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A Few More Facts About Police Action Shootings

My good friend Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill has come under fire for a recent op-ed he wrote regarding the NFL players who have taken a knee during the National Anthem at NFL games to protest police action shootings and social injustice.

Hill said while he respects the players’ right to take a knee, he also thinks they should step up and protest “black on black” violence, which far outnumbers blacks killed by police.  Hill has been catching a lot of flack for his statement, which does not surprise me because he is correct.

Looking at the data, I am more likely to be killed by a 22-year old black male, rather than a police officer with 22 years on the force.

So in all the chatter about police action shootings, which by the way, Indianapolis has only had one this year as of this summer, I decided to take a look at the data so far this year from across the country.  With what we’ve seen in the news so far this year, you would think it was open season on unarmed black men by law enforcement.  However, the information I found looking at the Post’s database, tended to paint a different picture.  

Here’s what I found, overall…

  • There have been nearly 800 police action shootings that resulted in fatalities, 14 of which occurred in the state of Indiana.
  • Mental illness played a role in 25 percent of the incidents.
  • 173 of the fatalities were fleeing the scene.
  • 758 of the fatalities were male.
  • 23 percent (184) were African-American, only 13  were unarmed.
  • In 659 instances a weapon (gun. Knife, car) was involved.
  • There were no body cams in 715 cases.

When it comes to Indiana, specifically, here’s a breakdown of those 10 police action shootings which resulted in fatalities…

  • All 14 fatalities were male.
  • Nine were white, four were African-American, one was Hispanic.
  • Four were between ages 18-29.  Five were between 30 and 44.  Five were more than 45 years old.
  • Three had mental illness issues.
  • Eight used a gun as a weapon, four used a vehicle, one was unarmed, one had a weapon that was labeled unknown.
  • Out of the nine that fled the scene, seven used a car.
  • There were no body cams in any of the incidents.
  • Only one of the police action shootings occurred in Indianapolis.

I also did a check of shootings in the last couple of years.  There were 963 nationwide in 2016, Indiana had 14.  There were 991 nationwide in 2015, 19 of which occurred in Indiana.  And once again, anyone looking for open season on African-Americans will be disappointed.  

In 2015, 26 percent of the fatalities were black nationwide.  That number dropped down to 24 percent in 2016.  And as far as being black and unarmed goes,  there were only 38 shootings of unarmed black men reported in 2015 and 17 shootings of unarmed black men in 2016.  And only seven were fleeing the scene.

And in Indiana, there were 14 police action shootings in 2016 that resulted in fatalities, four were African-American and only one was unarmed.  In 2015,  there were 19 police action shootings that resulted in death.  Six of them were African-American and none were reported unarmed.

Now take all that data and juxtapose it to what we’ve been seeing in Indianapolis so far this year.  By my last count, we were at 117 criminal homicides which puts us on track to tie last year’s record numbers.   And blacks, which tend to make up about 27 percent of the city’s population continue to be between 70-80 percent of the murder victims and nine out 10 times it was another person of color who sent them on to the next world.    And what’s really disturbing about these numbers, in particular, is that in the past 70-80 percent of the victims and suspects had prior criminal records so I could use my “self-cleaning oven” line and say most of this was just a bad guy shooting a bad guy.  Not so much this year.  This year those numbers range from 50-60 percent, which means there is something even deeper going on.  And the fact that you have parents telling their kids not to cooperate with law enforcement after these murders are taking place probably doesn’t help much either.

So what’s the moral of the story?  One black guy shot by police in Indy and everyone gets worked up, 93 blacks killed by other blacks and not a knee to be found in sight.



  • malercous

    Or they could advocate for more cancer research, or highway safety, or opioid abuse, or heart disease, or, or, or….but they’re not, that’s not their area of concern. The same thing could be said about those advocating for safer streets, or a cure for cancer, or, or, or…

    Why does the right wing feel a need to minimize the protests of black football players, but not other groups?