 (MacDonald). The rise of the crime rate has caused numerous amounts of emergency meetings to ensure law enforcement is able to handle the current issue. Record shows that after the shooting of Michael Brown, there were less than a third of arrests made in that year.
Members of the Black Lives Matter movement are strong believers of the anti-police view. This stigma has created the opposite effect of what was actually trying to be achieved in this circumstance. There are too many incidences for it to go unnoticed. These members should work with law enforcement to better the rising crime rate and police brutality in America.