Study: No Racial Bias in Police Shootings
Countering the racially charged rhetoric on police shootings that ultimately manifested into a slew of violent acts and blood shed, a recently published Harvard study found no racial bias in how police wield the most lethal form of force.
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The findings revealed that when it comes to “officer-involved shootings — we are unable to detect any racial differences in either the raw data or when accounting for controls.”
Roland G. Fryer Jr., the African-American author of the study and Harvard economics professor called it “the most surprising result” of his career.
The study examined 1,000 shootings, including nonfatal ones, in 10 major police departments in Texas, Florida, and California. In those areas, officers were more likely to fire their guns without having first been attacked when the suspects were white. Black people and white people were equally likely to have been carrying a weapon, but police didn’t use racial bias to dictate whether or not they fired their weapon.
Though the study also found that police were more likely to use other forms of force, including pepper spray, the use of hands and weapon pointing, on black civilians than white civilians.
Fryer, who aimed much of his career towards narrowing the racial achievement gap in America, recommended that police face stronger repercussions for their use of lesser-forms of force on black men and women.
“Every black man I know has had this experience. Every one of them. It is hard to believe that the world is your oyster if the police can rough you up without punishment,” Fryer said. “And when I talked to minority youth, almost every single one of them mentions lower level uses of force as the reason why they believe the world is corrupt.”
Fryer sad he initiated the study after being troubled by the deaths of Micheal Brown and Freddie Gray.
“You know, protesting is not my thing,” Fryer said. “But data is my thing. So I decided that I was going to collect a bunch of data and try to understand what really is going on when it comes to racial differences in police use of force.”
To read about the anti-police rhetoric that turned deadly, click here.