Dear Editor:

Your column, “How do we deal with bad cops?” fails to address the problems in this country regarding relations between police and African Americans.

Often lost in the national debate is “how we got here.”

Your column, accurate as it was in what it touched upon, left a lot out; subjects that need to be addressed, if anything is ever going to improve between police and the African American community.

As you began in your editorial that African Americans have valid historical reasons to not trust police. To not accept that is to deny the obvious... blacks in this country have suffered severely at the hands of a white majority, police included.

That history has served to create two Americas, one where African American children were taught, for good cause, to mistrust police, and white children were taught to trust police. Black children run from police, white children run to police.

That dichotomy plays out across the U.S. today. What your editorial failed to address are the things that seem to never get mentioned in the news, or the national dialogue: Inner city crime, lack of father figures, failing schools, drop out rates, lack of opportunity, and a national trend within the media of forming a false narrative regarding police.

As of June 22, 2020, a month after the George Floyd incident, The Washington Post reported that there were 14 unarmed black people killed by police in 2020, compared to 28 white people. In the most recent years for which statistics are available, there has been an annual average of 7,300 black homicide victims. Those 14 unarmed victims in police shootings would comprise 0.2% of that total. Nationally, African Americans between the ages of 10 to 34 years die from homicide at 13 times the rate of white Americans.

On May 31, the week after the death of George Floyd , Chicago had its deadliest day in 60 years, 25 blacks were killed and 85 others shot; their names unknown to the national dialogue.

On average, 20 black people are gunned down in the U.S. every day in drive by shootings. In New York City, blacks account for 25% of the population, yet are responsible for 75% of all shootings. In comparison, whites account for 34% of the population, yet are responsible for 2% of all shootings.

Between 2017 and 2020, an average of 450 white people per year were shot to death by police, an average of 250 black people were shot to death by police during that same time frame. An accurate narrative on police shootings should at least mention that whites are shot to death by police at a rate 55% higher than that of blacks. Sadly, that narrative has been drowned out by the irrational use of overall population percentages among the races in comparison to police shootings.

In my opinion, at the risk of over simplifying, the overriding cause of most fatal encounters between police and African Americans in the U.S. is two fold, albeit in generality: African Americans don’t like the police. Police are aware of it.

Let’s work on that.


Ron Peavey



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