Black Lives Matter (BLM) was established in 2013 by a trio of self-identified Marxist revolutionaries. Striving to make white Americans “uncomfortable about institutional racism” and the “structural oppression” that allegedly “prevents so many [black people] from realizing their dreams,” BLM contends that blacks living under America’s “white supremacist system” are routinely targeted for “extrajudicial killings … by police and vigilantes.” That claim has become an article of faith for the millions of American leftists who dutifully parrot BLM’s talking points. The remainder of this article is dedicated to providing hard data which exposes BLM’s worldview as nothing more than a mountain of malicious lies.
Debunking BLM’s Claims About Police Use of Force
A major Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) report in 2001 examined incidents where police in the United States used deadly force to kill criminal suspects between 1976 and 1998. During that 23-year span, 42% of all suspects killed by police were black – a figure that comported precisely with the percentage of violent crimes committed by African Americans during that same period. This is enormously significant because we would expect that in police forces not plagued by systemic racism, officers would shoot suspects of various racial or ethnic backgrounds at rates closely resembling their respective involvement in the types of serious crimes most likely to elicit the use of force by police. And indeed, that is exactly what the evidence shows.
The same BJS report found that in nearly two-thirds of all justifiable homicides by police during 1976-98, the officer’s race and the suspect’s race were the same. When a white or Hispanic officer killed a suspect, that suspect was usually (63% of the time) white or Hispanic as well. And when a black officer killed a suspect, that suspect was usually black (81% of the time).
The BJS report also examined the rate at which officers killed suspects of other racial or ethnic backgrounds. In 1998, the “black-officer-kills-black-felon” rate was 32 per 100,000 black officers, more than double the rate at which white and Hispanic officers killed black felons (14 per 100,000). That same year, the rate at which white and Hispanic officers killed white or Hispanic felons (28 per 100,000) was much higher than the “black-officer-kills-white-or-Hispanic-felon” rate of 11 per 100,000.
In 1999, criminologists Geoffrey Alpert and Roger Dunham confirmed once again that police officers were more likely to use force against suspects of their own racial group, than against suspects from another racial group.
A 2011 BJS study which covered the period from 2003 to 2009 sheds further light on the issue of police use of force against people of various racial and ethnic backgrounds. Of all suspects who are known to have been killed by police during that 7-year time frame, 41.7% were white, 31.7% were black, and 20.3% were Hispanic. It is also worth noting that during the 2003-2009 period—when blacks were 31.7% of all suspects killed by an officer—blacks accounted for about 38.5% of all arrests for violent crimes, which are the types of crimes most likely to trigger potentially deadly confrontations with police. These numbers do not in any way suggest a lack of restraint by police in their dealings with black suspects. On the contrary, they strongly suggest exactly the opposite.
In 2015, a Justice Department study of the Philadelphia Police Department found that black officers were 67 percent more likely than their white colleagues to mistakenly shoot an unarmed black suspect, and Hispanic officers were 145 percent more likely to do the same. That same year, a study of the New York Police Department by criminology professor Greg Ridgeway found that black officers were 3.3 times more likely than their white peers to discharge their guns in the course of their work. So much for the notion of trigger-happy white cops.
In any given year, a mere 0.6 percent of black men report that physical force of any kind – including mild actions like pushing and grabbing – is used against them by the police. The corresponding figure for white men is approximately 0.2 percent. Though both figures are infinitesimally small, critics of the police are quick to complain that the figure for blacks is three times higher than the figure for whites. But as National Review points out, that disparity is fully accounted for by the fact that “black men commit violent crimes at much higher rates than white men,” as evidenced by data from the annual National Crime Victimization Survey.
The available data indicate that a mere 0.08 percent of black men and white men alike are injured by police in any given year. This figure includes injuries sustained as a result of police actions that are legally justified, and often necessary, in order to thwart criminal behavior.
In a 2018 working paper titled “An Empirical Analysis of Racial Differences in Police Use of Force,” Harvard economist Roland Fryer, who is African American, reported that police officers in Houston were nearly 24 percent less likely to shoot black suspects than white suspects. In a separate analysis of officer shootings in three Texas cities, six Florida counties, and the city of Los Angeles, Fryer found that: (a) officers were 47 percent less likely to discharge their weapon without first being attacked if the suspect was black, than if the suspect was white; (b) black and white individuals shot by police were equally likely to have been armed at the time of the shootings; (c) white officers were no more likely to shoot unarmed blacks than unarmed whites; (d) black officers were more likely to shoot unarmed whites than unarmed blacks; and (e) black officers were more likely than white officers to shoot unarmed whites. There is no evidence of anti-black racism in any of these findings, though some of them do seem to suggest an anti-white bias.
A 2019 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that white officers are no more likely than black or Hispanic officers to shoot black civilians. “In fact,” writes Manhattan Institute scholar Heather Mac Donald, the study found that “if there is a bias in police shootings after crime rates are taken into account, it is against white civilians.” Specifically, Mac Donald adds, the authors of the study compiled a database of 917 officer-involved fatal shootings in 2015 and found that 55 percent of the victims were white, 27 percent were black, and 19 percent were Hispanic.
Each and every year, without exception, whites who are shot and killed by police officers in the U.S. far outnumber blacks and Hispanics who meet that same fate. In 2017, for instance, 457 whites, 223 blacks, and 179 Hispanics were killed by police officers in the line of duty. In 2018, the corresponding figures were 399 whites, 209 blacks, and 148 Hispanics. And in 2019, the totals were 370 whites, 235 blacks, and 158 Hispanics. There is not a hint of anti-black racism anywhere in these figures.
When we compare black rates of violent crime, with the rate at which blacks are shot and killed by police officers, we find that blacks are represented among those shooting victims at rates significantly lower than we would have expected in light of their crime rates. For example, in 2017, blacks were just 23.6% of all people shot dead by police, even though they were arrested for 37.5% of all violent crimes. The following year, blacks were 26.3% of those fatally shot by police, even as they were arrested for fully 37.4% of violent crimes.
According to Heather Mac Donald: “The per capita rate of officers being feloniously killed is 45 times higher than the rate at which unarmed black males are killed by cops. And an officer’s chance of getting killed by a black assailant is 18.5 times higher than the chance of an unarmed black getting killed by a cop.”
Debunking BLM’s Claims About Interracial Crime Against Blacks
In 2012 and 2013, blacks in the U.S. committed an annual average of 560,600 violent crimes (excluding homicide) against whites, while whites committed a yearly average of 99,403 violent crimes against blacks. In other words, blacks were the attackers in about 85 percent of all violent crimes involving blacks and whites, while whites were the attackers in 15 percent.
When white offenders committed crimes of violence (excluding homicide) against either whites or blacks in 2012-13, they targeted white victims 95.8 percent of the time, and they went after black victims a mere 4.1 percent of the time. By contrast, when black offenders committed crimes of violence against either whites or blacks in 2012-13, they targeted white victims a whopping 48.5 percent of the time, and they went after black victims 51.4 percent of the time. If we factor into the equation the relative sizes of America’s white and black populations, we find that, statistically, any given black person in 2012-13 was about 27 times more likely to attack a white, than vice versa.
In more recent years, the disproportionate prevalence of black-on-white crime has only gotten worse. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2018 there were 593,598 interracial violent victimizations (excluding homicide) between blacks and whites in the United States. Blacks committed 537,204 of those interracial felonies, or 90.4 percent, while whites committed 56,394 of them, or about 9.5 percent.
When white offenders committed crimes of violence against either whites or blacks in 2018, they targeted white victims 97.3 percent of the time, and they went after black victims 2.6 percent of the time. By contrast, when black offenders committed crimes of violence against either whites or blacks during that same year, they targeted white victims 58 percent of the time, and they went after black victims 42 percent of the time.
City Journal reports that according to Justice Department data, blacks in 2018 were overrepresented among the perpetrators of offenses classified as “hate crimes” by a whopping 50 percent—while whites were underrepresented by 24 percent.
The facts presented above can lead us to only one possible conclusion: BLM’s claim that African Americans are routinely targeted for “extrajudicial killings … by police and vigilantes” is a monstrous lie. The purpose of the lie is to cause Americans of all races to detest their own country, so as to promote a desire to raze the nation’s traditions to the ground, and to then erect a new Marxist utopia upon its ruins.
 The annual violent-crime arrest statistics for 2003-2009, broken down by race, can be found here: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.
 Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey, 2012-13, Special Tabulation, Table 10.
 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Criminal Victimization, 2018, Table 14.