Public Safety, Culture Policing, Crime Control, Race
January 21st, 2016 1 Minute Read Issue Brief by Heather Mac Donald

Issues 2016: Violent Criminals, Not the Police, Pose the Real Threat to African-Americans

The Black Lives Matter movement and other critics of law enforcement contend that the police routinely shoot black civilians. Despite several highly publicized police killings of African-Americans, the evidence does not support the conclusion that American police are waging a racist war against blacks.

  • Police shootings account for a much smaller share of homicides in the black community than in other communities: 4 percent of black homicide victims are killed by the police, compared with 12 percent of white and Hispanic homicide victims.
  • During 1990–2008, for 93 percent of black homicide victims, the perpetrator was also black.
  • During 2005–14, blacks were responsible for 40 percent of murders of police officers; by comparison, blacks were 26 percent of all victims of police shootings in 2015, higher than their 13 percent share of the population, but lower than their share of violent criminals.



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Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor at City Journal.


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