On Saturday, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, a black man who was angry at police and possibly mentally ill, brutally shot and killed two police officers in Brooklyn, NY. Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were guilty of nothing but being in the wrong place at the wrong time and their weapons were never drawn, but nonetheless, they paid the ultimate price for the recent police killings of unarmed black men.
It’s a race thing say many. Blame is being placed at the feet of Al Sharpton, of Barack Obama, of the protesters. Everyone, it seems, is to blame, except for the lone gunman. The result, unfortunately, will be that police will declare war and all black people will pay.
Is the NYPD’s proposed war on black people justified? Who is actually killing police and how often does it happen?
You might be surprised to know that felonious killings of police are dramatically down from its peak in the early 1970s. According to the FBI, in 2013, 27 law enforcement officers died from felonious injuries which occurred in the line of duty. Yes, that’s 27 too many, and 2013 was an abnormally low year. On average, about 10 of every 100,000 officers are feloniously killed each year.
Despite what the media might lead you to believe, black people are not the biggest enemy of law enforcement. In 2013, 15 of the alleged police assailants were white. 11 were black and two were unknown.
Granted, these numbers do not account for the fact that black people only make up for about 13 percent of the population, but it could easily be explained by the fact that black people are far more likely to have negative encounters with the police, even when unwarranted. They are also far more likely to be arrested for the same crime. They are more likely to be tried and convicted and they serve longer jail sentences. Black people are also killed by cops at at least four times the rate as white people.
We do have a serious problem in this country. Black people are seen as a single entity while white people are seen as individuals. Because of that, a police officer is more likely to see a random black person as just like the last criminal he or she busted.
As in most situations, when people start seeing each other as people, animosity fades. It is wrong that police should be targeted under any circumstance, but the onus is on the police department to fix its race relations problems. It’s time for them to start community policing again and to learn the names of the people they are allegedly in place to protect.