Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Misconstruing Ferguson White Cops Are Not Victimizing Black Youth

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Misconstruing Ferguson White Cops Are Not Victimizing Black Youth

Article excerpt

Jermaine Jones, 29, was gunned down in the street on the outskirts of Ferguson, Mo., Oct. 18, a few hours after his sister, Margaree Dixson, 35, had been shot half a mile away.

If this is the first you've heard about these murders, it's because their killers also were black.

"Black deaths matter only if the killer is a white cop," said Italian journalist Enza Ferrerri.

Which doesn't happen very often. Of 1,265 murder victims in St. Louis between 2003 and 2012, 1,138 (89.9 percent) were black, according to University of Missouri-St. Louis criminologist David Klinger, a former police officer.

About 90 percent of the black decedents (1,025) were slain by other blacks, his research indicates. Thirty-two were killed by police officers, 22 (1.93 percent) by white cops.

Between 1976 and 2011 across the United States, 7,982 blacks were murdered each year, on average - 94 percent by other blacks, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. About 227 blacks (2.8 percent) were shot by police each year, according to a study by Pro Publica (which pointed out that national statistics on police shootings are difficult to assess because of differences in how police departments report them).

The use of excessive force by police isn't unheard of, so if a consequence of the news media's obsession with the shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson Aug. 9 is more widespread use of bodycams by police, that would be good.

But to assert that racially motivated shootings by police are commonplace and that this was one of them undermines the rule of law and "fans racial discord," said Milwaukee County (Wis.) Sheriff David Clarke, who is black.

Young black males are 21 times more likely to be shot dead by police than are young white males, Pro Publica said. But because more than two-thirds of police officers are white and blacks commit about half of violent crimes, it stands to reason most police shootings would involve a white cop and a black suspect.

Blacks also are more likely than whites, Hispanics or Asians to resist arrest, according to Heather McDonald of the Manhattan Institute. …

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