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Analysis of Washington Post police-shootings data reveals surprising result – nearly 2x more whites than blacks shot by police

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Now, many folks calculate the death rates of the groups by comparing the numbers killed, to the corresponding numbers of that group in the general population … but you can’t do that. It leads to wildly incorrect conclusions. Here is an example that shows why comparing numbers of police shootings to the corresponding number of individuals in the general population leads to big errors:

Men make up about 50% of the general population, but men comprise 96% of those killed by police. Does this huge number of “excess male deaths” prove that the police are being sexist and that they are biased against men? Does this imbalance in the number of men killed mean that we need a “Male Lives Matter Too” movement?

Of course not. Instead, it simply demonstrates that men both commit and are arrested for far more crimes of violence than women; that men are far more likely than women to both carry and use weapons; that men are far more likely to both threaten and commit serious violence against a police officer than are women; and most importantly, that men are far more likely than women to violently resist arrest.

Here are the results of that comparison for 2015.

  • For every 10,000 white people arrested for a violent crime, 38 white people were killed by police (± 2).
  • For every 10,000 hispanic people arrested for a violent crime, 21 hispanic people were killed by police (± 3).
  • For every 10,000 black people arrested for a violent crime, 21 black people were killed by police (± 2).
 
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