Art Moore, WND, August 2, 2020
In less than 40 minutes, Manhattan Institute scholar Heather Mac Donald on Thursday presented compelling empirical evidence rebutting the Black Lives Matter’s “systemic police racism” narrative that has gripped the nation.
Mac Donald, who has testified to Congress, regularly engages in civil debate with anyone who contests her claims. But YouTube decided her voice should not be heard, deleting a video of her presentation, “The Truth About Crime, Race & Policing in America.”
The host of the event, the Center for the American Experiment, pushed back, and YouTube restored the video but slapped an age restriction on it.
“I have no idea what there could be in Heather’s presentation that is more unsuitable for consumption by teenagers than most of YouTube’s content,” wrote John Hinderaker, the president of the think tank and a contributor to the popular Powerline blog. “Maybe we will contest this at some point, but for now we may as well celebrate victory.”
But Hindraker said he still has received no explanation for why the video was banned in the first place, or “flagged for review,” as YouTube put it.
It’s clear, however, that Mac Donald’s thorough, fact-based refutation is a threat to the establishment institutions that have become fully invested in the Black Lives Matter narrative that “policing in the U.S. is lethally racist.”
That is flat out false, contends Mac Donald, who presented three types of evidence that rebut Black Lives Matters’ claims about police: the raw numbers, individual cases such as George Floyd’s, and academic research.
“A police officer is up to 30 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer,” she said, citing analyses by mainstream researchers of available data.
In 2015, under President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, a Justice Department analysis of the Philadelphia Police Department found white police officers were less likely than black or Hispanic officers to shoot unarmed black suspects. In 2016, the Washington Post reported a Washington State University study finding that police officers are three times less likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than unarmed white suspects.
Black leaders and scholars, such as Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams and Shelby Steele, who reject the claim that America is “systemically racist” point to the breakdown of families that has accompanied the rise in dependence on welfare since the 1960s. Boys are growing up fatherless, a major indicator of crime and poverty, with more than 70% of blacks now born out of wedlock.
Civil-rights era activist Bob Woodson offers a forum for voices such as Steele’s to counter the narrative of the New York Times “1619 Project” called the “1776 Unites Campaign.” And his Washington, D.C.-based Woodson Center helps support “more than 2,881 neighborhood leaders in 40 states who are tackling issues ranging from homelessness, addiction, to joblessness, youth violence and the need for education and training.”
Framing the death of a black man
Mac Donald noted Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey – after asking last September for more police officers amid rising crime in the downtown business district – helped establish the narrative of George Floyd’s death by immediately declaring that whatever the investigation revealed, “being black in America should not be a death sentence.”
“Mayor Frey’s interpretation of Mr. Floyd’s horrifying end, that it was a function of his race, instantly became universal,” she said.
That idea was coupled with the claim that Floyd’s death was representative of “an epidemic of racially biased police killings of black men.”
“Together these two claims triggered an explosion of violence in Minneapolis and across the country, destroying thousands of livelihoods, turning city streets into war zones and ripping apart the very foundation of law and order,” said Mac Donald, the author of “The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe.”
“Gang shootings and homicides have spiked nationwide as a demoralized police force pulls back from discretionary stops and arrests.”
She noted the nation has “been here before,” following the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, which fueled the Black Lives Matter movement. [BLM was launched in response to the jury acquittal of George Zimmerman in 2013 in the death of Trayvon Martin. BLM’s founders call Zimmerman and the officer involved in the death of Michael Brown, Darren Wilson, “murderers.” However, Zimmerman’s acquittal was confirmed by an investigation supported by open records that uncovered witness tampering and perjury. Wilson’s acquittal was confirmed by Barack Obama’s Justice Department, led by Eric Holder. The DOJ found the iconic “hands up don’t shoot” claim was contradicted by reliable accounts and likely was fabricated. Last week, a third, “secret,” in-depth investigation by a St. Louis County prosecutor reluctantly concluded it could not disprove the self-defense claim.]
What Mac Donald dubbed the “Ferguson Effect” followed. As police backed off from discretionary enforcement, an additional 2,000 blacks lost their lives in 2015-16 compared to the previous period.
The “Minneapolis Effect” is far worse, she said, making the “Ferguson Effect” looking like “child’s play.”
In the weeks following Floyd’s death on Memorial Day, for example, homicides rose 100% in Minneapolis, 200% in Seattle, 240% in Atlanta and 182% in Chicago. In New York City, shootings have more than doubled so far in 2020 compared to last year.
Since Floyd’s death, at least 25 children under age 18 have been fatally shot, nearly all black.
She noted the Black Lives Matter narrative that “policing in the U.S. is lethally racist has been amplified by every mainstream institution in the country.”
“A lot is riding, therefore, on whether that narrative about the police is correct. Not just thousands of lives but the very possibility of a civilized society,” she observed.
What we are now witnessing is the “dismantling of essential criminal justice practices in the name of fighting alleged law-enforcement bias.”
Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has adopted that narrative in his campaign.
She noted Biden’s reaction to Floyd’s death: “Imagine if every time your husband or son, wife or daughter, left the house, you feared for their safety … that is the norm for black people in this nation — they don’t have to imagine it.”
But the data and studies by mainstream researchers show that is not true.
“The idea that the police are wantonly killing black men is a creation of a politicized press and an elite establishment dedicated to the idea that racism is America’s defining trait,” Mac Donald said.
The raw numbers show that every year police fatally shoot about 1,000 people, the vast majority of whom are threatening the officer or bystanders with deadly force.
About 50% are white and 25% are black, and because blacks are about 13% of the population, Black Lives Matters sees bias.
But that is the wrong benchmark, she insisted, arguing police activity must be measured against crime, not population ratios.
“Every news story in mainstream media will compare police activity to a population benchmark, because it’s the only way to back the BLM narrative,” she said.
But officers are deployed to places where people are most victimized, and that is minority neighborhoods.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, blacks, ages 10 to 43, die at a homicide rate 13 times the rate of whites.
Bureau of Justice statistics show that in the 75 largest counties, blacks are 15% of the population but make up about 60% of all murder and robbery defendants.
And, nationwide, blacks commit homicides at eight times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined, Mac Donald noted. In Chicago, 80% of shootings are committed by blacks, although they are less than a third of the population. Whites commit 2%, but are less than a third.
“The biggest determinant of officer behavior is civilian behavior,” she said, emphasizing blacks actually are shot less by the police than their crime rates would predict.
The data show the percentage of white and Hispanic homicide victims who are killed by a police officer is three times higher than the percentage of black homicide victims who are killed by a cop.