A Guide for Men: How to Deal With the Police

As you watch the riots going on in cities all over America, it’s pretty clear that there are an awful lot of people, young men in particular, who do not understand how to interact with the police. Part of that is because of the deceptive way the media covers police killings.

For example, how many people do you think die in encounters with the police each year and what percentage of them do you think are black? It’s undoubtedly orders of magnitude lower than most people think.

In 2019 police officers fatally shot 1,004 people, most of whom were armed or otherwise dangerous. African-Americans were about a quarter of those killed by cops last year (235), a ratio that has remained stable since 2015. That share of black victims is less than what the black crime rate would predict, since police shootings are a function of how often officers encounter armed and violent suspects. In 2018, the latest year for which such data have been published, African-Americans made up 53% of known homicide offenders in the U.S. and commit about 60% of robberies, though they are 13% of the population.

The police fatally shot nine unarmed blacks and 19 unarmed whites in 2019, according to a Washington Post database, down from 38 and 32, respectively, in 2015.