Promoting anti-police myths won’t make us safer
By Jason Johnson For RealClearPolicy
As the House of Representatives considers that “George Floyd Justice in the Police Services Act 2021This week, supporters of the bill are rightly speaking out against pernicious stereotypes and generalizations based on race.
Yet many of those who rightly condemn these dangerous biases and the lies on which they are based make their own misleading statements to promote another reckless bigotry – anti-police bias.
To justify their version of police reform, supporters of the bill deceive Americans about the more than 800,000 law enforcement officers in the United States and their often dangerous jobs.
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When the Democratic Police Reform Bill was reintroduced at the end of February, President Nancy Pelosi said“The epidemic of police brutality continues – with more police killings last year than the year before, and communities of color and vulnerable groups disproportionately bearing the brunt of this cruelty.”
The ACLU even titled a report “The other epidemic: fatal police shootings during the Covid-19 era. “In 2019, Senator Bernie Sanders warned an interrogator to respect the police”so you don’t get shot in the back of the head. “
And ‘Squad’ member Rep. Ayanna Pressley tweeted, “Police brutality is the 6th leading cause of death among young black men. “
Others often denigrate law enforcement as being “systematically” racist, brutal and cruel, and suggest that the trend is worsening.
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The fact that none of these statements are right, true or wise does not seem relevant to those who are ideologically hostile to the police. And such misinformation harms public perception.
A AP-NORC 2020 survey showed that 48% of the public believed police violence against the public to be an “extremely or very serious problem” – up from 32% in 2015.
This change is particularly dramatic among Democrats and left-wing voters, whose leaders peddle these claims about the police.
The result is that, according to a February 2021 survey by Skeptic Magazine, about half of liberal or very liberal voters estimate that 1,000 or more “unarmed black men” are killed by police each year. The real number is less than 2% of that.
But such myths distort public perceptions across the ideological spectrum – with conservatives and moderates both believing that 40% of police murders are black Americans. (The Liberals believe it’s close to 60%.)
In fact, blacks account for less than 24% of fatal law enforcement shootings.
The reality is that the use of force by the police is rare and increasingly rare. Over 99.9% of all police calls resolved peacefully, without any use of force.
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Ninety-five percent police officers will lead their entire careers (often decades) without discharging their gun at another person.
The largest police force in the United States, the NYPD, has witnessed police shootings 90% drop over the past decades.
In 1971, NYPD officers fired their guns 810 times, killing 93 suspects, but in 2019, the New York Finest discharged their guns 57 times, killing 11 people.
Simply put, cops do not kill Americans of all races for free. Over 75% of people killed by police carried a gun or knife, while most others had other weapons.
More than twice as many whites were killed than blacks. And Studies show that white officers shoot black suspects at lower rates than non-white officers.
Police shootings not the 6th leading cause of death among young black men (44 and under) According to the CDC. Diabetes, heart disease, accidents, suicide, cancer and stroke all kill at higher rates.
In fact, the deaths of the officers involved represent only 1% of all African American youth deaths – almost the exactly the same part as with young white men. On the other hand, homicide is by far the leading cause of death among young black men aged 15 to 34, accounting for 40% of all deaths.
And Americans, especially the black community, don’t want to cancel police funding. In fact, they often want more police officers to protect them from violence and crime.
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A 2020 Gallup survey showed that 92% of black downtown residents want more or as much police presence in their neighborhood, not less. In the meantime, 72% of black Americans are happy with their local police, compared to 71% of all Americans.
Americans overwhelmingly oppose “cutting police funding” with 73% of respondents want funding to be maintained (42%) or increased (31%), 55% of black Americans wanting to see funding maintained or increased.
And this support is for good reason. Police reduce crime and their absence gives criminals a space to wreak havoc. In 2020, homicides jumped 21% and aggravated assault rose 8.3%, with elected officials ordering police to “step back”.
In New York City, arrests fell 55% over the summer while murders rose 45%. Likewise, de-police in Chicago (2016) and Baltimore (2015) arrests fell by a quarter while homicides rose 59% (Chicago) and 55% (Baltimore) in the following months.
More and better police services also pay dividends. A study calculated that for every dollar a city spent on policing, municipal revenues and economic growth increased by $ 1.63. Safer communities attract investment, create jobs, and encourage taxpayers to move in and stay.
The courageous men and women of the police – 59 of whom were criminally killed in service in 2020 – protect and serve selflessly. We need to support, empower and professionalize – through increased training and accountability – US law enforcement officers, not slander them.
It’s time to stop the lies and the fear. The public deserves the truth about police services.
Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.
Jason Johnson, former deputy commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department, is chairman of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund.
The opinions expressed by contributors and / or content partners are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Political Insider.