Donovon Lynch, the shooting victim you heard of. Photo credit: Pharrell Williams/Instagram
by James A. Bacon
Police shootings generate an inordinate amount of attention in the media, but the number of incidents is remarkably rare. Of the millions of interactions in 2021 between police and citizens here in Virginia, including 187,000 arrests, there were 30 police shootings resulting in injury or death, according to the Crime in Virginia 2021 report/. Of those incidents, 19 resulted in fatalities, and 12 in injuries. (One incident resulted in two injuries.)
One shooting for every 6,300 arrests. That’s not the impression you’d get from watching Hollywood-produced television and movies… or paying attention to the media, for that matter.
Richard F. Thomas, the unarmed shooting victim you never heard of.
If you found that figure surprising, brace yourself for the real shocker — the racial identity of the shooting victims.
A Skeptic Research Center poll asked the question, “how many unarmed Black men were killed by police in 2019?” Twenty percent of respondents identifying as “very liberal” guessed the number to be about 10,000 or more. Even small percentages of self-identified conservatives gave the same response.
As the Skeptic Research Center noted, the media-fed popular impression was wildly off. Nationally, only 13 unarmed Black men were fatally shot by police in 2019. Last year, here in Virginia, that widespread perception is even more divorced from reality. Here follows a list of Virginia shooting victims in 2021 culled from The Washington Post police fatal shooting database: Continue reading