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No, Getting Shot By Police is Not a “Leading Cause of Death for Black Men.” August 16, 2019

Posted by geoff in News.

Why you should never trust a “journalist.” Especially an LA Times journalist.

Getting shot by police is a leading cause of death for black men in America

About 1 in 1,000 black men and boys in America can expect to die at the hands of police, according to a new analysis of deaths involving law enforcement officers.

The incendiary headline, and the fact that, apparently, something like 17,000 police shootings of black men and boys are happening every year, leads you to believe that either our country’s law enforcement personnel are trigger-happy racists, . . . or that the author of the article totally screwed it up.

Of course it’s the latter.

During the study period, police use of force accounted for 1.6% of all deaths of black men between the ages of 20 and 24. It was also responsible for 1.2% of deaths of Latino and Native American men. However, police violence accounted for just 0.5% of deaths of white and Asian American men in that age range.


“1.6% of all deaths” doesn’t sound like “a leading cause of death.” While it is surprisingly high, it sounds like a cause of death that is down in the noise.

The other question is how many of those shootings were appropriate. I suspect it’s the vast majority, which would make that stat more relevant to criminal profiling than racism.


1. aliceaitch - August 16, 2019

I have a strong suspicion that The Guardian stopped updating The Counted because the statistics didn’t meet their narrative. The database allowed users to filter “people killed by police in the US” by whether the deceased was armed or unarmed and by race or gender, among other criteria. It also included a description of the incident and links to news articles. They only kept data for 2015 and 2016.

It’s interesting to filter down to a manageable number (say, people who were unarmed) and read through the individual cases. So many of them were fighting with police when they were shot, so many attempts by police to use non-lethal force before having to resort to gunfire.

And, of course, they included domestic violence incidents by off-duty police in their numbers. Also included are accidental bystander deaths that occurred while pursuing a suspect.

All this slant and they still couldn’t make the numbers fit their narrative.

2. Bunk Strutts - August 17, 2019

The author of the L.A. Times story is someone named Amina Khan. I’m surprised that someone with a supposed background in science would post such fabricated statistics. https://ksj.mit.edu/dispatches/2019/05/01/fellow-profile-amina-khan/

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