The study, published the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was titled, “Officer characteristics and racial disparities in fatal officer-involved shootings.” The study gained national prominence when it became the subject of a widely-disseminated article by Heather MacDonald in the Wall Street Journal titled, “The Myth of Systemic Police Racism.”
In explaining why they were asking for the article to be retracted, the authors claimed the “continued misuse” in the media, specifically citing MacDonald’s article.
Oddly, the authors stand by their original conclusion that the race of the officer does not appear to affect whether an officer is likely to shoot a suspect, regardless of their race.
At question, according to the authors, is the criticism of the bench marking that they used to determine that answer.
And this, if you have been following the attacks on anyone discussing the issue of systemic racism in policing is why the authors want to pull their report.
Cesario and Johnson used violent crimes committed by suspects in their calculations and this has been a trigger for those claiming systemic racism for years.
While there is very little scientific debate on what to use, those that scream racism use the ” overall population” to say that blacks are more likely to be shot.
Called “junk science” by researchers, no one in their right mind would compare average citizens in the population that may never encounter law enforcement to police shootings. Simply put, those subject to being shot by police are those encountering police and specifically those attacking police.
We remember a day, like a month ago, where no one in their right mind would question that.
But with cancel culture taking over, including the Michigan State Researcher Stephen Hsu having to resign for citing this very research, the authors likely don’t want to face to the same heat.
While it’s hard to understand a culture that refuses to pay attention to peer reviewed scientific research, this is where we are today.
Discussing their decision to use violent crime as a benchmark, the authors stated the following:
“….Indeed, benchmarking approaches (in which the number of Black and White civilians shot is compared to the proportion of Black and White civilians of some relevant pool) have been widely used for decades. Benchmarking calculations and their derivations generally point to the same conclusion: Relative to the proportion of Black civilians in the U.S., Black Americans are shot more than we would expect. However, relative to various proxies for the proportion of Black civilians who commit violent crime, Black Americans are not shot more than we would expect. This has been consistently shown for the majority of fatal shootings (90-95%) where the citizen shot is an immediate threat to an officer or other citizen (Cesario et al., 2019; Fyfe, 1980; Goff et al., 2016; Inn et al., 1977; Tregle et al., 2019; Worrall et al., 2020)….”
And if you are wondering why the authors made this request, look no further than their own words:
“One problem with such benchmarking approaches is that debate arises about whether it is more informative to compare the number of civilians shot to overall population proportions or to proxies for violent crime proportions.”
A lot of things don’t leave us speechless but this does.