How Adversarial is the Relationship Between African Americans and the Police?

According to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, 8.7% of African Americans initiate contacts with the police annually, vs. 11.9% of whites. By contrast, the police initiate contact with whites and blacks at the same rate of 11%. The gap in the first statistic, one presumes, represents a trust gap between African Americans and whites in the police, and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that this trust gap exists. Indeed, those figures likely underestimate the trust gap; African Americans are more likely to live in high-crime neighborhoods, which would imply a higher likelihood of calling police to report criminal activity.

On the other hand, some of the rhetoric from Black Lives Matters and other radical activists would suggest that the relationship between African-Americans and the police is almost entirely adversarial. The fact that one out of every twelve African Americans voluntary initiates contact with the police annually strongly suggests otherwise.

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