The Police Problem Isn’t A Police Problem
P1. Overall, more white people than black people are killed in police shootings because, in America, there are nearly one hundred and sixty billion more white people than black people. But when the population is proportionalized black people are twice as likely to get killed over white people. The killings, according to data, are not a racism problem. The problem here is that America has a violence and gun problem causing many police to walk around in fear.
P2. In 2014, U.S. residents committed more than 14,000 murders along with about 1.15 million other violent crimes. 68% of the homicides were caused by firearms. This is not surprising; considering there are 300 million guns owned by residents of the United States. This raises the concern that police should often fear their own lives considering, most of the people they encounter are in fact carrying a weapon on them. Not only that but police are usually in a crime ridden areas, trying to diminish the crime rate. So this stirs up the thought that black people are killed more often than white people because of the impoverished areas they live in; which make it more likely for a police to encounter a black person over a white person.
P3. Although this is a good point they are not necessarily true. The Virginia Police Department conducted a study of what red flags police look for before stopping someone at a traffic stop. The study determined whether the police stopping the victim had anything to do with race or socioeconomic factors. The three finding the study found was Virginia Police Officers stopped people based of off the crime rate in the neighborhood, the searching was determined from the percentage of the black population, and the percentage of stops that ended in an arrest was an impact of both the percentage of Black population and the crime rate of the area. This racial bias is not only apparent in the Virginia Police Department’s study, but also in New York City’s racial biased “stop and frisk” program. The Stop and Frisk Program was designed to allow police officers to stop anyone that they deemed suspicious. During the first three months of this 83% of the people that ended up being stopped and frisked were minorities. Leaving only a maximum of only potentially 17% white people being stopped which is tremendously less. This study speaks loudly on the very obvious targeting that happens from police.
P4. There is also the claim that black people are more likely than white people to flee from police, resist arrest, and attack police. When put in life or death situations police have only a couple seconds to determine whether or not they should shoot. In some cases police officers should shoot, but they react too late; and in other cases police officers shoot for the wrong reason. Many Americans believe it isn’t fair to name police as racist because they are put in tough situations where sometimes it is hard to always make the right decision. Josh Correll, a psychology professor from the University of Colorado, ran test with a video game. His findings showed police officers avoid shooting unarmed targets of all races, but as soon as they were allowed to shoot they would shoot more quickly against blacks suspects over white ones. This shows that officers do display some racial bias in shooting suspects.His research found that the public and police are less likely to view black people as “innocent.” In another study of Cornell’s, police officers and people of the community were challenged to make fast impulse shooting decisions with speed and accuracy. The data from both groups of people showed a racial bias in the speed of their shooting. The police and community members shot more black targets than white targets, and the police and community members shot so fast that it was deemed an instinct.
P5. America has had a problem with racism for centuries now. Everyday black people have to overcome their racial-based discrepancy in schooling, employment, economic status, etc.. Black people are more likely than white people to be unemployed, less likely to finish high school, and more likely to live in poverty or go to jail. A study done by a sociology major, shows that employers are less likely to hire someone with “Black sounding names” than someone with a “white sounding name” even when their applications were identical. Similarly enough, only a racial bias can explain why a white man with felony charges is more likely to get an interview than a black man with the same qualifications and a clean record. Even black children get treated unfairly compared to white kids. Tamir Rice for example a little boy that was playing with a gun, at the park that had an orange tag on it. The orange tags indicates that the gun is a toy gun. The officer shows up to the park and within two seconds the officer shoots Tamir Rice, leaving him dead at the park. In the same instance two boys from Ohio were playing on the street with BB guns. The police was called but this time they did not see an orange tag on the boys gun. The officers did not draw their weapons on the two boys. Instead, the officers approached the boys and arrested them. The same incidents in both situations, but the single black boy with a specified toy gun was killed in two seconds; while the two white boys were calmly approached and arrested.
P6. Black people are seen as a threat in not only police related situations, but also in communities. Yes, white people are shot more often than black people, but that doesn’t account for the 160 billion more white people in the world. Yes, black people get shot more because police are usual in crime ridden areas; so there are more encounters with black people over white people; but the reason they do get shot is because of the racial bias police have implemented throughout their training and work life not because they are doing something wrong. Research shows that police officers gain a cognitive bias based on their instinct. Police are more inclined to shoot at black males over white males even if the reasoning is the exact same.
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