There is no shortage of activist groups denouncing allegations of police brutality. Sometimes it’s legitimate; every honest person admits that unwarranted acts of violence against undeserving citizens occur. How could they not? There are about 700,00 sworn officers in the United States who make over 50 million contacts with the public every year. The act is getting played out, though, because to suggest that every fatal result is tied to racism or that the actions of a minute few should speak for the entire group is a gross absurdity.
Throughout the summer and into fall, protests large and small, peaceful and dangerous, have obediently marched to the tune of hackneyed charges of systemic injustice in the Windy City. The tired narrative drones on about bad policing, police targeting of the black community, and too much jail or prison time. This always keeps the crowds from considering alternatives to their weekday avoidance of work or late-night destruction. For example, they could offer a token of gratitude to thankless peacekeepers in their own backyard, the murder capital of America. One wonders if they know that out of the 560 homicides, 475 victims were black, killed not by the police or whites, but by other blacks
By all means, protest. But when people complain about the system being rigged, they need to remember they voted for their system, and they’ve been voting for the same system for quite a while. The mayoral offices have been run by Democrats since before the Great Depression, which means only about 2 million out of 350 million total Americans were alive the last time the city voted for a Republican. Most recently, Obama acolyte Rahm Emanuel helmed the city between 2011 and 2019, and currently a woman by the name of Lori Lightfoot, whose sole victory in the role comes from being the first openly gay, black mayor of the town, presides over the carnage. While it is a hallmark of leftism to celebrate immutable characteristics, what it does not do is focus on her decision-making. Despite Ms. Lightfoot’s previous work as a president of the Chicago Police Board and now helm as mayor, the city continues to see hundreds of black-on-black homicides a year. The figure will surely rise this year as she commands police to back off from doing their jobs.
Are the dire circumstances in the black community the fault of the criminal justice system and the police? The Democrat-voting crowd in a city therefore run by Democrats seem to think so, but the numbers suggest otherwise.
A big-picture view will help introduce us to the data. In 2018, the most recent year available, according to the police department itself, Chicago centers fielded over 3 million civilian 911 calls for support. In a city with just over 2.5 million residents, that’s an average of over one per person per year. As high as that number is, even more incredible is that in 2007, they received 5 million calls, or two for every resident that year.
While not every call resulted in a direct police dispatch, the city nonetheless recorded over 3 million police-civilian interactions in 2018. Of those contacts, 85,000 resulted in arrests. Put another way, only one out of every thirty-five contacts police initiate ends in an arrest.
All of this is innocuous enough. What about police brutality and violence?
According to the reports, police had to respond with additional force 309 times. For all of the media coverage of police firing willy-nilly on suspects, the entire Chicago police force — a group over 12,000 strong — discharged their firearms only 43 times. Most of the use of force was with a taser.
It is this statistic on firearm use that deserves a second look. In the course of making 3 million contacts and conducting 85,000 arrests, only 43 firearm discharges were necessary. In other words, the odds of the Chicago police firing upon a person after making contact with him is 0.0014%. It would be like placing quarters end to end for an entire mile and trying to have someone guess which one you’re looking at. And that quarter would be threatening your life, so it more rightly deserved to be identified.
Of the 43 firearm discharges, not every shot fired was lethal. In fact, the entire force averaged 10 civilian deaths per year between 2013 and 2018, an amazing decline in use of force from years past. While that would still lead protesters to suggest that each death was excessive, since 2007, just one of the 400 deaths by police was found to be unjustified. Most fatal encounters end after a suspect displays a commensurate use of force against police or other civilians.
One of the great lies told by Democrats, Black Lives Matter, and the media is that police represent systemic racism. The narrative goes that instead of wanting to make their communities safer, they sign up for the thankless role and low pay because it allows them to hunt down blacks. Because this is never reported, it might surprise you to know that between 2007 and 2016, over 95% of all Chicago police officers never even fired their weapon. Perhaps those 95% of officers missed the day of training on “How to Be a Systemic Racist.”
What is not laughable is the fact that along with the uncertainty that comes with making public contact comes the very real physical danger police put themselves in. In the course of making public contacts, the department reported that 1,242 officers were injured during use of force encounters. Unjustified shootings? A complete myth. Of those, 337 faced severe assault. In light of this information, it’s astounding that more use of force did not occur. It certainly would have been warranted.
It has been said before and bears repeating. The brave men and women who put on the uniform every day, particularly in an extremely volatile and dangerous city like Chicago, deserve our utmost respect. The black community performed a boycott of sorts on July 2 to remind us of their economic buying power, but life generally went on as normal. If the Chicago police took a day off, the result would be pure death and chaos, really affecting black lives. It’s time to get priorities in order.
It’s time for Black Lives Matter to thank a police officer for making black lives matter.
*This article was originally published on 07/20/2020 by The American Thinker.
Author’s Note: This article was written partially in response to July protests in Chicago. A few sentences have been updated to make the composition more relevant.