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Trump administration officials are pushing back on a Leftist narrative that America’s police forces harbor “systemic racism” in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of a few bad Minneapolis police officers.
And as it happens, White House officials have the facts on their side.
“I think there’s racism in the United States still but I don’t think that the law enforcement system is systemically racist,” said U.S. Attorney General William Barr in a Sunday interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
The AG did say that, “for most of our history, our institutions were explicitly racist,” adding that major reforms especially since the 1960s have led to changes in those institutions, and especially in law enforcement.
In an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf echoed Barr, saying he doesn’t believe “we have a systemic racism problem with law enforcement officers across this country.”
“Do I acknowledge that there are some law enforcement officers that abuse their jobs? Yes,” said Wolf.
“I would say that there are individuals in every profession across this country that probably abuse their authority and their power,” Wolf added. “We need to hold them accountable.”
Four Minneapolis police officers were immediately fired following the death of Floyd, and criminal charges have been filed against all of them. Former officer Derek Chauvin, who was videoed pinning Floyd to the pavement with his knee for several minutes as Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe before becoming unresponsive, has been charged with second-degree murder.
“I think there’s always things that we can do more but again, I think painting law enforcement with a broad brush of systemic racism is really a disservice to the men and women who put on the badge, the uniform every day,” Wolf said.
The acting DHS chief also noted that officers themselves are often targeted as well. He cited the recent murder of a Federal Protective Services officer in Oakland about a week ago during rioting in the city. The officer was shot and killed by a suspect who simply drove up and opened fire. Ironically, the federal protective officer was black.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said that he grew up during an era “when there was real systemic racism,” but that such incidents in law enforcement are “uncommon” now.
“I remember as an 8th-grade student, I was the only black student, I got the highest academic achievement and the teacher got up and berated the other students. They weren’t trying hard enough because black kid was number one,” Carson told CNN. “That kind of thing was not uncommon when I was growing up. That kind of thing is very uncommon now.”
In fact, according to the latest data and research, the Trump administration is correct: There is little evidence to support the allegation that police around the country harbor “systemic racism” within their ranks.
A groundbreaking 2019 study by Joseph Cesario of Michigan State University and David Johnson of the University of Maryland found no high incidence of racial disparities in police-related shootings.
“There are so many examples of people saying that when black citizens are shot by police, it’s white officers shooting them. In fact, our findings show no support that black citizens are more likely to be shot by white officers,” Cesario said.
“We found that the race of the officer doesn’t matter when it comes to predicting whether black or white citizens are shot,” Cesario added. “If anything, black citizens are more likely to have been shot by black officers, but this is because black officers are drawn from the same population that they police. So, the more black citizens there are in a community, the more black police officers there are.”
Other data from the study show:
— 55 percent of all Americans shot and killed by police are white;
— That figure is more than double the number of blacks (27 percent) and Hispanics (19 percent) killed by police;
— Critics who point out that blacks are 27 percent of shooting victims but only 14 percent of the population still cannot account for the fact that the research shows there is no correlation between black victims and white police officers.
Also, the researchers note the strongest predictor of police-related shootings is not race but whether the suspect is engaging in violent criminal activity.
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