George Floyd’s Horrifying Death Highlights Stark Racial Disparities in the Use of Police Force

“In a 2017 analysis of data from 20 states, researchers at Stanford University found that “white drivers are searched in 2.0% of stops, compared to 3.5% of stops for black motorists and 3.8% for Hispanic motorists.” After the researchers controlled for stop location, date and time, and driver age and gender, they calculated that “black and Hispanic drivers have approximately twice the odds of being searched relative to white drivers.” They were also twice as likely to be arrested. The study found that “black and Hispanic drivers are searched on the basis of less evidence than white drivers, suggestive of bias in search decisions.”

After surveying drivers in the Kansas City area in 2003 and 2004, Charles Epp and two other researchers at the University of Kansas classified police encounters based on the legal justification (or lack thereof) and the amount of discretion involved. They found that black drivers were no more likely than white drivers to report clear-cut “traffic safety stops” (e.g., for running a red light or stop sign, driving at night with headlights off, or exceeding the speed limit by seven or more miles an hour) but were nearly three times as likely to report seemingly pretextual “investigatory stops” (e.g., for an unilluminated license plate, driving too slowly, or no reason mentioned by the officer).

During investigatory stops, Epp and his colleagues reported, black drivers were five times as likely as white drivers to be searched. They were also more likely to be handcuffed and threatened with arrest, and more likely to describe the officer’s demeanor as rude, hostile, or insulting. Blacks perceived investigatory stops as less legitimate than traffic safety stops, while whites made no such distinction. The more stops black drivers had experienced, the less they trusted the police, an effect that was not apparent among white drivers.”

Has Sweden found the best response to the coronavirus? Its death rate suggests it hasn’t.

“using the Our World in Data website’s coronavirus statistics, helps put Sweden’s situation in perspective. It compares countries’ rates of coronavirus deaths per 1 million people.
As the chart shows, Sweden is actually faring worse than other Scandinavian nations and even worse than the United States, which has the highest number of confirmed total cases in the world.”

“Following the advice of the country’s chief epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, the Swedish government chose not to impose strict lockdowns, curfews, or major border closings because the government felt it would hurt the economy and would only push the crisis further down the road.”

“while experts say the vast majority of Swedes followed the government’s social distancing guidelines and voluntarily stayed home, those who continued to drink at bars and shop at stores likely spread the disease around.”

“Sweden’s public health officials now admit: That “more than 26 percent of the 2 million inhabitants of Stockholm will have been infected by May 1.””

“Where Sweden does compare favorably to the US is the country’s death rate when compared to New York City’s (not the whole US). About 12,000 reported deaths as of April 28 in a city of 8 million is surely worse than 2,300 deaths in a country of 10 million.

But there are three main reasons why the Big Apple would be worse off than the entire country of Sweden, experts say.

The first is population density: New York City has more than 38,000 people per square kilometer, while Sweden has just 25 people — meaning it’s harder to socially distance in New York.

Second, some hospitals in New York City were overwhelmed while Sweden still has about 250 hospital beds unoccupied. There are indications, though, that the hospital surge in New York City is declining.

Finally, there is significantly more international travel to New York City than there is to Sweden, which means there were more opportunities for people from countries suffering from severe outbreaks to spread the virus to the city than to the European country.

But when zooming out, it’s clear that Sweden as a whole is worse off than the US as a whole. That could, of course, change down the line, but any current arguments that Sweden got its outbreak response right are premature at best and dangerous at worst.”

Are We Experiencing a Nationwide ‘Anti-Semitism Crisis’?

“According to the New York Police Department, reports of hate crimes against Jews in that city rose 26 percent last year, from 186 in 2018 to 234 in 2019, after rising nearly as much (23 percent) in the previous year. According to Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, the 2019 total was the highest seen in New York City since the FBI began reporting hate crime data in 1992.

Nationwide, however, the FBI’s tally indicates that the number of anti-Jewish criminal incidents (each of which may include more than one offense) fell from 938 in 2017 to 835 in 2018—an 11 percent drop. The total in 2018, the most recent year for which national data are available, was lower than the totals in 21 out of the previous 26 years.”