(24) comments Back to story

Bailey Jones

I assume you reached this conclusion after some fairly exhaustive analyses of police stops, arrests and citizen complaints in thousands of police departments across our great nation. I look forward to reading your peer reviewed paper in next month's American Journal of Social Science Research.

Carlos Ponce

Bailey, according to the FBI there are 686,665 police officers in this country.


Of those how many would you say have had racist encounters on the job? Do you have data to support that claim? Of what is available, the number is very very low therefore not systemic.

Henry Hansen

Based on 2017 FBI statistics blacks accounted for 37.5% of arrests for violent crime. There is definitely a disproportionate interaction between police and blacks in the US. Is this disproportionate interaction caused by systemic racism in police departments? I do not believe so. Are there bad cops that need to be fired because of their personal beliefs and inappropriate treatment of minorities? ABSOLUTELY! Identify them and fire them.

Here is a novel idea for all races. When a police officer tells you to do something, do it. You will wake up alive the next day 100% of the time.

Bailey Jones

Breonna Taylor was asleep in bed. Botham Jean was watching TV. Ahmaud Arbery was jogging. Philando Castile was following police orders to show his license. Here's a novel idea for cops of all races. Stop murdering people. You will wake up not being arrested for murder 100% of the time.

Henry Hansen


There are approximately 50 million interactions a year between police and US citizens. On the average police kill 50 to 70 unarmed people a year. (Numbers have dropped significantly in the last 4 years.) One death is a tragedy, no matter the circumstances. The majority killed are white. The point I am obviously failing to make is that I do not believe, and I do not think the statistics prove, there is SYSTEMIC racism in America's police departments. Again, are there racists cops that have inappropriate behavior? Of course there are and they need to be removed from their departments.

Bailey Jones

Henry - I've known a whole lot of racists in my 62 years. Perhaps you have as well. As far as I know, none of them have killed anyone. I attended whites only schools. As far as I know, no black kids were killed in the process. I've worked at more than one employer who did not hire blacks - I don't believe they killed any black applicants. Point being - there's more to systemic racism than just how many blacks you kill. But the fact that blacks are killed by the police at almost 3X the rate as whites, and are similarly disproportionately represented through out the justice system does indicate systemic racism.

It may be a small minority of police who are the problem. Small problems are easily fixed. Why isn't it being fixed?

Racial discrimination by the police is a crime. It's a violation of the constitution and the oath that every cop takes. There is no excuse for it, and it should be vigorously prosecuted - as vigorously as we prosecute any other crime. It should be easy right? I mean, it almost always happens in front of other cops. Can I get a witness?

Bailey Jones

I'll also point out the obvious. I shouldn't need to, but in our "law and order" obsessed nation the obvious gets lost. Disobeying a cop isn't a capital offense. Neither is resisting arrest - even resisting violently. And cops aren't the judge, jury, and executioner.

Carlos Ponce

"Neither is resisting arrest - even resisting violently." The Supreme Court differs with you in Tennessee v Garner (1985): "the officer may not use deadly force to prevent escape unless 'the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others'." In Atlanta the taser cords were aimed at the officer's face.

Charles Douglas

You know I must say, when I get up do my devotions, and do all my daily maintenance, get my diet coke and settle down, it is a treat to turn my phone on and watch the Coolest Prgressive on this forum go against the Coolest Coservative on this forum! The way you two guys handle yall's debates, contradictions, points and counter-points are CLASSIC, for public interface! Great Debating ......and peep this out, neither one of yall used that CENSORSHIP emoji like I get disgusted and use many times! [wink]

Henry Hansen

Bailey, you are minimizing resisting arrest, which is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas. If you use a deadly weapon or leave in a motor vehicle it is a felony. Check out this video. At what point would you put a lethal choke hold on this thug? https://mail.google.com/mail/u/1?ui=2&ik=d55d484891&attid=0.1&permmsgid=msg-f:1670134449345246759&th=172d826ed45db627&view=att&disp=safe

"Law and order obsessed nation". Yes, thankfully we are a nation of laws that sets us apart from the banana republics of the world.

Bailey Jones

Henry: "Bailey, you are minimizing resisting arrest, which is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas. If you use a deadly weapon or leave in a motor vehicle it is a felony."

What I stated is that resisting arrest isn't a capital offense - and you are agreeing with me, since a Class A misdemeanor is not a capital offense, and neither is a felony except in a very few cases.

No one is suggesting that the police are never justified in using extreme or deadly force. No one is protesting about the justifiable use of extreme or deadly force. What people are protesting about is the UNjustified use of extreme or deadly force. Providing examples where extreme or deadly force is justified does nothing to address the issue. Why don't you find an example of a use of force that YOU feel wasn't justified, and we can talk about how to prevent that from happening in future.

Gary Scoggin

I guess it’s settled then. Let’s move on to world hunger.

George Soros

Wow. Great piece! very thought provoking!

Ted Gillis

Bailey, great comments. You also showed great restraint. I couldn’t have done it without going into full on rant myself.

I agree that racists should not be allowed to serve in public employment, which includes all police departments and branches of the military. If someone wants to continue being a racist, go get a job in the private sector. I assume there are places out there that would hire them. Private security services, right wing societies, even the NRA may need a security guard and then they could then get their picture taken with the cutie spy Maria Butina! Catch the Blue Flu and resign now racists.

Henry Hansen

Ted and Bailey, you guys are going down a slippery slope. I am not defending racism just as I did not defend the Skokie Supreme Court decision. You guys and want to dictate an individual's personal thoughts and beliefs? That is not how we do things in the USA, thank goodness. You can disagree, but you cannot dictate someone's personal beliefs.

Bailey, unfortunately, and sadly, the facts show that especially in America's large cities black males (6.5% to 7% of the US population) commit 35% to 40% of the violent crimes. This is a well established fact. This scenario creates disproportionate interaction with police.

Many of America's large cities are run by black Democratic mayors and police chiefs and have been for many years. If there was systemic racism in their police departments one would think they would have done something to address it.

Finally, it is NEVER ok to become violent with a peace officer. It is a crime called resisting arrest and it never ends well.

Bailey Jones

I acknowledge that blacks commit more crimes than whites - poorer people always commit more crimes than wealthier people. But even when you take that into account there is still disparity. Example, whites and blacks use Marijuana at roughly the same rates, yet a black person is 3x more likely to be arrested than a white person in the same circumstances. There is a lot of data showing systemic racism in our justice system. I mean A LOT of data. If you are open to learning the data driven truth I'd be happy to post links to a few dozen studies. One in particular I like looked at traffic stops. During daylight hours blacks got pulled over much more frequently than whites. At night when cops couldn't tell if the driver was white or black, the numbers evened out. The darker the night the more even the stops. There are literally hundreds of studies like this. If you're interested.

Henry Hansen

Sure. Send the links.

Carlos Ponce

"During daylight hours blacks got pulled over much more frequently than whites." Think about that statement, Bailey. While driving do you note the race of the driver beside you? A traffic officer is looking for traffic infractions, not the race of the driver. To do as you infer, look at the race of the driver, would endanger not only the officer but that of other drivers.

Bailey Jones

Henry, here's 3 dozen - I'll split them up in the following comments:

In March of 2019, researchers compiled and analyzed data from almost 100 million traffic stops in the United States. The researchers were able to confirm racial bias by measuring daytime stops against nighttime stops, when darkness would make it more difficult to ascertain a driver’s race. As with previous studies, they also found that black and Latino drivers are more likely to be searched for contraband — even though white drivers are consistently more likely to be found with contraband. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-020-0858-1

An August 2019 study published by the National Academy of Sciences based on police-shooting databases found that between 2013 and 2018, black men were about 2.5 times more likely than white men to be killed by police, and that black men have a 1-in-1,000 chance of dying at the hands of police. https://www.prisonpolicy.org/scans/police_mort_open.pdf

A 2019 study of 11,000 police stops in DC found that while black people make up 46 percent of the city’s population, they accounted for 70 percent of police stops, and 86 percent of stops that didn’t involve traffic enforcement. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/a-disproportionate-number-of-dc-police-stops-involved-african-americans/2019/09/09/6f11beb0-d347-11e9-9343-40db57cf6abd_story.html

An October 2019 report in the Los Angeles Times found that during traffic stops, “24% of black drivers and passengers were searched, compared with 16% of Latinos and 5% of whites.” The same study also found that police were slightly more likely to find drugs, weapons or other contraband among whites.https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-lapd-searches-20190605-story.html

A 2020 report by the Austin Office of Police Oversight, Office of Innovation and Equity Office found that blacks and Latinos were more likely than whites to be stopped, searched and arrested in similar circumstances. http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/pio/document.cfm?id=334984

Another study found that in surrounding Travis County, Tex., blacks comprised about 30 percent of police arrests for possession of less than a gram of an illicit drug from 2017 to 2018, despite making up only 9 percent of the county’s population even though drug possession rates are the same. https://www.texascjc.org/system/files/publications/Ending%20the%20War%20on%20Drugs%20in%20Travis%20County.pdf

Bailey Jones

A 2019 study of the Columbus, Ohio, police department found that while black people make up 28 percent of the city’s population, about half of the use-of-force incidents by city police were against black residents. https://www.dispatch.com/news/20190821/columbus-police-use-force-disproportionately-against-minorities-study-finds

A 2019 study in Portland, Ore., found that black motorists and pedestrians were much more likely to be stopped, receive tickets and be arrested for drug possession than white pedestrians and motorists. https://www.oregon.gov/cjc/CJC%20Document%20Library/STOP_Report_Final.pdf

A 2019 survey of traffic tickets in Indianapolis and its suburbs found that in the city, black drivers received 1.5 tickets for every white driver. In the suburban town of Fishers, the disparity grew to 4.5 tickets, and in the wealthy suburb of Carmel, black motorists received 18 tickets for every ticket issued to a white motorist. https://www.wishtv.com/news/carmels-own-data-supports-i-team-8-investigation/

A 2020 report on 1.8 million police stops by the eight largest law enforcement agencies in California found that blacks were stopped at a rate 2.5 times higher than the per capita rate of whites. The report also found that black people were far more likely to be stopped for “reasonable suspicion” (as opposed to actually breaking a law) and were three times more likely than any other group to be searched, even though searches of white people were more likely to turn up contraband. https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/california/articles/2020-01-02/report-california-cops-more-likely-to-stop-black-drivers

A 2017 study of 4.5 million traffic stops by the 100 largest police departments in North Carolina found that blacks and Latinos were more likely to be searched than whites, even though searches of white motorists were more likely than the others to turn up contraband. https://arxiv.org/pdf/1607.05376.pdf

According to the Justice Department, between 2012 and 2014, black people in Ferguson, Mo., accounted for 85 percent of vehicle stops, 90 percent of citations and 93 percent of arrests, despite comprising 67 percent of the population. Blacks were more than twice as likely as whites to be searched after traffic stops, even though they proved to be 26 percent less likely to be in possession of illegal drugs or weapons. https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/opa/press-releases/attachments/2015/03/04/ferguson_police_department_report.pdf

Bailey Jones

A 2018 study of traffic stops in Vermont found that black drivers are up to four times more likely than white drivers to be searched during a traffic stop, even though white drivers are 30 to 50 percent more likely to be found with contraband. http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/vpr/files/201803/a_deeper_dive_into_racial_disparities_in_policing_in_vermont_3.26_final.pdf

A study of 237,000 traffic stops in Rhode Island in 2016 found that blacks comprised 11 percent of those stopped, significantly higher than their 6.5 percent share of the population at large. Blacks were less lkely to be stopped at night when race couldn't be https://web.uri.edu/police/files/2016-Rhode-Island-Traffic-Stop-Study.pdf

A study of stop-and-frisk incidents in Boston between 2007 and 2010 that did not result in a citation or arrest found that 63 percent of such stops were of black people. Blacks made up 24 percent of the city’s population. 97.5 percent of these encounters resulted in no arrest or seizure of contraband. https://www.aclum.org/sites/default/files/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/reports-black-brown-and-targeted.pdf

n 2016, the ACLU of Florida released a report that found that black drivers in that state were twice as likely to be pulled over for seat-belt violations as white drivers. https://www.aclu.org/report/racial-disparities-florida-safety-belt-law-enforcement

A 2017 report showed that black residents of Jacksonville are three times more likely to receive a citation for a pedestrian violation than white residents. The report found no correlation between aggressive enforcement of jaywalking laws and where pedestrians were most likely to be struck by cars and killed. Instead, they found that most citations were issued in majority-black neighborhoods. Residents of the three poorest zip codes in the city, for example, were about six times more likely to get pedestrian citation tickets. https://features.propublica.org/walking-while-black/jacksonville-pedestrian-violations-racial-profiling/

A 2015 ACLU study of four cities in New Jersey found that black people were 2.6 to 9.6 times more likely to be arrested than white people for the same low-level offenses. https://www.aclu-nj.org/files/7214/5070/6701/2015_12_21_aclunj_select_enf.pdf

Bailey Jones

In 2018, data from New York City showed that black people are arrested for marijuana at eight times the rate of white people. In Manhattan, it’s 15 times as much. Black neighborhoods produce far more arrests than white neighborhoods, despite data showing a similar rate at which residents complain about marijuana use. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/13/nyregion/marijuana-arrests-nyc-race.html

A 2018 study of SWAT deployments in Maryland found that such deployments were more heavily concentrated in minority neighborhoods, even after adjusting for crime rates. https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/early/2018/08/14/1805161115.full.pdf

According to figures from the National Registry of Exonerations (NER) black people are about five times more likely to go to prison for identical drug possessions than white people and 12 times more likely to be wrongly convicted of drug crimes. http://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Documents/Race_and_Wrongful_Convictions.pdf

Black people comprise 20 percent of the Harris County population but made up 62 percent of the wrongful drug convictions. https://www.texastribune.org/2017/03/07/report/

Between 2003 and 2012, prosecutors in Caddo Parish, La. — one of the most aggressive death penalty counties in the country — struck 46 percent of prospective black jurors with preemptory challenges, vs. 15 percent of nonblacks. https://blackstrikes.com/resources/Blackstrikes_Caddo_Parish_August_2015.pdf

In a 2010 study, “mock jurors” were given the same evidence from a fictional robbery case but then shown alternate security camera footage depicting either a light-skinned or dark-skinned suspect. Jurors were more likely to evaluate ambiguous, race-neutral evidence against the dark-skinned suspect as incriminating and more likely to find the dark-skinned suspect guilty. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1601615

Bailey Jones

While white people make up less than half of the country’s murder victims, a 2003 study by Amnesty International found that about 80 percent of the people on death row in the United States killed a white person. https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/AMR51/046/2003/en/

In a 2012 study, black defendants who kill white victims are seven times as likely to receive the death penalty as are black defendants who kill black victims and black defendants who kill white victims are more than three times as likely to be sentenced to death as are white defendants who kill white victims. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2019913

A 2000 study found that Florida had never executed a white person for killing a black person. http://www.elon.edu/docs/e-web/law/law_review/Issues/Slobogin.pdf

Black people are also more likely to be wrongly convicted of murder when the victim was white. Only about 15 percent of people killed by black people were white, but 31 percent of black exonorees were wrongly convicted of killing white people. More generally, black people convicted of murder are 50 percent more likely to be innocent than white people convicted of murder. http://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Documents/Race_and_Wrongful_Convictions.pdf

Innocent black people are also 3.5 times more likely than white people to be wrongly convicted of sexual assault and 12 times more likely to be wrongly convicted of drug crimes. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/3/7/14834454/exoneration-innocence-prison-racism

A 2017 study of about 48,000 criminal cases in Wisconsin showed that white defendants were 25 percent more likely than black defendants to have their most serious charge dismissed in a plea bargain. Among defendants facing misdemeanor charges that could carry a sentence of incarceration, whites were 75 percent more likely to have those charges dropped, dismissed or reduced to a charge that did not include such a punishment. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3036726

Bailey Jones

A 2013 study found that after adjusting for numerous other variables, federal prosecutors were almost twice as likely to bring charges carrying mandatory minimums against black defendants as against white defendants accused of similar crimes. https://www.yalelawjournal.org/article/mandatory-sentencing-and-racial-disparity-assessing-the-role-of-prosecutors-and-the-effects-of-booker

A 2018 review of academic research found that at nearly all levels of the criminal justice system, the darker the skin of a black person, the greater the disparity in arrests, charges, conviction rates and sentencing. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01419870.2018.1508736?journalCode=rers20

A survey of data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission in 2017 found that when black men and white men commit the same crime, black men on average receive a sentence almost 20 percent longer. https://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/research-and-publications/research-publications/2017/20171114_Demographics.pdf

A 2007 Harvard study found sentencing discrepancies among black people, depending on the darkness of their skin. The study looked at 67,000 first-time felons in Georgia from 1995 to 2002. Light-skinned blacks received sentences of about three and a half months longer than whites. Medium-skinned blacks received a sentence of about a year longer. Dark-skinned blacks received sentences of a year and a half longer. https://scholar.harvard.edu/jlhochschild/publications/skin-color-paradox-and-american-racial-order

A 2019 review of academic literature by the Prison Policy Initiative found that black felony defendants are over 25% more likely than white defendants to be held pretrial when charged with similar crimes. https://www.prisonpolicy.org/blog/2019/10/09/pretrial_race/

Though more than half the people on Mississippi’s gang registry are white, every person prosecuted under the state’s anti-gang law from 2010 to 2017 has been black. https://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2018/mar/29/only-black-people-prosecuted-under-mississippi-gan/

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