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New Police Shooting Statistics Debunk One of Black Lives Matter’s Biggest Narratives

A total of four unarmed black people were killed in U.S. police shootings last year, according to the latest data compiled by The Washington Post.

SO WHAT

These statistics seriously weaken Black Lives Matter’s claims of an epidemic of police killing unarmed black men.

THE NUMBERS

The number of unarmed black people fatally shot by on-duty police in the U.S. was down from 18 in 2020, per to the Post’s police shootings database, which has become the definitive tracker since its launch in 2015.

Police shot and killed a total of 244 black people, armed or unarmed, last year, the database found, based on reports in the media and by police.

  • Meanwhile, according to FBI Uniform Crime Reporting statistics released in September, 5,839 black people were murdered in the U.S. in 2020.
  • That means about 4% of black people — and 0.3% of unarmed black people — who died violently last year were killed by police.

THE NARRATIVE

For years, and especially in the wake of George Floyd’s death, police reform advocates and activist groups like Black Lives Matter have made alarming claims about a supposed “epidemic” of police killings of unarmed black men.

In 2018, NFL quarterback-turned-social justice activist Colin Kaepernick accused police officers of continuing “to terrorize Black and brown communities” and said the legal system allowed cops to kill black people “with virtual impunity.”

  • Northwestern University journalism professor Steven Thrasher wrote in June 2017, following the police shooting of Philando Castile, that black parents “are continuously hunted down by police in the United States.”
  • Osagie K. Obasogie, professor of bioethics at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote a Washington Post column in 2020 declaring: “Police killing black people is a pandemic, too.”

President Joe Biden voiced similar sentiments in his campaign plan to address America’s systemic injustices.

  • “Black mothers and fathers should feel confident that their children are safe walking the streets of America,” Biden’s proposal reads. “And, when a police officer pins on that shield and walks out the door, the officer’s family should know they’ll come home at the end of the day.”

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