http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/comey-vs.-holder-race-crime-and-the-police/article/2580390 Comey vs. Holder: Race, crime and the police FBI Director James Comey recently made thoughtful remarks about race and crime that received insufficient attention. His views contrasted sharply with those of former Attorney General Eric Holder, who offered the more mainstream, i.e., liberal, understanding of the issue. Comey said that "police officers on patrol in our nation's cities often work in environments where a hugely disproportionate percentage of street crime is committed by young men of color." This persistent exposure to high black crime creates a "mental shortcut" among police, he suggested, an assumption about African-Americans and crime. Our national problem, in other words, is rooted in the reality of high crime in minority communities and the way our police are affected by it. Contrast the views of Eric Holder, who seems to think that claims about black crime serve as a pretext for racist cops to target and abuse minorities. Holder asserted that the "overrepresentation of young men of color in our criminal justice system" is an issue of "fundamental fairness" or, in other words, a product of racism. The racism explanation for high African-American arrest and incarceration rates has been debunked many times, including by analysts with solid liberal credentials. The data, which are essentially irrefutable, show that African-Americans commit, on a per capita basis, approximately two to five times the imprisonable offenses of whites. We know this is so because our best crime measures — homicide mortality data collected by the federal Centers for Disease Control and nationwide crime victimization surveys conducted by the Census Bureau — are not only extremely reliable, but also are untainted by any racial bias. These data are independent of decisions by actors in the criminal justice system, such as police. More from the Washington Examiner The most recent CDC data show that by 2014, despite reductions in black homicides in the 21st century, blacks still were murdered at nearly eight times the rate of whites. When we examine other serious violent crime victimizations, data derived from the Census survey, we find, once again, a markedly higher rate for African-Americans. For the two decades from 1993 to 2013, whites suffered victimizations at an average 12.3 per 1,000; for blacks the average was 20.9, which is 1.7 times the white rate. While these are victimization, not offender rates, the tendency of victims and perpetrators to share the same demographics applies. So, for example, over the last several decades, 94 percent of the killers of black homicide victims were themselves black. The upshot is that we should expect a significant overrepresentation of young men of color among those taken into the criminal justice system because there is a major involvement by such young men in violent crime. Such an overrepresentation is not a reflection of police racism but rather of misconduct by African-Americans. In the real world, therefore, we must address the number one concern confronting virtually all police departments in the United States, certainly all departments that police significant minority populations, and that is: How do we effectively police high crime areas that are also high minority population communities without exacerbating racial or ethnic tensions? This is, and has been, the most significant law enforcement problem in this country for decades, and there is no permanent fix that will guarantee resolution. There are ways that the predicament can be ameliorated, such as by community policing, hiring as many minority officers as are available and qualified, and training police to minimize the use of force. But these remedies have been tried for years, and while they should be reviewed and, if possible, strengthened, there ought to be no illusions. Even with these policies in force, there are apt to be disturbing episodes involving law enforcement and private citizens, and given the disproportionate number of white police and black offenders, there is a good chance that the incidents will be interracial. Also from the Washington Examiner But, contrary to Holder, that doesn't mean that they are the consequences of racist police forces. Comey's nuanced analysis, which sees police bias as the byproduct of excessive African-American crime, is more realistic. It encourages us to treat each episode on its own merits without needlessly tarnishing and demoralizing those who must deal with these problems on an everyday basis.