America used to think that blacks were being killed by the police at a disproportionate rate as compared to whites. But now it has been shown to be a fact.
Until 2014 – 2015 there was not a private or public entity that kept reliable national data on police shootings. In 2014 -2015 the Guardian newspaper started to maintain factual and public database on police shootings. The proliferation of video recorded police encounters has bolstered what the data is showing:
- 49% of those killed are white, 26% black, 17% Hispanic, and 3% other
- Blacks are killed at disproportionately higher rate than whites
- Blacks account for 40% of those killed by the police who were unarmed
- 95% are male
- 70% are under the age of 44
The fact that there was no verifiable and accurate data about this matter until recently is most concerning. It appears that America has been waiting for government interventions, policy and police changes to a problem that they may not have known existed. Now that the data is starting to shed light on the crisis of the killing of black and brown people by the police. I am hopeful that there will be changes. I just don’t expect those changes to come fast.
While the loss of life is always unfortunate, my comments are really centered around when a citizen is killed by the police when there was no imminent threat to the officer or anyone else.
What can we as Americans do to help fill the gap while we are reforming many areas that result in a disproportionate number of black and brown males being killed by the police?
Notice, I am not casting any aspersions about who or what the problems are. The data states that the problems are multifactorial. Yes, the police own their part and should be held accountable.
Police officers are similar to any other organization, there are a few bad apples tossed into a bushel of good ones. The data is not showing that there is a proliferation of bad officers.
We have to strategize now to teach our kids, youths and any male of color, tools that will help them make it home alive and unharmed.
In the book, HOME ALIVE: 11 Must Steps to Surviving Encounters with The Police, we do just that – provide tools to help make it home alive and unharmed.
Learn more about the book here.