A recent report by ProPublica finds that young black males are 21 time more likely to be shot and killed by police than are others. But the report does not take note that young black men are also disproportionately involved in crime.
The ProPublica report found that of the “1,217 deadly police shootings from 2010 to 2012 captured in the federal data show that blacks, age 15 to 19, were killed at a rate of 31.i7 per million, while just 1.47 per million white males in that age range died at the hands of police.”
ProPubica goes on to say that the statistics it uncovered supports the claim from African Americans that they are unfairly targeted by police. “Blacks are being killed at disturbing rates when set against the rest of the American population,” the news site contends.
A professor from Colin Loftin, University at Albany told ProPublica, “No question, there are all kinds of racial disparities across our criminal justice system.”
“The finding that young black men are 21 times as likely as their white peers to be killed by police is drawn from reports filed for the years 2010 to 2012, the three most recent years for which FBI numbers are available,” ProPublica wrote.
But there is another side of the story that ProPublic did not note; black youths seem far more likely to be involved in crime.
A study by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention at the Department of Justice published in 2012 found that black youths committed 6 times more murders, 3 times more rapes, 10 times more robberies and 3 times more assaults than white youths.
In 2009 the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported similar statistics in its Uniform Crime Reports. The FBI said, “In the year 2008, black youths, who make up 16% of the youth population, accounted for 52% of juvenile violent crime arrests, including 58% for homicide and 67% for robbery.”
Additionally, the number of African Americans shot by police has actually declined in the last decade. In the 1980s about half of those killed by police were blacks. Today that percentage has fallen to 30 percent.
Whatever the cause of these statistical disparities, ProPublica did its readers a disservice not to include them in its report to make it clear to readers that at last some of the killings may be as a result of more criminal involvement.