Police dogs are more likely to bite white people than black people, according to data compiled by a dog training expert and police consultant.
Disparity isn’t proof of discrimination.
Data obtained by Vice News reveals white people “are proportionally bitten more frequently” than blacks.
- Bob Eden, a 28-year police force veteran, shared his database with Vice News for a July feature about experts’ fears that police dogs are being used to oppress marginalized communities and people of color.
- Roughly 4,500 dogs are represented in Eden’s data, which draws from 1,500 police agencies in North America.
- Eden’s data contradicts experts’ claims that police K-9 units are “disproportionately” used against people of color.
Time and time again racial justice activists have claimed the mere presence of disparate impact – that is, a particular policy or action disproportionately harming black people – is evidence of racism.
- For instance, Black Lives Matter supporters argue that even though overall police kill more white people, black people are disproportionately more likely to die at the hands of law enforcement.
- But Eden’s data shows, and political observers on the right have asserted, following the logic of disparate impact can lead to deeply absurd conclusions.
- As commentator David French has argued, focusing solely on the higher proportion of blacks killed by police ignores vital context – such as that black men are nine times more likely to be murdered than whites, and “the overwhelming majority of those murders were committed by other black men.”
Money quote: “That’s a horrifying racial disparity — one that indicates that a segment (a thankfully small segment) of the black community has a terrible problem with violent crime,” French wrote for National Review in Sept. 2016. “Given the undeniable reality that people don’t commit crime on a proportionate basis, why would any rational person believe that law enforcement shootings would follow population percentages more than crime statistics?”
Similarly, the fact that white people are more likely to be bitten by police dogs shouldn’t be taken as evidence of racism.