Max Morgan | Whyte Too Casual on Shooting Stats

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

In his column of Sept. 9, The Signal’s Editor Tim Whyte writes about the “frequency of police shootings involving people of color” and went on to add: “Not all of the shootings have been justified, but a ‘significant percentage’ of them were unjustified.” Where are Mr. Whyte’s facts or, was it just more convenient to backstop a popular but unsubstantiated claim from politicians on the left and social justice “heroes” like (Colin) Kaepernick that police officers are too quick to shoot unarmed people of color?

His column also seems to violate The Signal’s own guidelines for columnists that state: “Back up your claims. Attribute your information.” And, more importantly: “Columns with unattributed information will be returned for revision.” Whyte goes on to write: “Raising awareness about it (police shootings) is a worthy goal.” To that end, I would like to provide some awareness.

A study by Rutgers University that analyzed police shootings found that: “less than 1 percent (of suspects shot and killed) were unarmed at the time of the incident.” I didn’t major in math and I think it’s unfortunate that 1 percent of suspects who were shot and killed by the police were unarmed, but the number is statistically insignificant.

The study goes on to add: “We find that white officers kill both black and Latino suspects at lower rates than we would expect if killings were randomly distributed among officers of all races.” Translation:  Although a majority of police officers in the United States are white and as such are involved in the vast majority of police shootings, minority police officers are, according to the Rutgers study, statistically more likely to shoot and kill people of color than are white police officers.

Facts matter.

Max Morgan


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