DOJ Uses Faulty Calculation in Ferguson Report

Jared Taylor, American Renaissance, March 6, 2015

According to the DOJ report, when blacks in Ferguson are searched after a traffic stop they are 26 percent less likely than whites to have contraband on them. That figure is wrong. Thirty percent of whites and 24 percent of blacks have contraband, but the difference is 20 percent, not 26 percent.

The difference between 24 and 30 is 6. To find by what percent 24 is smaller than 30, you divide 6 by 30 to get 0.2, which is 20 percent. DOJ stupidly divided by 24, which is 0.25 or 25 percent. (It arrived at 26 percent, presumably, due to rounding of the original figures.)

To understand DOJ’s error better, imagine that whites had contraband 50 percent of the time, and blacks only 25 percent. The way DOJ did the math, (50-25)/25 = 1.0, would mean that blacks were 100 percent less like to have contraband–an absurd result. The correct calculation is (50-25)/50 = 0.5, or 50 percent less likely.

Here’s the quote directly from page 65 of the DOJ report:

Despite being searched at higher rates, African Americans are 26% less likely to have contraband found on them than whites: 24% of searches of African Americans resulted in a contraband finding, whereas 30% of searches of whites resulted in a contraband finding.

Vox includes the faulty 26 percent figure in one of the “6 most damning findings from the DOJ’s report.”

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