On Monday April 4, 2016, more than hundred Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters rallied at Queens Park. This was a continuation of a protest involving BLM members who, starting on March 20 illegally squatted in makeshift tents and set bonfires in front of Toronto Police Headquarters. The squatting began a day after the Ontario Special Investigations Unit (SIU) announced that no charges would be laid against the unidentified officer who fatally shot a Black man named Andrew Loku in a confrontation with Toronto Police in the summer of 2015.
Mr. Loku reportedly suffered from mental illness. His death has now become the motive for recent BLM squatting campaigns in Toronto.
BLM claims to be
a call to action, a response to virulent anti-Black racism and is against the not legally authorized killings of Black people by police and vigilantes.
One of the organizers, Christina Gabriella Griffin, made it clear following their Toronto rally that
Toronto and other cities need to know that if your police force is committed to an anti-black program, there’s going to be more tent cities. As long as the killing keeps going on, we’re going to be out here.
But what exactly happened to Mr. Loku is the real question. Was he simply a vulnerable target for “racist” and “anti-Black” police to murder in cold blood, and perhaps something for these officers to laugh about afterwards? Or was this a case of one of our police officers having his or her safety put in immediate danger and resorting to lethal force to avoid potentially losing his own life?
Mike McCormack, who is president of the Toronto Police Association, stated the following:
On the early evening of July 4, 2015, Toronto police officers saw Mr. Loku riding a three-wheeled scooter on a busy highway in downtown Toronto. Needless to say, this was a dangerous situation for Mr. Loku and motorists. Concerned for his safety and well-being, the officers assisted Mr. Loku by loading his scooter into a police car and driving him home.
Three hours later, there was an assault-in-progress call to Mr. Loku’s Toronto residence, involving a man armed with a hammer threatening a woman with death and refusing to leave her apartment. Police officers responded where they were met by an agitated and violent Mr. Loku, wielding a hammer.
The officers attempted to de-escalate the situation and repeatedly asked Mr. Loku to drop his weapon. Mr. Loku’s violent behaviour intensified, and with the hammer raised above his head, he advanced within several feet of the officers. Unable to create distance between themselves and Mr. Loku due to the narrow hallway and stairwell behind them, the officers responded to this imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death, by using force.
Perhaps this truly was the case. If so, some may consider the circumstances justified the shooting of Mr. Loku. Or perhaps there are some major aspects of the story which are missing. In either case, what really happened does not seem to really matter to those who are part of BLM. In other words, are the BLM protestors simply looking for incidents like Mr. Loku’s death in order to label any police officer’s shootings of Black people as “racist” and “anti-Black”?
Knowing actual facts, of course, would likely give them fewer grounds for tossing names around in their attempts to defame people. One of this group’s biggest arguments is that the police are disproportionately arresting and carding people of non-White ethnicity. The evidence on the other hand very strongly suggests that the police simply arrest people who commit crimes, and people of non-White ethnicities appear to commit crimes at higher rates. Many crimes have witnesses. For example, in cases of robberies and rapes, the victim usually gets a good look at the perpetrator. And if 70% of people who are victims tell the police the assailant was Black and 70% of the people arrested for robberies and rapes are Black, the police are probably just doing their job.
Crime and Ethnicity in the USA
Although crime statistics on the basis of ethnicity are allegedly not collected by any major government department in Canada, this graph from the U.S. (where the BLM movement originated) looks at 22 types of offenses. In the graph, there are two lines for each offense. The left line for each offense indicates the race of the person whom a witness alleges had committed the crime. The right line for each offense indicates the race of the person who was actually arrested.
For example, the most frequent offense is robbery. Witnesses said that more than 70% of robbers were Black. However, as you can see from the shorter lighter line to the right, fewer than 60% of those arrested for robbery were Black. Similarities can be seen in Assault Offenses, Kidnapping/Abduction and in Sex Offenses. In each offense category, in spite of witnesses identifying offenders as Black (or Asian, Hispanic or White), police arrested fewer Blacks than what witnesses told them were Black offenders. In other words, in 15 of the 22 offense categories, witnesses identified Blacks as the offenders, but police arrested fewer Blacks. This may indicate that police may have given Blacks a break by probing witness statements more carefully than otherwise and finding evidence which contradicted witnesses’ accounts.
In some cases, slightly more Blacks are arrested than you would expect from witness reports. However, when you add up the offenses from all categories, the Black arrest rate is actually 14% lower than the percentage reported by witnesses. This data is from more than 6,000 different police departments.
Take a look at this graph from New York City where Blacks are a minority making up around 30% of the population.
This New York City graph shows the rate at which people of different races are arrested for different crimes. For Murder, the White arrest rate is about 1. In contrast, the Black arrest rate is 30.9, a huge difference that cannot be easily dismissed as prejudicial against Blacks. Even starker than the arrest rate for murder is the arrest rate for shootings. For shootings, the arrest rate is 98.4% for Blacks and 1% for Whites. Again, the difference in the rate is so great that even movements like Black Lives Matter will have extreme difficulty in attributing the difference to such phenomena as racial profiling.
As you will notice, in each crime category, Blacks commit more crime than Hispanics and Hispanics commit more crime than Asians. For the Black Lives Matter movement, this must mean the NYPD loves Whites and Asians. Right?
Let’s face it. The police arrest criminals. In the case of the U.S., if they arrest more Blacks than they do Whites and Asians, it is simply because Blacks commit more crime.
- Now Toronto: Meet the Faces of Toronto’s Black Lives Matter Tent City
- CP24: Woman Struck in Richmond Hill Seriously Injured
- The Star (commentary): Andrew Loku Tragedy Is Not About Race
- The Color of Crime. Race, Crime and Justice in America (PDF), 2nd, expanded edition, 2005