Bill O’Reilly has come up with a new pretext to delegitimize #BlackLivesMatter protesters. It’s a study that claims police officers are more reluctant to shoot blacks than whites.
O’Reilly’s guest was Professor David Klinger, a former police officer and University of Missouri-St. Louis professor of criminology who has written a book on the use of deadly force.
Klinger discussed a study in a lab at Washington State University in which volunteers – police, citizens and military – took part in “scenarios being played out,” presumably of crimes being committed or looking that way.
“It turns out that the participants were slower to shoot when a black suspect who was portrayed on a screen presented a deadly threat as compared to white and Hispanic suspects,” Klinger said.
Klinger didn’t know exactly why that was but the “working hypothesis,” he explained, was that people have concerns about racial bias and “concerns about being viewed as prejudiced if they reacted too quickly to a threat from a black suspect so they waited to make sure there was in fact a gun, as opposed to a cell phone or a wallet.”
O’Reilly made sure to highlight that if you were Asian or Caucasian, “you were more likely to be “shot.” “The message is out there,” O’Reilly said, “that some feel the American police actually have it in for African Americans in a very violent way. Do you believe that?” You didn’t need to know anything about O’Reilly’s past attitude toward the #BlackLivesMatter protesters to know what he believes.
And while I know that some feel that the police “have it in for African Americans,” I’d argue that the broader message of the movement is about the police actions toward African Americans, not their individual feelings, per se. After all, I haven’t heard about a lot of unarmed white people killed by the police lately, have you?
Klinger said that people need to understand that police officers don’t want to shoot anybody and that in the “vast, vast” number of cases where officers are justified to shoot, they don’t. He continued, “In particular, when it comes to shooting at black citizens, officers – many of them – have told me that they really didn’t want to shoot because they understand that there will be a more robust critique, could be accused of racism, so on and so forth.”
Wait a minute! They don’t want to shoot because they’re worried about the repercussions toward themselves? Not that they were worried that maybe it wasn’t necessary and that they might be over-reacting?
O’Reilly didn’t seem to notice. He said, “So the contention that the American police are hunting down black people to kill them is not true in your opinion.”
But regardless of how anybody feels, the facts are that a disproportionate number of African Americans are killed by the police. A ProPublica analysis found that young black males are 21 times more likely to be shot dead by the police than their white counterparts. As for the “blacks commit more crime” argument, a Britain's Channel 4 fact check found that only 7 times more blacks than whites commit murder, e.g.
Interestingly, New Republic found that police officer training might be a clue to solving the problem:
The more complicated and demanding the training, the researchers found, the more practice officers have in ignoring irrelevant information—including stereotypes. According to a comprehensive comparison of police vs. civilian shooting rates published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, training makes an even clearer difference. Though police officers took longer to decide whether to shoot if the person was black, that analysis found trained officers weren’t influenced by race when it actually came to pulling the trigger.
But I don’t expect to see this on Fox News any time soon.
Watch the segment below, from last night’s The O’Reilly Factor.
Another variation on the Fux Noise “some say”.