A disqus post from four years ago on racism & policing. While it doesn’t strictly apply to immigrants (It was written during Ferguson), there are more black people than immigrants in the US. And the actual statistical murder rate is equally low.


Want to divide the number of people killed by cops by the total cop population and compare it to the number of people killed by black people divided by the black population?

Sure, let's play math and compare actual stats versus gut. Stats are useful things.

(All citations are from the FBI Unified Crime Report)

As of 2008, the last year there was complete data, there were about 120,000 full time police officers in the United States.

The FBI does not keep adequate stats on killings in the line of duty, but the number, per academic and investigative sources, is probably about 1,000 people per year killed by police officers.

Using that number, Victims divided by full time cops is 0.00833... But let's say the academics have their hair on fire, because so often we do, and they're over-estimating by 100%. There are only 500 officer-caused fatalities per year.

That's 0.0041666... Or even more conservatively, only 1 per million residents of the US per year — a literal one in a million incident. That's 335 per year and a ratio of 0.00279167.

As of the 2011, there were approximately 43.8 million people who identify as Black/African American. (US Census, 2010)

Per the FBI's 2011 Unified Crime Report, 5,486 murders were committed by known black perpetrators. citation Perpetrators divided by full population: 0.00012525

That's more than an order of magnitude difference even at the very lowest reasonable estimate.

(Given that there were over 100 officer caused shooting fatalities in the US between Aug 9 and September 15ish, when I stopped watching that specific Twitter feed because I could not take it anymore... My bet is on the academics.)

For the police to have the same ratio as the general black community, they would have to kill no more than 15.03 people per year as a whole.

Southern California alone had blown by that number by May. (equation: 0.00012525 = x / 120,000. It's pre-algebra to solve for x, but for the 5th graders in the audience, one multiplies both sides by 120,000.)

Yes, cops are more dangerous per capita than the general black population. Significantly more dangerous. By a factor of at least 20 and up to 70. Seriously, do your homework. This is stats 101 and elementary Googling.

There's nobody to compare our police with except our general population. We are murderous compared to the rest of the post-industrial world. We're about average with the post-conflict states but that assumes both our stats and theirs are honest, a questionable assumption. Our post-industrial peers have from ¼ to 1/100 the number of police injury rates (both officers injured in the line and officers doing the injuring).

The best comparison in terms of statistical similarity (age, income, gender) is either the military or estimates of gang activity. Cops come off worse than the military (using only direct confrontation rates because thank FSM cops don't have air support — about 0.0008 to 0.001 enemy fatalities in a war year to the 600K service members) and comparable to best estimates on gangs.

(Huge ballpark numbers here because very few gangs let sociologists follow them around, but FBI estimates 1.4 million US gang members — street, prison, biker, white supremacist — and estimates they are responsible for 48% of crime. If they're responsible for 48% of the murders in 2011, then 14,548 * .48 = 6983/1.4M = 0.004987. Using FBI numbers on gangs is problematic since conflict of interest, but they're all we've got.)

For more than 20 years, crime rates have been falling and law enforcement violence has increased. Those stats shouldn't go together, and they don't everywhere else. We have a structural problem that we are not addressing.

There is no actual justification for the violent, enforcer mentality in our police forces. It doesn't work, it costs much more, produces far worse outcomes and death spirals into more expense and worse outcomes.

Historically, from the origins with Robert Peel in 1830s London and the Parisian gendarmes (beginning formally in the 17th century), modern policing started and has survived everywhere except the US as peace officers.

London's example is particularly instructive. They were unarmed, as continues to this day for most, and for the first twenty-five or so years, were required to wear their uniforms even when off-duty. That latter requirement was to prevent the sort of corruption prevalent in their predecessors, the Bow Street Runners. The people of London would not trust a police force they could not monitor 24/7. The rest of the post-industrial world does exceedingly well in terms of low crime and a functional society without having to resort to state-sanctioned, poorly trained and disciplined paramilitaries.

The rest of the post-industrial world has addressed the majority of the social issues that lead to our crime rates — poverty abatement primarily, via housing, health care, nutritional, educational and income support.

They also more strictly control weapons through gun education and licensure requirements. It's not that they don't have drugs, organized crime, and criminality — they just address it from a different perspective and do so without killing 1-3 millionths of their population every year.

Canada's 2014 was an anno horribilis — 12 officer caused fatalities. They normally run 1-6. Even at that high rate, if Canada was 335 million people instead of 35, their rate would be ¼ to 1/10th the US rate.

Their solution is synergistic — their cops are far better trained (RCMP is 2 years over the first 5, with the first 6 months being residential training in Saskatchewan; most US police academies are not residential and only 6 weeks to 3 months, with very little follow up);

have significantly higher weapons discipline and training, and any weapon discharge incident is heavily investigated and threatens continued employment.

All shooting incidents are investigated by a federal panel, not by the locals, and they have a strong wall between their peace officer/law enforcement structure and their prosecutorial judicial structure, so that the cops and the State's attorney are not on the same team.

Training, accountability, oversight, clear separation of responsibilities — that's good policing. (And significantly less crime.)

Comparing US stats to the rest of the world is like comparing seawater to Infinity Stones. No commonality, they don't even share molecules. I'm using Canada as the primary comparison because it's the best natural peer, but you can pick any post-industrial country in the top ten percent of GDP per capita and the numbers look mostly like Canada, not the US.

It's not drugs or poverty or lead paint chips or malnutrition or lack of health care. They're all minor factors, but the big one is that 150 years ago, we failed to compensate more than a million people for two centuries of stolen labor and expected them to function with nothing.

We then spent the next hundred years preventing them from acquiring and preserving generational wealth and depriving them of full citizenship and access. That's five generations of raw deal on top of eight generations of actual evil.

I can S&R on your language and pop Roma or Dalit into your language about young black men, and your content doesn't change. You are blaming the inheritors of centuries of systemic economic and social violence for reacting to injustice.

We have the tools and the knowledge to not sacrifice 400-1000 people a year for devotion to a deeply sunk cost. We're choosing not to use those tools. You're choosing FYIGM when fact contradicts your gut.

Whatever bubble in which you exist, the evidence on the outside says it's polluted.