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Bill O’Reilly, Tendentious Statistics, and Police Brutality

By Chidike Okeem

Earlier this week on his prime time cable news show, Bill O’Reilly argued that African Americans commit crimes at a wildly disproportionate rate to the black presence in the U.S. population. He pointed out that blacks are 14 percent of the U.S. population but commit 47 percent of police killings. He also noted that blacks are six times more likely to kill cops than non-blacks. While O’Reilly’s statistics may be technically accurate, they are clearly designed to mislead the public about the threat that blacks pose to police officers and to excuse police malpractice. Irrespective of crime rates, abusive policing is morally indefensible and a demonstrable violation of all moral standards that should be upheld by a nation that values the rule of law.