The Truth About Young Black Men and Police Shootings

John Lott, Fox News, October 22, 2014

Tensions are still high in Ferguson, Mo., after the Aug. 8 police shooting of Michael Brown. {snip}


About a week ago journalists at ProPublica and Slate further fueled the anger many blacks felt about the shooting. Slate’s headline read: “Black Teens Vastly More Likely to Be Killed by Police Than Whites Even After Adjusting for Crime Rates.”

The incendiary finding got massive uncritical news coverage including the New York Times, NPR, major newspapers around the country such as the Atlanta Journal Constitution and the Dallas Morning News, and the major networks.

If their claim is right, and blacks are unjustly facing “vastly” higher rates of being shot by police, it is a serious indictment of the police. Fortunately, these allegations are wrong.

There are two parts to their assertion. First, that black males ages 15 to 19 died at the hands of police at a rate 21 times the rate of white males of the same age.

Second, that black Americans are no more than two to three times more likely to commit violent crimes than whites. They put these two points together and conclude that after adjusting for violent crimes by race, police still kill young blacks at least 7 to 10.5 times as often as they kill young whites.

But if you’re going to look at the rates that police kill black and white male teenagers, you have to adjust for the rate that black and white male teenagers put themselves at risk–not the rate that both male and female blacks and whites of all ages commit violent crime.

Among blacks, teenage crime is much more of a problem. Black male teenagers were nine times more likely to commit murders than similarly aged white males, not two to three times as likely.

Doing the math, blacks male teenagers are killed by the police at a 2.3 times greater rate than whites after adjusting for these murders. It’s still considerably higher, but by a fraction of the rate asserted by Slate.

Can we still conclude that police single out black teenagers?  As ProPublica acknowledges, the data on justifiable police killings are “terribly incomplete,” and “vast numbers of the country’s 17,000 police departments don’t file fatal police shooting reports at all.”

But there is an additional problem.  The numbers aren’t random.  It so happens that urban areas, that are 50 percent more heavily black than the rest of the US, are the ones that report justifiable police killings. That means police probably kill whites more often than these incomplete statistics indicate.

While ProPublica assures us the errors in the data can’t offset the 21-fold difference, it is highly unclear whether the actual, much smaller remaining 2.3-fold difference is merely a result of such incomplete data.


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  • I think one of the items of statistical legerdemain that ProPublica/Slate engaged in and even John Lott didn’t consider in his retort was limiting the statistical study to the sex/age group of young men and adult men ages 15 to 19, being mindful of the racial differences in physical maturity (but not brain maturity) therein.

    • Oil Can Harry

      It’s also likely that many of the “White” murderers in the study were Hispanic or Arab-Americans.

      Still, John Lott deserves credit. He’s also done a lot of good work debunking the phony stats put out by gun control nuts like Mikey Bloomberg.

      • propagandaoftruth

        Libtards have a devil of a time understanding the difference between correlation and causation AND they love to cheat and misrepresent on purpose.

        When the Truth is against you, you gotta lie. Simple!

        Libtard traitors…. you reeka!

      • mikekingjr

        Was pleasantly surprised to see that said debunking came out of Fox News.

    • 48224

      It doesn’t matter if it is true or not. The left wingers have already put the story out there as if it were true. Doesn’t matter IN THE LEAST that the story is untrue. They accomplished what they wanted…..another story about another fake black victim of white hate.

    • archer

      We are reaping what we sowed, after several generations of historically high black illegitimate birth rates we are now seeing in this web site and others major felonies being committed by younger and younger black males.

      • We have been taxed to pay them to breed like rabbits.

        • Casper Flannigan

          Unfair to rabbits Mike. They, at least, are tender and tasty if marinated, seasoned and cooked properly. I would never even consider homie hasenpfeffer. Even if I was starving!

  • Alexandra1973

    Black punks are more likely to get shot because of how they behave. Why else would Chris Rock come out with the video “How to Not Get Your @$$ Kicked by the Police?”

    • PesachPatriot

      My wife showed me that video….it was hilarious….all the stuff in it seemed pretty self explanatory, but I guess keepin it real is more important to a lot of aspiring rappers than staying above ground….

    • Spikeygrrl

      DH & I love that sketch 😀 …and often recommend it to others.

  • disqus_Xz3UA6obwj

    Blacks are far more likely to shoot at police. How come no study is done exposing that fact?

  • The Verdict of History

    The black male is the sacred cow of the liberal project.

    Just look at Ferguson. Every attempt is being made by the liberal intelligentsia to make excuses for him.

    The black male is so sacred to the Left that American liberals are willing to make total fools of themselves in order to embrace black thugs, to hell with the legal processes and Western jurisprudence.

    Months ago, the Grand Jury proceedings were condemned as secretive and shady. Now that the evidence which the Grand Jury is reviewing has indeed come to light, these same critics express dismay….

    Before local judicial officials began leaking sensitive case-related info, social justice advocates demanded transparency – they wanted the info to be made public, but now that information has been made public, and doesn’t fit the social justice narrative, the activists are outraged.

  • Frank_DeScushin

    Darren Wilson was smashed in the face by a violent behemoth who then tried to grab his gun. But, listening to the usual excuse makers, the Gentle Giant was shot because he’s a black man in America. Why are people still buying this garbage?

    • Steve_in_Vermont

      Most people are willing to let the process proceed. The grand jury and, if needed, a trial. These same people keep their opinions to themselves because to criticize blacks automatically marks them as racist. Note that there are several black witnesses appearing before the grand jury who don’t want their identity known. Why? I believe we know the answer to that, they certainly do.

    • Ograf

      Because they hate us Frank.

      • A Freespeechzone

        The real fact of the matter is that blacks, aided by government and courts, want the ‘right’ to perpetrate violence on Whites, rape, steal, loot and burn as ‘payback’ for slavery–that, by the way no one person alive today experienced.

        The likes of Obama, Holder & self-loathing liberal Whites embolden this behavior; hopefully it will move to the sacred neighborhoods that are comprised of liberals…I’ll enjoy seeing that.

      • nBmnp

        Very true.

        I think we are intellectualizing far too much when the reality is in fact very, very simple.

    • Lionel Hutz

      That picture of the facial injuries wasn’t Ofc. Wilson.

      • Frank_DeScushin

        Yes, I know that picture was not Wilson and that Wilson didn’t my actually fracture his orbital bone, but Darren Wilson still got punched in the face by Brown. Wilson’s medical records from his post-incident trip to the hospital plus witness testimony supports Wilson’s claim that he was punched in the face and their was a fight in Wilson’s police car. Have you not been following this?

        • Lionel Hutz

          Not as closely as I should be, apparently. I stopped paying attention to the case itself when it became clear it’s just Trayvon 2.0.

    • Garrett Brown

      Crazy gorillas aren’t anything to play with.

  • Luca

    When a punk-ass criminal is pointing a gun at you, do you really care what color he is? Shoot first and ask questions later. Let the coroner figure out his ethnicity and race.

  • JackKrak

    The Left is only concerned about any kind of statistical disproportion if fails to paint the most flattering possible picture of Urban Americans, no matter what.

    Nothing bad that happens to them and nothing bad they ever do can ever, ever be their fault.

  • Roninf9

    Black males aged 14-55 are less than 2% of the US population but commit over 50% of the murders. They also commit a vast majority of the rapes, robberies, and violent assaults. This is not even taking into account that a lot of black crime is under reported or un reported. If you take away from this 2% the black males that are already in jail, overseas in the military, in hospital, incapacitated in some way, or law abiding, you are left with a very small but very dangerous, and very criminally prolific group.

    As for this “study” the rate at which black are shot and killed by police should be compared to the rate black are shot and killed by other blacks. It seems many young blacks are out of control thugs that put themselves into situations were they need to be shot and killed, either by their brothers or by the cops.


    We need quotas. Police need to shoot equal proportions of Blacks and Whites. Let us oblige police to shoot more Whites to make up for equal numbers.

    Sad jokes aside: Blacks riot hundreds of times more then Whites. When was the last white riot that lasted several days, in the US, or anywhere in the Western world outside Ukraine?

    How many whites commit wholesale constant crimes as Michael Brown? Stealing stuff handing it to Dorian Johnson, grabbing more and keeping it, pushing the store clerk, returning to push him again, jay walking in the middle of the street, disobeying lawful order of police, slamming door on police, grabbing police gun, running away, returning again to charge police. What a life of constant crime in only 20 minutes!!

    Speaking of quotas: how come that 100 times as many men get executed in the US than women? How come no one complains?

    • JohnEngelman

      Why didn’t white riot when John Kennedy was shot?

  • JohnEngelman

    Several years ago I read in The New York Times that liberals do not want to read anything bad about blacks and homosexuals.

    Self censorship is more effective than the censorship of an unpopular dictatorship. You cannot convince people of what they do not want to believe, even when it is obviously true.

    • Matthew Shepherd was a methamphetamines user, and this is likely what got him killed in Wyoming, but nary a peep about that from the MSM.

  • Stan D Mute

    Whether it’s 21X or 2X, the indictment here is of negroes and negro culture that encourages them to act belligerently and violently to cops. As Fred Reed noted in an article cross posted here I think a few weeks ago (visit his site directly if you haven’t read it), no cop anywhere is just out looking for chances to lose his job, face criminal prosecution, and be discussed for months on MSNBC by shooting a negro. If anything, police today are under patrolling negro neighborhoods because there is simply nothing good that could come of being there. In fact, I often read reports of negro community organizations complaining about crime and how they don’t have any police presence to deter crime. And even in that context, with cops avoiding negro contact, their behavior requires police to shoot them at 2X-21X the white rate.

    Just more proof we didn’t need that negroes are incompatible with civilization.

  • ozamataz

    How about a headline that reads “Black Teens Vastly More Likely To Be Violent Criminals Than Whites”?

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Activists and race baiters have already convinced blacks that White cops single out and hunt down blacks to kill for sport.

    A black shot legitimately, justifiably and in self-defense by a White cop brings threats of violence and ruination of one’s life.

    More revealing are the stats the p***-stream media refuse to publicize:

    Though blacks are outnumbered 5-to-1 in the population by Whites, they commit eight times as many crimes against Whites as the reverse. A black male is 40 times as likely to assault a white person as the reverse

    —Pat Buchanan

    I have massive photo files, the largest of which is black-on-White crime. It’s difficult to choose an image or graphic because there are so many of them.

    Here are a couple of recent ones:

  • KevinPhillipsBong

    Paved with Good Intentions showed that black officers were more likely than white officers to shoot black offenders. That was 20 years ago. I would guess things are more or less the same now but I’ve no new data to back that up.

  • Rizzo419

    I read the report from which these numbers are derived. On average, black males are shot and killed by white police officers twice per week. One yearly total was 96.

    No hand-wringing over the thousands of women and children who are killed at the hand of black violence. Apparently, the lives of young black males (who fight and run from police, no less) are worth more than their women and children. Considering that young black bucks are the tip of the spear that is used to attack white existence, it follows that leftist rags would defend them no matter how small their numbers.

    These people are relentless.

  • Ultimate187

    Blacks like to complain about white privilege, but blacks don’t realize how much privilege they get from the media who deliberately cover up the extent of their crimes.

  • Reverend Bacon

    This is mostly a good piece. The remaining 2-3x can probably be explained by a combination of factors, including that demographic’s complete and utter contempt for the police. While this is hard to survey, perhaps it would be useful to look at a statistic that should be available: the breakdown of cop-killing teenagers by race. If I had to guess, it would be something like 100 to 1. It seems that the teens who die are the ones who show a willingness to kill a cop.

  • Bill

    When I was a kid, police shows on TV made it very clear to me that evading arrest was a long-odds gamble if I were to be seen committing a crime or getting away from a crime I committed. The cops have radios, there’s more of them than me, they have cars and helicopters.
    So I always thought, if I was to commit a crime, it would have to yield plenty of money, and have a good chance of escape. Fighting with the cops was not a wise thing to do.
    As for a case like the Martin kid in Fl, he could have called the cops on the stalker (Z), instead of trying to kill him.
    Blacks’ biggest problem in society is their violent tendencies, which make them hate cops and whites in general, and results in harder to find jobs because of this (who would hire a black, when any number of other minorities would do just as well?), and angering one usually results in litigation for the employer.
    As far as stats go, they can always be manipulated to who ever’s point of view.


      “Blacks’ biggest problem in society is their violent tendencies” – And deluded White liberals who encourage it all by making asinine excuses for such tendencies.

    • Good point, Bill. Since Trayvon Martin had a mobile phone which he used to call his obese “sharp cookie” girlfriend, he could have used that same phone to call the police to say that he was 17 and that there was some “creepy cracker” watching him.

      That would have put the shoe completely on the other foot, but they don’t think that way.

  • RacialRay

    Its not ‘profiling’. Its common sense, and a natural inclination toward self-preservation on the part of law enforcement.

    “Common sense be racist, yo.”
    – Moe Gibbs

  • slobotnavich

    It’s a profoundly disturbing commentary on the state of public discourse that this absurd discussion is still going on. Fact: Black commit crimes, particularly violent crimes, at many, many times the rate of whites and Asians. Fact: Blacks comprise over 50% of the prison population in our nation, despite being only about 10% of the overall population. Fact: Blacks, on average, have markedly lower average intelligence than white and East Asians – roughly twenty points lower than whites and nearly thirty points lower than East Asians (sorry, White Supremacists). All this hardly means that blacks are incapable of enjoying productive and meaningful lives – there are a great number of jobs in the skilled trades, simple labor, and agricultural sectors that can provide rewarding and fulfilling work for blacks or anybody else willing to work up a good sweat. We started down this insane “let’s pretend” road with Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society Program in 1965; we’ve continued to enforce this absurd fantasy ever since.

  • hey hey hey,,,, your just going to confuse the liberals and low I.Q’s with stating facts and stats.

  • Gary John 金白龍

    “Black male teenagers were nine times more likely to commit murders than similarly aged
    white males”

    White Liberals are 900 times more likely to pretend diversity is a strength.

  • Gary John 金白龍

    “Black male teenagers were nine times more likely to commit murders than similarly aged white males.”

    White Liberals are nine HUNDRED times more likely to pretend diversity is a strength.

  • benvad

    The black agenda is very easy to understand. They want government jobs, contracts, patronage, welfare, healthcare and preferential admissions and affirmative action benefits.

    They don’t want restrictions from banks, associations and cultural institutes. They don’t want whites taking part in any black run organization or any resistance or interference in their lives or desires.

    They want to be free to do what they want where they want how they want with who they want and whites can’t say a word about it. Blackest be free to commit any crime from theft to murder and must never be judged or prosecute for their actions EVER!

    I have a problem with everything listed above, so I prefer to shun them but I’m aiming to send them back to their continent.

  • Drifter745

    Pfft! Here they go with those pesky facts again.