There is no doubt that some blacks have been unjustly killed by white police officers just as many white suspects have been unjustly killed by police officers both white and black. These murders should be handled in an appropriate manner. The greater issue is how this administration is fanning the flames of racism after each occurrence.
At the center of the allegations is that white police officers reflexively believe black men are dangerous and react accordingly. I’m certain some do allow prejudice into their thinking. However, painting all white police officers with this brush makes one guilty of exactly the same type of racial profiling the white officers are being accused of, only in reverse.
Ignoring the rhetoric that screams racism, let’s take a look at the statistics that we know:
• Blacks comprise 13% of the population in the U.S. However, young black males commit nearly 10 times as many homicides as young white and Hispanic males combined.
• Using New York City as an example, while blacks comprise 23% of the city’s population they commit two-thirds of all violent crimes there. This includes 80% of all shootings and approximately 70% of all robberies.
• In 2011 the Bureau of Justice released a study that examined the racial breakdown of suspects killed by law enforcement officers during the years 2003-2009. The findings; 41.7% were white, 31.7% were black and 20.3% were Hispanic.
Frankly, considering the disproportionate percentage of violent crimes committed by blacks one has pause to ask why whites are killed by police officers at such an alarming rate?
Police officers responding to volatile situations have three priorities; protect innocent bystanders, protect themselves, subdue the suspect. It should not be surprising that in a highly charged encounter, the safety of the suspects would be their last priority.
It is not my intention to dismiss the actions of rogue law enforcement officers. I know they exist having been victimized by one a few years back. I am also aware of the “thin blue line” that makes prosecuting the bad ones difficult. I am confident that the Holder Justice Department aggressively pursued investigations of white police officers when the situation warranted. It is worth noting that at the conclusion of these very public investigations no charges were brought.
It is also worth noting that in the instance of white teen, Dillon Taylor, killed by a black officer no investigation was forthcoming. In fact, very little media attention was given to it at all.
Rather than wait for the investigation to be concluded President Obama used the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson to fan the flames of an angry black community that was only too quick to come to the conclusion the president hoped they would. He chose to ignore the murder of Dillon Taylor. If the president simply sought to spark a national dialogue on race would a passing reference to Dillon Taylor have served to open that discussion in a more level and reasoned manner? What were his motivations for the manner in which he addressed this situation?
It would be irresponsible of anyone to state with certainty what the president was thinking. It is, however, proper to judge him for the results of his actions. The president has a long history of community activism. He knew, at least as well as anyone else, the potential this situation had for turning violent. His statements, and the actions of Holder’s office, helped to inflame the unrest in Ferguson that resulted in at least one additional death. It happened to be a young black male. Given that an extensive investigation led to no charges against the white police officer, would it now be fair to characterize Obama and Holder’s actions as irresponsible and having incited an additional death. Could their actions be classified as a black on black crime?
It probably matters little to Obama. For blacks and progressives the take-away from Ferguson will be a young black male was murdered by a white police officer. The president, for his part, will be a heroic statesman to his electoral base. The result for the president and his party will be the political benefit from an inflamed black electorate and sympathetic progressives.
Once again, Washington gets it right…for themselves.