I read Mrs. Grunfeld’s response to a letter regarding her article (“Wearing Your Own Spy,” Hamodia Prime, June 17, 2020), and while she says there is “overwhelming evidence” that African-American civilians are harassed or mistreated by police, has she bothered to consider the difference in how suspects respond to police? Perhaps some people are more resistant or abusive when they are arrested and require greater force. I don’t know if there is any data on this but there should be, to put this in perspective.
It is disappointing that Mrs. Grunfeld didn’t even bother to consider this factor. Police officers risk their lives for us and to cut them no slack on how some may behave in some situations is tragic.
The author responds:
Thanks for your letter.
The data, again, indicate that African-Americans are still more likely to experience nonlethal force than whites even when compliant. One chief study on the subject, which looked at 5 million policing incidents in New York City, found that officers were 53% more likely to use force with African-Americans than whites (the researchers looked at all forms of physical force, ranging from putting hands on a civilian, to restraining, to using a baton). Once you control for compliance, the number shrinks, but African-Americans were still 21% more likely to experience nonlethal force. And that’s based on police reports of the encounters. It’s difficult to escape the fact.
As is often the case, neither the Democratic nor Republican narrative has gotten this one quite right.