Police Are Improperly Influenced By Race


  • “Black Americans are 2.5 times as likely as white Americans to be shot and killed by police officers.”[1]
  • Minority neighborhoods are “over-policed”
  • Cops profile and have a professional bias against minorities

Statistics show that minorities are subject to more frequent interactions with, and more aggressive treatment by, the Police.  The recent incidences of shootings of unarmed minorities also shows that police officers often assume that minority suspects are armed and dangerous, and use unjustified deadly force against them with far greater frequency than they do against non-minorities.  The best explanation for these facts is that police officers, either consciously or subconsciously, are biased against minorities based on their race.  Police officers and agencies make generalizations about categories of civilians based on limited experiences and based on their contact with the worst elements of these groups, and then generalize them in a way that results in disproportionate and discriminatory treatment of members of certain minority groups.  And their disproportionate suspicion, investigation and arrest of minorities for offenses for which non-minorities are left alone reinforce these biases and, in the mind of the police, justifies them.


  • “Young black males were about 8 times more likely to commit murders than similarly aged white males”[2]
  • The media causes the problem; it is only “news” when a black person is wrongly arrested or shot
  • Blacks commit crimes at far higher rates than whites[3]

Police officers face the threat of bodily harm or death being inflicted on them on a daily basis, a job description that no other non-military personnel can fully understand.  To effectively police communities, protect citizens, and keep communities safe, they need to make split-second decisions that can literally be the difference between life and death for the officers and for members of the public.  So when police officers use their experience, their knowledge of local populations, and statistical probabilities to guide their conduct, it is justified.  Police officers know that crime tends to be higher in minority communities.  And, the fact is that minorities are far more likely to be victims of crimes and violent crimes, as well as perpetrators.  It is only rational and prudent that when police interact with citizens that they both suspect of criminal activity and who fall into categories that are statistically more likely to be engaged in criminal activity, police officers employ heightened scrutiny and caution.  This is especially true when police officers face situations that they believe present dangers to the safety of the public and themselves.  This is common sense, not racism.  While there certainly are racists in every segment of the population, an entire category of public servants, who work hard and place themselves in physical danger every day to improve the communities they serve, should not be condemned as racists for employing common sense strategies to deter crime and keep the public and themselves safe.


Posted in: Point/Counterpoint

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