It is a sad truth that the police choose to use force more often and with more violence when dealing with black people than when dealing with white people.
Rudeness from the beginning on the part of police when dealing with black people
Police officers are ruder to black people when dealing with them, even for simple traffic stops. A study conducted at Stanford University reviewed body camera video and audio from hundreds of traffic stops, and concluded that even when dealing with similar infractions, the police afforded white motorists a lot more respect and courtesy. More information on that issue can be seen here: https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/06/05/police-body-camera-study-respect-whites-blacks/
Speaking from personal experience, I have had white clients who made profane and derogatory towards police officers, yet those same police officers treated them with respect and dignity. Meanwhile, I have never been profane, insulting, or otherwise rude to a police officer during a traffic stop or other interaction. Despite that, I have had many police officers treat me rudely. As an attorney, I have seen similar patterns play out. My personal and professional experience mirrors what the above Stanford study found.
Police target black people for law enforcement scrutiny, leading to more arrests
On average, a Black person is 3.64 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person, even though Black and white people use marijuana at similar rates. In 10 states, Blacks were more than five times more likely to be arrested.
In states that legalized marijuana, arrest rates decreased after legalization, however racial disparities still remained. https://www.aclu.org/press-releases/new-aclu-report-despite-marijuana-legalization-black-people-still-almost-four-times.
As another example, black people are disproportionately targeted when it comes to social distancing violations during COVID-19 restrictions. For example, From March 17 to May 4, of the 40 people arrested in Brooklyn for violating social distancing rules, 35 were Black, four were Hispanic, and only one was white, according to data released Thursday by the Brooklyn district attorney. Data released by the New York Police Department showed similar racial disparities. From March 16 to May 5, police issued 374 summonses for social distancing violations; 52% were to Black residents and 30% were to Hispanic residents. Multiple videos on social media have shown police officers using excessive force when arresting Black and Hispanic New Yorkers for social distancing-related infractions. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/new-york-coronavirus-social-distancing-arrests-racial-disparities_n_5eb57835c5b618770ae2a9cc
Former DEA agent Matthew Fogg discussed how the DEA purposely avoids enforcing drug laws in affluent white neighborhoods despite knowing of ongoing drug crimes, and instead targets poorer black neighborhoods. https://bennorton.com/dea-agent-we-were-told-not-to-enforce-drug-laws-in-rich-white-areas/
Police assume black children are older than they actually are and treat them like adults (while doing the opposite for white children of the same age)
Recent research reveals that differential treatment of Black male youth based on race continues today. Most notably, in 2014, Professor Philip Goff and colleagues published an experimental study demonstrating that from the age of 10, Black boys are perceived as older and more likely to be guilty than their white peers, and that police violence against them is more justified. Even seasoned police officers sampled in the study consistently overestimated the age of Black adolescent felony suspects by approximately 4.5 years. In addition, these officers assigned greater culpability to Black male felony suspects than to white felony suspects—whom they estimated as younger than their actual age. In essence, consistent with other studies, Goff’s study found that Black boys are afforded the privilege of innocence to a far lesser extent than their white counterparts.
In addition to being perceived as more adult-like, Black girls are also often mistakenly perceived to be biologically older than they are. Recently, for example, a 15-year-old Black girl in New York was arrested by police for using a student Metrocard that is valid only for youth younger than 19. The officers did not believe the girl’s claim that she was 15 years old, nor the affirmations of her age that they obtained from each of her parents when reached by phone. Police held the girl in handcuffs until the girl’s mother brought her birth certificate to the police station. The girl was treated at a hospital for the damage the handcuffs inflicted on her wrists.
Police are more likely to use violence against black people
When an arrest is being made, the police are considerably more likely to use force against a black person than a white person. This article from the New York Times provides statistics and more detail: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/06/03/us/minneapolis-police-use-of-force.html
More data can be seen in an article from US News & World Report that shows police are considerably more likely to use deadly force against an unarmed black person than against an unarmed white person. https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2020-06-03/data-show-deaths-from-police-violence-disproportionately-affect-people-of-color
Black Americans are 3.23 times more likely than white Americans to be killed by police, according to a study by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The researchers examined 5,494 police-related deaths in the U.S. between 2013 and 2017. The wide variance in deaths by police shows how preventable these deaths are, study authors found. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/blacks-whites-police-deaths-disparity/
Again my personal experiences as an attorney match the statistical information. A review of body camera footage shows my white clients are treated more gently than my black clients when being arrested for similar crimes and in similar circumstances. I know that police are quicker to use force against my black clients. I know that when police use force, they use more of it against my black clients than they do against my white clients.
There are numerous police officers who are explicitly racist and intentionally target minorities for abuse and unwarranted violence
Three North Carolina police officers were fired after their own dash cameras caught them talking about how they wanted to slaughter black people, and looked forward to a second civil war. These police officers had decades of time on the job. It is an open question what abuses the committed against black people that went undiscovered. https://www.foxnews.com/us/north-carolina-police-officers-fired-racist-rant-slaughter-black-people-civil-war
As another example, thirteen Philadelphia police officers are to be fired for making racist or offensive Facebook posts. The 13 are among 72 officers in that city alone who had been placed on administrative duty after an online database called the Plain View Project shared more than 5,000 Facebook posts and comments on June 1 by current and former law enforcement officers in Philadelphia and seven other jurisdictions around the country. The posts included racism and advocated violence. In one post, a Philadelphia police officer said that a suspect “should be taken out back and put down like the rabid animal he is,” while another Philadelphia cop advocated hanging a person. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/13-philadelphia-police-officers-who-made-racist-offensive-facebook-posts-n1031341
Moving beyond examples, research from the Brennan Center found that explicit racism in law enforcement takes many forms, from membership or affiliation with violent white supremacist or far-right militant groups, to engaging in racially discriminatory behavior toward the public or law enforcement colleagues, to making racist remarks and sharing them on social media. While it is widely acknowledged that racist officers subsist within police departments around the country, federal, state, and local governments are doing far too little to proactively identify them, report their behavior to prosecutors who might unwittingly rely on their testimony in criminal cases, or protect the diverse communities they are sworn to serve. https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/hidden-plain-sight-racism-white-supremacy-and-far-right-militancy-law
A few videos to illustrate the point
I’ll end with these two videos, both of which show white suspects who went unharmed. Contrast that with the murder of George Floyd and countless other black people who died at the hands of the police.
Police left this white murder suspect unharmed as he resisted arrest, chased them while naked, and choked a bystander. Meanwhile, police violence is a leading cause of death for young Black men in America.
Jerry resists arrest.
Jerry steals officers baton.
Beats cops with their batons.
Steals their police car.
Police never fire a single shot at Jerry.
No stun gun. Nothing.
American police know how to use restraint. They do.
For some reason it’s just always with Jerry.
Never with Rayshard.
Finally, please see the following article for a discussion of the racism inherent in our criminal courts: https://www.learnaboutguns.com/2020/07/05/our-criminal-courts-are-inherently-racist/