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Manhattan Institute

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

issue brief

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

January 21, 2016
Urban PolicyCrime
RaceOther

Abstract

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.

Key Findings

  • 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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Return to the Manhattan Institute's Issues 2016 series

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

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