Why the people shot by New York City police are overwhelmingly black and Hispanic

The New York Civil Liberties Union is again charging that the New York City Police Department uses deadly force disproportionately against minorities. It is, of course, a vicious evil Communist lie. (Do I mean that the NYCLU are literally Communists? No. I mean that they are made out of the same stuff as Communists, and are pursuing the Communist-mandated destruction of the normal social order in a way that will “sell” in America.) Heather Mac Donald writes in yesterday’s the New York Post:

When cops use their weapons, blacks and Hispanics will disproportionately be their targets, so long as blacks and Hispanics make up more than 98 percent of all shooting perps, as they were in the first six months of this year. And, again, the odds are that the civilians the police are rushing to protect are also black or Hispanic.

But even if you (like the NYCLU) care only about the criminal part of the minority population, the best way to decrease the number who are shot by the police each year is to bring down the minority crime rate.

Instead, the cop-attack industry, including most of the media, relentlessly tells cops: You are a racist, you are a scourge on the black community. At some point, police officers may decide the fight isn’t worth the candle—and stop working so diligently to protect law-abiding minority New Yorkers. And it will be hard to blame them.

As I was reading this (and the whole piece, reproduced below, is worth reading), the thought struck me: could we imagine a straightforward article like this on minority crime rates in the British press—or indeed in the news media of any western European country or Canada? Can we imagine a British “conservative” columnist stating the British equivalent of “Blacks and Hispanics make up more than 98 percent of all shooting perps”? The answer is no. Even the “conservatives” in these countries are so apologetic for being alive, so fearful and shamefaced about going anywhere near negative facts about nonwhites, that they would be unable to state these truths in the simple forthright way that Mac Donald has done here.

August 11, 2008

THE New York Civil Liberties Union last week again proved that it doesn’t care about the lives of black (or Hispanic) New Yorkers, by launching another tedious lawsuit against the NYPD.

The lawsuit seeks an official tally of the race of civilians shot by the police since 1998—but everyone already knows what those numbers would show. And all but the most pig-headed know why.

The great majority of those shot by the police are black or Hispanic—for the simple reason that street-level crime is overwhelmingly committed by black or Hispanic perps.

More important—though not to the NYCLU—is the fact that the overwhelming majority of the victims are also black or Hispanic. That means that stopping crime is first and foremost a lifeline for the city’s minority community.

The silence about these facts by those who claim to be guardians of minority rights is shameful.

Until the black crime rate is brought down, all police activity—stops, arrests, life-saving assistance to crime victims and the rare officer shooting—will fall disproportionately on blacks as well.

The NYCLU’s suit alleges that the NYPD is “hiding” race data on officer shootings. Nonsense. Every time the police brief the media on an officer shooting, they discuss the victim’s race.

Yes, since 1999, the department’s firearms-discharge reports have omitted aggregate data on the race both of officers who fire their weapons and of their targets. But it compiles those internal reports to evaluate tactics in officer shootings; the race of the victim is irrelevant to such matters as whether the cop properly took cover before firing his gun.

That said, then-Commissioner Howard Safir’s decision to stop including racial data in the department’s shooting analyses probably was influenced by the furor over the tragic and aberrant killing of Amadou Diallo in February 1999. There is little reason other than bureaucratic inertia and the NYPD’s bunker mentality not to include racial data—however irrelevant—in its internal shooting reports. Omitting it merely gives the anti-cop demagogues another fake issue with which to divert attention from the real policing story.

Which, again, is the wildly disproportionate role of blacks in crime, including weapons assaults.

In the first six months of 2008, 787 people were shot by 576 gunmen. Eighty-three percent of those shooters were black, according to victims and witnesses, even though blacks make up only 24 percent of the city’s population. Nearly 78 percent of the victims were black. Add in Hispanics, and you account for 98 percent of all shooting perps and 97.5 percent of their victims.

The police, by contrast, shot 12 suspects, mostly armed, in the first six months of 2008, roughly 90 percent of them black and Hispanic. (Whites and Asians, roughly 45 percent of city residents, are virtually absent from our gun battles: They made up 1.5 percent of shooting suspects in the first half of 2008, and 2.3 percent of gun victims.)

In justifying the lawsuit, NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn told The New York Times: “In a city where there have been lots of concerns about blacks being shot, [the police racial-shooting data] is information that needs to come out.”

Amazingly, he means “concerns about blacks being shot” by the police, not by criminals. Yet in 2007, of the city’s 496 homicide victims, 321 (65 percent) were black, and nearly all their killers were other blacks.

The NYCLU protested none of those black-on-black shootings; it treats them as the natural order of things. Only when cops, trying to protect law-abiding New Yorkers, shoot an armed perp or (in rare instances) an unarmed civilian does the anti-cop establishment snap to attention. Yet the police killed only 10 suspects in 2007 while trying to stop crimes.

The math is clear: If you actually care about saving black lives, go after criminals, not the cops.

It’s the NYPD, not its reality-resistant critics, that has saved thousands of black lives since the early 1990s. Through a combination of obsessive, data-driven management and true grit, the department has brought the crime rate down to 40-year lows. Had murders remained at their 1993 level—1,927 killings—13,698 more people, overwhelmingly black and Hispanic, would have been dead by 2005.

Even as the NYPD achieved its historic crime rout, it brought its own use of force sharply down. In 1973, a department of 29,000 officers killed 54 civilians—1.82 fatal shootings per 1,000 officers. In 2007, a 36,000-officer department killed 10 people—0.28 fatal shootings per 1,000 officers.

When cops use their weapons, blacks and Hispanics will disproportionately be their targets, so long as blacks and Hispanics make up more than 98 percent of all shooting perps, as they were in the first six months of this year. And, again, the odds are that the civilians the police are rushing to protect are also black or Hispanic.

But even if you (like the NYCLU) care only about the criminal part of the minority population, the best way to decrease the number who are shot by the police each year is to bring down the minority crime rate.

Instead, the cop-attack industry, including most of the media, relentlessly tells cops: You are a racist, you are a scourge on the black community. At some point, police officers may decide the fight isn’t worth the candle—and stop working so diligently to protect law-abiding minority New Yorkers. And it will be hard to blame them.

Heather Mac Donald is a writer at the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal and author of “Are Cops Racist?”

[End of article]

- end of initial entry -

Paul K. writes:

An unwillingness to acknowledge the fact that blacks commit the great preponderance of violent crime has hampered police work for decades.

In the mid 1960s, rates of armed robbery on New York City’s small businesses were skyrocketing. These crimes were vicious affairs in which business owners were terrorized, beaten, and often cold-bloodedly executed even after they had given up their money. In April 1968, Police Commissioner Howard Leary created the Stakeout Unit (SOU), an elite 40-man squad of the NYPD’s finest marksmen. These officers were secreted in the back rooms of businesses that had been routinely victimized. When robbers came in, the officers would pop out with guns drawn and make an arrest. If the robbers tried to fight it out, they were shot.

Though the program was very popular with storeowners, it was shutdown in June 1973. The New York Times wrote, “Although a department spokesman said that ‘efficiency’ was the only reason for disbanding the stakeout unit, it was criticized because of the large number of holdup men it killed and because so many of them were black.” (NYT, June 20, 1973, p. 89.)

There had never been a charge of unnecessary force or wrongful death against the SOU, but of 43 holdup men shot, only two were white. In other words, 95 percent of these predators were black, and most had lengthy criminal records. The unit’s CO, Lt. Jim Brady, pointed out quite logically that his officers were not seeking out black perpetrators. The perpetrators were coming to them. His officers had no choice in the matter.

SOU veteran Jim Cirillo said, “During that time all you heard on the radio was ‘Be on the lookout for two black males, with guns… three black males… Mutt and Jeff team, two black males.’ That was all that was pulling the robberies at that time! What the hell did they expect? We were dying for some Irish-Italian kid to come in, we’d have blown him right out of his socks to show we were equal opportunity shooters!”

Nevertheless, the highly effective unit was shut down rather than accept the racial reality.

LA replies:

Were these 40 officers on this duty full time? I mean, is that the way they spent 40 hours a week, hiding in the back room of a bodega waiting for something to happen? That’s a pretty tough and unrewarding job.

43 suspects dead in five years doesn’t sound like much. But I suppose there were many more incidents in which robberies were stopped without the perpetrators being killed.

Paul K. replies:

Though the Stakeout Unit was authorized for forty men, it was rarely fully staffed because of its extremely high standards for qualification. (Six of its members were national shooting champions.) With shifts, sick leave, days off, and other assignments, there might be seven or eight two-man teams mounting stakeouts at any given time. Because of the level of alertness they had to maintain, as well as the time required to transport them to and from locations, they did five hours a day on stakeout.

The figure of 43 comprises 19 wounded and 24 killed and is from the New York Magazine article. Jim Cirillo accepted this figure and mentioned that only two of the men shot were white. Some SOU veterans have said that they believe it is a low count and that they don’t remember ANY whites having been shot.

AL writes:

Actually, the UK press is somewhat less PC on racial issues than the American press. They are more likely to mention the race of a non-white criminal and major national newspapers have published articles about how 70 percent of muggers and 70 percent of car thieves in London are black. They also gave intense nationwide coverage to a Pakistani on white racial attack on an elderly WWII veteran, which played a major role in stoking the white backlash that put multiple nationalist councilors in office for the first time since the 70’s. Tabloid newspapers regularly publish front page articles about how immigrants use disproportionate government benefits, commit disproportionate crime and do not assimilate into the indigenous culture. The U.S. equivalent would be USA today or the Wall Street Journal having a front page headline like “Immigrants more likely on welfare” or “Prisons full of illegals,” something that has never happened and will never happen.

LA replies:

Yes, I have to qualify what I said. You are correct that British people as a general matter seem to have been, at least in the past, notably more straightforward about race and less guilty and less hung up talking about race differences than Americans—sometimes shockingly so. And, yes, it’s true that some papers, like the Mail, regularly publish sensational headlines with bad news about minorities.

But the problem is that these sensational headlines and reports never seem to be connected with a meaningful argument. This is because the British frankness about race is part and parcel of what has been wrong with British conservatism all along. British conservatives don’t believe in truth; they believe in being a certain way. Why? Because it’s their way. If they speak frankly about other races, it’s because that’s part of their way. But if their way is challenged and attacked on the basis of a principle, say a liberal principle, they’re not able to defend it on the basis of principle, and so find themselves on the defensive, not knowing how to reply. What they do is assert attitudes. Thus they are a sort of a degenerate type of Burkean.

Take Charles Moore. I haven’t read much or anything of him in recent years, but I remember in the past that while he would make strong and bracing statements about immigration or Muslims, it would be on the intellectual level of “people like us don’t like people like them.” And, again, when that type of attitudinal conservatism runs into a formal ideology that says, “It’s wrong to believe that people like us don’t like people like them,” the conservatives have no meaningful reply. All they can do is wiggle around the edges of the liberal ideology. They’re unable to confront it directly. Another example of such attitudinal conservatism is Martin Amis, who makes shocking statements about how he wants to hurt Muslims but then it turns out there’s nothing there. He has lots of anti-Muslim attitude, but no principle that would defend Britain from Islam.

Another example of British attitudinal conservatism, transplanted to our shores, is John Derbyshire, who, for example, supported the invasion of Iraq, not for any larger reason of national defense, but because, as he repeatedly and bloodthirstily put it, he wanted to punish Muslims for 9/11. Then when things didn’t work out so well in Iraq, he retracted his earlier support for the invasion, since his support was only based on a feeling anyway. Similarly, Derbyshire thinks we should stop Muslim immigration, not because Islam as such is a problem, but because the Muslim population at this moment happens to contain a large number of terrorists. In fact he denies that Islam is a problem, and in classic anti-intellectual fashion he has said that those who do think it’s a problem “need to get a life.” Such is the anti-intellectualism that Derbyshire was permitted to import into America’s leading conservative magazine.

It has often been said that the British dislike assertions of general truths. This has been a good thing, in that it has made them resistant to the modern ideologies that so seduced the Continent. But it can also be a bad thing, in that, if an ideology succeeds in taking over their society, as PC/multiculturalism/modern liberalism/tolerance worship has done, their resolutely non-ideological approach to things—their recoil from general concepts and logical thinking as distinct from pragmatic thinking—makes them helpless to combat it.

So the impact of modern liberalism on the British is perhaps not seen in the tabloid press so much as in the intellectuals, elite journalists, and politicians. My impression is that they are unable to deal frankly and straightforwardly with racial and cultural realities, even on the level of crime rates, and to relate them in a bold way to any larger conclusions, the way Mac Donald does in her article. I may be unfair in saying this, but offhand I’m not aware of any British equivalent even of Heather Mac Donald, i.e., a mainstream conservative who is not at all a racialist, but who makes cogent, unafraid arguments about negative nonwhite behaviors.

Alex A. writes from England (August 13):

Apropos your comments on Heather MacDonald’s report on “cop bashing” in the New York Post, and the reluctance of the British press to examine the issues she discusses, perhaps the British equivalent to Heather MacDonald is someone like Melanie Phillips.

Phillips has lots to say about the incidence of “racial minority” crime, the malevolent impact of Islam on British society, the scourge of political correctness and so forth. But she never builds on her analysis of political and social problems by proposing robust solutions. As you have observed many times, she seems afraid to follow through.

Heather MacDonald’s intellectual rigour and fearless honesty—at least on the topic of race relations—is not matched by journalists in “serious” British newspapers. While the tabloids sometimes do a good job in exposing what sentimental socialists would prefer to hide under the rug, they don’t suggest answers to the questions they raise. A tabloid hue and cry seldom leads to any effective measures against the all embracing liberal permissiveness that ought to be diminished.

Gintas writes:

Re Alex’s comment on the difference Mac Donald and British columnists and tabloids, what we see in a tabloid hue and cry in Britain is the fear, the adrenaline surge of danger. Yes, the fear is felt, but there is no courage—a moral virtue, not a biological instinct—actually to do something about the danger. They are biologically alive, but morally dead. For all we know they could be scared screeching monkeys in a cage.

LA replies:

Great insight.

August 13

Gintas writes:

Regarding Paul K.’s account of New York City’s Stakeout Unit in the late ’60s and early ’70s, we need Bernie Goetz, the one-man Mobile Stake Out Unit.

LA replies:

As a one-man Mobile Stakeout Unit, Goetz couldn’t compare with Charles Bronson in “Death Wish.” Unfortunately, he was a fictional character.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 12, 2008 03:36 PM | Send

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