As of the June 22 update, the Washington Post’s database of fatal police shootings showed 14 unarmed Black victims and 25 unarmed white victims in 2019.
There are about 7,300 Black homicide victims a year. (*Eighty-nine percent of black victims are killed by black offenders, according to the FBI. Do those lives matter?) The 14 unarmed victims in fatal police shootings would comprise only 0.2% of that total. Does that sound like an epidemic of police murders?
Ideally, officers would never take anyone’s life in the course of their duties. But they make around 10 million arrests each year, and numerous deadly-weapons attacks are made on officers (an average of 27 per day in just two-thirds of the nation’s police departments, according to a 2014 analysis).
The percentage of Black respondents in a 2015 Gallup poll who wanted more police in their community was more than twice as high as the percentage of white respondents who said the same. Activists who seek to disband police departments will have to explain to these law-abiding residents that they will in essence just have to fend for themselves.
Reducing police resources will ultimately result in poorer service to the law-abiding residents of high-crime areas. Officers without back-up will be more stressed and at higher risk of poor judgment. Response times will increase. Cash-starved agencies will train less, not more, while lower pay scales will result in less qualified recruits. Would this be fair to all the good police? Would this be fair to the citizens who benefit from police presence?
A reduced police presence in minority neighborhoods will claim more Black lives. When officers back off of proactive policing under accusations of racism, violence shoots up. That was the case in cities recently examined by Harvard economists. After investigations opened up into a media-grabbing instance of police use of deadly force in Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Ferguson, Missouri, and Riverside, California, there were almost 900 excess homicides and almost 34,000 excess felonies, their study found.
The myth of racist police shootings has many unintended costs. Hundreds of police officers have been injured or killed, and many more have expressed their desire to quit.
This negative environment will likely lower the number of applicants to police academies and degrade the quality of applicants, which could result in higher levels of police criminality. Police may become less proactive. (source: lawenforcementtoday.com)
Perhaps police deserve our thanks and appreciation.