There’s a ton of people across the United States pushing the narrative that police are racist killers. They say that white cops are targeting unarmed black men. They want you to believe that a white officer is far more likely to shoot a minority.

But they’re wrong. And this new study proves it.

A groundbreaking new study from officials at the Michigan State University and University of Maryland has revealed that in fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Officers responding to a scene where an armed man was covered in blood and acting erratically. (Athens PD)

 

Joseph Cesario is a professor of psychology at MSU and co-author of the new study.

“Until now, there’s never been a systematic, nationwide study to determine the characteristics of police involved in fatal officer-involved shootings,” Cesario said in an interview with Phys.org. “There are so many examples of people saying that when black citizens are shot by police, it’s white officers shooting them. In fact, our findings show no support for the idea that white officers are biased in shooting black citizens.”

Phys.org reported that the findings of the study came from a database created by Cesario’s team. They contacted every police department that had a fatal officer involved shooting and took down statistics about the race, sex and amount of experience for the officers involved. 

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Screenshot from dash cam footage of officer involved shooting in Wethersfield, CT. (Wethersfield PD)

 

Cesario said that the racial makeup of the area usually determines who is more likely to be shot and why.

“Many people ask whether black or white citizens are more likely to be shot. We found that crime rates are the driving force behind fatal shootings,” Cesario said. “Our data show that the rate of crime by each racial group predicts the likelihood of citizens from that racial group being shot. If you live in a county that has a lot of white people committing crimes, white people are more likely to be shot. If you live in a county that has a lot of black people committing crimes, black people are more likely to be shot. It is the best predictor we have of fatal police shootings.”

 

So why does America tend to believe that cops are racist murderers who target innocent minorities? Possibly because that’s what the world of social media and online news feeds them.

Headlines single out race in almost every single instance where a white officer is involved in a shooting with a minority. But if a black officer kills a white suspect, we barely hear about it. News outlets are literally picking and choosing which stories they want to cover based on the narrative that it drives and the public’s natural attention to it. The more people who freak out and see the headline, the more division that is ultimately created.

The study went on to show that the race of the officer didn’t matter at all when shootings were concerned.

“[Race] doesn’t matter when it comes to predicting whether black or white citizens are shot,” Cesario said. “If anything, black officers are more likely to shoot black citizens, but this is because black officers are drawn from the same population that they police. So, the more black citizens in a community, the more black police officers there are.”

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Cesario says that the best way to comprehend officer involved shootings isn’t to look at the supposed racial bias of the police officer, but rather the exposure to officers through crime.

The study found that between 90% and 95% of the civilians shot by police were attacking officers or other citizens when they were shot. 90% were armed with a weapon. Cases of accidental shootings, like mistaking a cell phone for a gun, are rare, Cesario said.

“We hear about the really horrendous and tragic cases of police shootings for a reason: they’re awful cases, they have major implications for police-community relations and so they should get attention,” Cesario said in the interview. “But, this ends up skewing perceptions about police shootings and leads people to believe that all fatal shootings are similar to the ones we hear about. That’s just not the case.”

Cesario also noted that they found an extremely high rate of mental illness involved with the data… a subject that he felt was not being given enough attention.

Want more proof? Every year the FBI releases crime statistics. Here’s another bunch of facts that show police aren’t the racist murderers they’re made out to be.

Let’s make sure that every single person who argues against police officers gets to see this article. This is the proof that dictates the truth. Let’s shout it from the rooftops.