The real number of unarmed black people killed by police you can share with your liberal friends

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Though Democrats and their media cohorts have convinced large numbers of Americans that the country is in the midst of an epidemic of black suspects being fatally shot (or “lynched”) by police because of “systemic racism,” the data and experts say otherwise.

One of these experts is Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute. She’s a vociferous critic of false narratives pertaining to the police, including the canard that blacks are disproportionally shot by the police versus men and women of every other race because of “systemic racism.” But if “systemic racism” doesn’t explain this phenomenon, then what does?

Mathematics, according to Mac Donald. Writing for The Wall Street Journal last year, she asserted that the rate of black suspects shot fatally by the police is “a function of” how often they commit crime. Because they commit the majority of crime, they therefore have the most dealings with the police.

“In 2018, the latest year for which such data have been published, African-Americans made up 53% of known homicide offenders in the U.S. and commit[ed] about 60% of robberies, though they are 13% of the population,” she wrote.

Yet of the 996 fatal police shootings in 2018, only 209, or 21 percent, involved black suspects, meaning, according to Mac Donald, that the share of black suspects shot by the police was in fact “less than what the black crime rate would predict.”

Statistic: Number of people shot to death by the police in the United States from 2017 to 2021, by race | Statista

What about the parallel phenomenon of “so many” unarmed blacks dying at the hands of the police? Well, according to Mac Donald and other experts, there aren’t actually “so many” unarmed blacks dying at the hands of the police.

Data from The Washington Post shows that 23 “unarmed” black suspects were fatally shot by the police in 2018, while even fewer, 12, were shot in 2019.

At least one 2019 shooting, that of Christopher Whitfield, involved a black officer. Local prosecutors sought an indictment against that officer, Glenn Sims, but a grand jury ultimately declined to indict, as reported at the time by The Advocate.

In many other cases, the involved officers were indicted.

“A Texas grand jury has indicted a former Fort Worth police officer who two months ago fired through the window of a home, killing Atatiana Jefferson,” CNN reported late last year regarding one of those cases.

Keep in mind that a suspect being “unarmed” doesn’t necessarily make them any less dangerous. An unarmed suspect can still lunge at a police officer, try to run a police officer over or even push a police officer off a bridge.

A study conducted by two criminal justice researchers, Jon Shane and Zoë Swenson, found that in 90 percent of cases involving “unarmed” suspects, the police opened fire only because they felt they were facing “an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to themselves or a third person.”

These findings were published in the 2018 textbook “Unarmed and Dangerous: Patterns of Threats by Citizens During Deadly Force Encounters with Police (Crime and Society Series) 1st Edition,” as reported the next year by Lexipol, a company that provides consulting services to police agencies.

Of the 90 percent, the suspects had been “attempting to disarm an officer, drown an officer, throw an officer from a bridge or rooftop, strangle an officer, gesturing as if armed with a real weapon, keeping hands concealed despite commands and charging toward an officer with apparent intent to assault,” according to Lexipol.

As to why an “unarmed” suspect might behave like this, one possibility is mental illness.

A comprehensive analysis published by the enterprise software company Databricks a couple months after Mac Donald wrote her op-ed found that of all the suspects killed by police between 2015 and 2020, 23 percent “showed signs of mental illness.”

These are the facts. Yet despite these facts, whenever a black man, woman or child is fatally shot by the police, outrage ensues — and sometimes, so do riots as well.

The problem is that a large majority of the population have been persuaded by Democrats and their media allies into believing every black person who’s shot by the police is a victim, even when the evidence makes it clear they’re not.

Recall Mike Brown and the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” movement. It turns out he’d strong-arm-robbed an immigrant convenience store owner and then lunged at a police officer before being fatally shot.

And recall Adam Toledo, the 13-year-old child who was fatally shot last month. It turns out that he’d been armed with a gun that he’d been using to fire at passing cars?

And don’t forget about Ma’Khia Bryant, the 16-year-old black girl whose fatal shooting this week by officers in Columbus, Ohio, triggered outrage from the Democrat Party going all the way up to the White House.

It turns out she’d been in the process of stabbing another black girl when the officer opened fire, but this fact hasn’t stopped Democrats and their allies from keeping the narrative of black suspects being “lynched” alive:

But remember, narratives aren’t truth, especially when the facts so clearly debunk them …

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Vivek Saxena

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