The Star Democrat Editorial, “Police reforms,” at once, said everything and nothing about the topic in question. Introducing the brutal murder of Delmar Police Officer Keith Heacook to the debate of police reforms, while needed, falls short. The failure to identify the race of his assailant undermines any effort to reach an honest solution to the problem.
Cpl. Heacook’s murder will not receive the national attention that it deserves, because the murder of a white police officer by an African American goes against the mainstream media’s narrative. What is completely ignored is the fact that, among known suspects, African Americans kill more police officers than do whites. It is a reflection of the violence in African American communities that the media choose to ignore.
For that reason, the statistical percentages cited in the editorial are meaningless, and serve only to inflame anyone with an interest in “social justice.” When statistics are used to make a point, those statistics must be conveyed with context. African Americans, at 13% of the population, are responsible for over 50% of homicides in this country. That context necessarily alters the perception of the 27% of fatal police shootings involving African Americans.
Those who argue that African Americans are killed by police at a rate greater than whites can only do so from an outcome based perspective, that ignores a demonstrated level of violence that translates to resistance during an encounter with police. Every time a person, of any color or ethnicity, disobeys the lawful order of a police officer or resists arrest, they trigger an escalation of force, because police cannot afford to lose control of a situation or cede tactical advantage.
Statistics gleaned from nationwide Uniform Crime Reporting and the Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted Program must be part of any comprehensive effort to reduce violent encounters and better protect police and those they interact with in adversarial situations. Anything less will fail because you cannot resolve “inequities” if you dishonestly quantify grievances.