News outlets, activists, and politicians throughout 2020 have all been screaming about the interaction between police officers and the black community. Specifically, they have consistently emphasized the notion that law enforcement is a racist institution disproportionately brutalizing black communities.
Of course, this notion has led to calls from communities to defund the police departments in favor of more community-friendly policies.
In response to the highly contested claims of overarching police brutality throughout the country, Skeptic Research Center did a nationwide survey to see how citizens across the political spectrum were interpreting their news.
They asked survey participants, "how many unarmed black men they believe were killed by officers in 2019." Of the liberals surveyed, about 44 percent guessed that between 1,000 and 10,000 unarmed black men were killed. In contrast, about 20 percent of conservatives gave the same estimate.
Overall, many participants on both sides of the political spectrum thought officers killed more unarmed black men than the actual statistics. Both sides responded that they believed around 100 unarmed black men were killed.
Liberals once again came in with the highest number of respondents with 80 percent, while conservatives were about 54 percent. Moderates came in the middle at 66 percent.
However, the actual number of unarmed black men killed by law enforcement in 2019 was only 27. The difference between perception and reality is astounding. Respondents as a whole believed that almost three and a half times more unarmed black men were shot than were.
These types of statistics point to a failure in reporting and a singular agenda. The more a phrase is said, the more the general public believes it to be accurate, especially since most will not do their own research and formulate their own opinions.
The secondary question was, "In 2019, what percentage of people killed by police were Black?" Once again, participants estimated were way off the mark. Most guessed that the number was around 50 percent. In reality, the number is only 25 percent for 2019.
Celebrity and Media Rhetoric
While all deaths at the hands of officers deserve to be investigated to ensure proper procedures and policies are followed, the constant negative comments from those with national platforms skew the situation's reality.
While many of the deaths in 2020, especially George Floyds, brought light to training issues within departments, they really are the exception, not the rule.
As a whole, police officers are there to protect citizens from harm not single out specific races.