White police officers are not more likely to shoot minorities than their non-white counterparts, according to a new study.
“If anything, black officers are more likely to shoot black citizens,” Dr. Joseph Cesario, co-author and professor of psychology at Michigan State University, wrote in the report. “But this is because black officers are drawn from the same population that they police. So, the more black citizens there are in a community, the more black police officers there are.”
The “systematic nationwide study” from MSU and University of Maryland — described as the first of its kind — debunks the commonly-held belief that white police officers unfairly target black and brown citizens in use of lethal force. A flurry of media reports over the span of a few years and the efforts of two major media outlets, the UK’s Guardian and the Washington Post, roiled both the nation and the political theater.
“There are so many examples of people saying that when black citizens are shot by police, it’s white officers shooting them. In fact, our findings show no support for the idea that white officers are biased in shooting black citizens,” Dr. Cesario wrote.