The White Racist Cops of Chicago
An article by Nirej Sekhon in the American Criminal Law Review entitled Blue on Black: An Empirical Assessment of Police Shootings looks at 270 officer-involved-shooting incidents that occurred in Chicago between 2006 and 2014. His data comes from Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority (“IPRA”) summary reports of intentional officer-involved shootings. The article has interesting graphs.
Some of the graphs fit the popular narrative:
The author points out that:
The IPRA Reports and other data tend to suggest that a police department’s demographic profile will tend to roughly predict on-duty officer shooters’ demographic profile.
In fact, the figures seem to suggest both black and white officers are slightly less likely to be shooters than their share of the department would suggest. On the other hand, Hispanic officers tend to be over-represented among shooters in the IPRA reports.
Here’s more information:
As one would expect from the Fyfe and Geller-Karales studies, Blacks are overrepresented among off-duty shooters. The overrepresentation is dramatic: Black officers accounted for nearly 70% of the off-duty shootings in the IPRA Reports. Most of these shootings followed crimes or attempted crimes on or near off-duty officers’ properties…. Black officers were significantly underrepresented among uniformed on-duty shooters and somewhat overrepresented among plainclothes shooters. Plainclothes shooters represented nearly 40% of all on-duty shootings in the IPRA Reports
The author speculates a great deal about what drives the results (at times more credibly than at other times), but in the end, unfortunately, the IPRA Reports need more information to conclusively explain what is going on.
Update…9/2/2017 @ 5:38 AM PST
It occurs to me, based on past experience, that some readers may be unable to grasp sarcasm so…
- The title = popular wisdom
- The data in the post is not compatible with popular wisdom
Per Nirej Sekhon…some person Mr. Kimel cites and links a paper to. This article is written a month later than Mr. Kimel’s cited paper by the same author.
Chicago Police Shooting Data May Be Key to Reducing Violence
“The police department and others might point out that the likelihood of getting shot by anyone is much higher in poor black neighborhoods than, say, middle-class white ones. Incidences of violent crime tend to be much higher in poor, minority neighborhoods. That would seem to explain why police shootings are also higher in those neighborhoods.
Not so fast. The connection between neighborhood violence and police shootings would make sense if shooting victims consisted exclusively of persons who were suspected of violent crime.
But in nearly a quarter of the 259 IPRA incidents, it was the police who stirred the pot. These police-civilian encounters began as traffic stops for minor violations, because someone made a “furtive movement,” or just looked suspicious. Many of these stops were likely of the “stop and frisk” variety that have been controversial in New York City, Chicago, and other cities. The shootings that occur in the course of these kinds of encounters follow a general pattern. One of the stopped civilians flees and the police give chase. During or immediately after the chase, officers shoot in response to a perceived gun threat.”
“My review also revealed that plainclothes officers were responsible for nearly 40 percent of on-duty shootings. There is evidence from other departments that such officers are, per capita, responsible for more shootings than uniformed officers. This may be because more aggressive officers are drawn to such assignments. It also seems possible that people have a hard time distinguishing these officers from civilians who mean harm—particularly when plainclothes officers break into an ongoing fight or melee.”
Sometimes silence is an answer.
One individual from the past who I’ve made positive comments about in the past was Tycho Brahe. (Heck, my wife and I briefly batted around Tycho as a first name for our son, but decided against in part due to pronunciation issues.) Now, Brahe did a fine job of assembling data, but a not so fine explanation of figuring out exactly how that data fit together.
I thought I provided enough evidence in the post that you should treat this paper by Sekhon the same way – I noted that his explanations are often not credible. (Not credible as they fit one piece of the data, but don’t fit others.)
But… since you chose to disregard that comment, fine. Let’s go there. And I will do you a favor. I will confine my response only to issues you brought up and my own OP.
First issue with what you quote from the author is the same issue you often have. Start with this:
It actually would. If crime is higher in an area, it means more people are committing crime in an area. One expects that criminals are more likely to have negative interactions with cops than people that aren’t criminals.
Ah… this is the issue I often have with you. Translate this to English and you have a three step process:
1. Cops stir the plot
2. Something happens
3. Cops shoot somebody
What is step 2? I’ve mentioned before – when I was in high school and in college, something about my car led me to get stopped by cops and given a sobriety check whenever I got spotted by a car after dark. I say it was something about my car since I never got so much as a ticket in that vehicle despite getting pulled over maybe 50 times. Once I got pulled over twice in the same night by the same cop in Ojai, CA.
Having a guy who doesn’t drink at all stand on the side of the road with his finger on his nose and one foot raised reciting the alphabet backward (one time starting from “P”) seems to be easily describable as “stirring the pot.” And yet, somehow, I never got shot. So I am curious – what is step 2 that never happened in my interactions with cops?
Finally, you get to the plainclothes cops being (according to the author) potentially more aggressive and responsible for so many shootings. OK. But as I quoted in my post:
That was the author, not me. So… as I noted in the post… whatever is going on isn’t due to a bunch of white racist good ol’ boys going off to terrorize them some minorities.
The author is stating that it is plainclothes officers commit a disproportionate amount of the shootings, and that Black officers are over-represented among plainclothes shooters. What does he (and you conclude) from this? That Black officers are trigger happy and have a desire to shoot Black people? Because that seems to be what the various pieces of his “logic” merge into.
Regardless of what you conclude, I do not see any evidence in the data Sekhon presented that suggests that Black officers are trigger happy and have a desire to shoot Black people. The alternative, of course, is that Black cops, like any other cops, are, in general, doing their job but it doesn’t fit his “logic” or agenda, or yours. If it isn’t obvious to you, then I would suggest you pay some extra attention to figuring out Step 2.