Death is permanent evidence of a problem that has a spectrum of severity. A victim can not recover from dying short of resurrection, but it also leads to much less gray area in the way of harm done to an individual, a society, and a minority. To understand whose life matters to a society, we can look towards the authorities and how they treat people and how people treat authority. So I examined death as a primary metric to assess violence by the police and violence towards the police. I wanted to answer the question, do black lives matter, and in doing so, I stumbled upon another interesting question, do white lives matter?

While the data clearly shows black people are killed at a higher rate than white peoples, it also shows that a lot of people are shot by the police. So if you believe that “All lives matter”, then you should be asking the same question as the black community: why are the police so violent?

I’m not here to answer the question of why but how, where, and to who. How violent is violent? Where is this violence? Who is more affected by this violence?

General Statistics

First, I looked from a higher level at the statistical data available for people killed by police. I then adjusted the populations based on the ratio of 4.91 because for every 100 black people in the US, there are 491 white people. Looking at this data on the top left graph, one could think there is not a problem. When those values are adjusted by population, there is clearly a problem especially for Unarmed people.

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Then we can look at the ratio of black to white murders, and again, if you are black, you are more likely than a white person to be killed by police regardless of the situation.

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The first criticism would be that maybe a higher percentage of black people are involved in violent crime. We have to consider this might be possible, but it should be noted that such a scenario might also be caused by systematic racism. Leaving that aside, let’s look at the number of arrests.

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Black people are arrested twice as often as white people when adjusting those arrests by population. Now we can look at the number of deaths caused by police adjusted for the number of arrests. The problem is lessened, but it is still there particularly for being unarmed or being in a vehicle.

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The caveat is if there is systematic racism, how are we certain that black people aren’t targeted and arrested at a higher rate than white people? I don’t have the data, so it is hard to say, but most of the data points to a problem.


Breaking down by age shows an even worse trend for young black men than the general statistical trend.

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By State

Let’s break this down by states. Any of the states in white don’t have enough data. The deaths per state were adjusted to that states’ racial demographics. I would have thought the Southern states would have been a lot worse, not to say a 4 to 1 ratio is good. California is definitely surprising.

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General police brutality to white and black people is quite high, especially in the South. Let’s break that one down by ethnicity by looking at the probability of you getting killed by the police. Again, if you are black, being around the police is not something you’d like to do, but oddly enough, the South seems less terrible.

#police-brutality #blacklivesmatter #racism #data #data-science #data analysis

Do Black Lives Matter? Do White Lives Matter?
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