Writer’s Note: This letter is a direct response to ‘The police are not our enemy’ by Sam Stroud. To get the full scope of the of the conversation, I suggest reading his opinion article first.
You’re right. Police are not our enemy. Any reasonable person would agree with this assertion. However, any reasonable person would also admit there are some cops who racially target minorities. Yes, there are statistics that back up this claim. Mr. Stroud’s argument actually suggests this. Mr. Stroud wrote in the Tropolitan, “The Washington Post reported police shootings killed 998 people in 2018. Of those 998 people, approximately 40 percent were white, and approximately 20 percent were black.” Without any other statistical context, this statistic seems disproportionate toward white people. However, black people make up only 13.4 percent of the United States population, while white people make up the overwhelming majority at 76.6 percent. According to the statistic Mr. Stroud mentioned, approximately 399 white people were killed by cops in 2018, while only 199 black people were killed in the same year. In relation to the total population, the percentage of black people killed by police brutality (.000454 percent) is much larger than the average in relation to the percentage of white people killed by police brutality (.000305 percent). Thus, Mr. Stroud’s conclusion actually reads counter to his argument.
I would like to respond to the most alarming assertion in Mr. Stroud’s article. He wrote, “(Black males) are responsible for 42 percent of all police murders. In other words, a police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a (sic) black male than a (sic) black male is to be killed by a police officer.” As a black male, this claim not only angered me but also offended me. Since Mr. Stroud did not cite his source, I went to look for it. I did not find anything that matched his claim. Readers of his article should be wary of his declaration, as it may not be credible. For the sake of the discussion, let’s assume his claim is worth addressing. According to The Washington Post, “Police officers were killed in ambush attacks by just as many black offenders as white offenders in the past three decades. There are no simple conclusions or trends that can be gleaned from the (FBI) database alone, but it provides context that, based on the raw numbers, officers are no more likely to be killed by black offenders than white offenders.” In other words, black men are not the enemy.
There are a lot of good cops who serve and protect us. We commend and thank every cop who holds their badge with honor and respect. However, rather than claiming that race-driven cops don’t exist, we should acknowledge the existence of such cops, since denying the obvious in this case displays social ignorance. As Mr. Stroud mentioned, there is racial and social angst among white people, black people, and cops. Addressing a problem is one thing, but working to find a solution is another. The first step has already begun: starting the conversation. Understanding the struggles of our fellow Americans will only strengthen the dialogue and aid in finding a solution.