US Presidential nominee Donald Trump has accused that, “Black Lives Matter” movement has instigated the killing of police officers.
In the perfect world, there is absolutely nothing that justifies the killing of three police officers in Baton Rouge,Louisiana and the earlier killing of five police officers in Dallas. In the imperfect world that we live in, we have to seek reasons for such killings. And we seek reasons not because we want to justify the killing of police officers but to make sure, we make necessary amendments so that no such killings happen in future.
US is currently at cross-roads. “Black Lives Matter” movement is picking up across the nation. Several videos of police brutality are surfacing time and again and it has become evident that, there is a negative bias towards black people by law enforcement agencies.
Below is the data gathered by “Mapping Police Violence”, a collaborate research initiative to gather data on police violence across US. More details at: http://mappingpoliceviolence.org/
Some of the key findings of this report are:
- Black people were 21% of the population and 40% of people killed by police in these cities.
- Most unarmed people killed by police in major U.S. cities were black (56%). Fewer than 1 in 5 (19%) were white.
- An unarmed black person living in these cities was 6x more likely than an unarmed white person to be killed by police. An unarmed black person was almost as likely as an armed white person to be killed by police.
- The Police Homicide rate for black men in 17 cities is higher than the U.S. homicide rate. Black men in these cities have a higher chance of being killed by police than the average American has of being killed by anyone.
- Black men in six cities face a higher chance of being killed by police than the average American has of being killed in a car accident.
The data clearly shows that Black people are being discriminated by the American law enforcement authorities. This is bound to create a movement such as “Black Lives Matter”.
Coming back to the main question, has “Black Lives Matter” movement instigated the attacks on Policemen?
The answer to this question is clearly no. Yes, there have been some objectionable slogans raised during the marches and events organised by “Black Lives Matter” activists. But that’s not conclusive to prove that, “Black Lives Matter” movement has indeed instigated the attacks on policemen.
If we further analyse the data, we will see some more patterns emerging on who is responsible for the loss of valuable lives of police officers. Systemic bias against the Blacks by the law enforcement agencies, going all the way to the top of the ladder. The data about discrimination against Black people was always available with law enforcement agencies but it was never taken seriously. But why didn’t such violent attacks occurr in the past? There are two main reasons for this:
- Proliferation of the smart phones & social media: Never before the police brutality was captured the way it is getting captured in current age. Earlier, while the brutality was captured in the police cams, it was brushed under the carpet by the law enforcement agencies. But now, with the proliferation of the smart phones, people are able to capture the brutality and sharing it on social media. The aftermath of killing of Philando Castile was live-streamed on Facebook by his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds. Such an instant live sharing of police brutality has never happened earlier.
- Frustrated and humiliated army veterans from black community: US army heavily recruited Black youth for both Afghan and Iraq war. When these well trained army veterans see the systemic discrimination against the blacks, they face the frustration and humiliation for their inability to change the situation. Unfortunately, they have got only one talent, that is killing people without much thought and regrets. They have done that earlier in Afghanistan and Iraq. From the two attacks that have happened this month on policemen, the pattern is the same.
The reality is that, more US citizens have been killed by Police than killed by the terrorists. It’s time for US citizens and politicians to self-reflect and treat every life preciously.