Bill O'Reilly references debunked statistics to prove black men aren't disproportionately killed by cops

"There doesn't seem to be... that police are trying to hunt down young black men and take their lives"

By Joanna Rothkopf
Published April 9, 2015 3:55PM (EDT)
Bill O'Reilly                   (Fox News)
Bill O'Reilly (Fox News)

On Wednesday evening's edition of "The O'Reilly Factor," Bill O'Reilly used the murder of Walter L. Scott as an excuse to spout the total fabrication that "police shootings of black Americans" are "way, way down."

"Police shootings have fallen 70 percent, police shootings of black Americans, 70 percent, in the last 40, 50 years. So they're way, way, down. In 2012, the last stats available, 123 blacks were killed by police, 326 whites were killed. So there doesn't seem to be, as some people would have you believe, that police are trying to hunt down young black men and take their lives."

However, O'Reilly got this number from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's fatal injuries database which is actually fairly unreliable since coroners and doctors are not obligated to disclose that there was police involvement in deaths they record. Given that fact, and the fact that the statistics O'Reilly used counts hispanic people as white, Politifact determined that O'Reilly's statistics are mostly false.

In fact, FiveThirtyEight reports that black people are killed at a much higher rate than white people:

 In 2014 and March of 2015,Mapping Police Violence counted 297 people killed by police around the country who were unarmed.1 Of those people, 117 were African-American, 167 were not, and the project couldn’t identify race for 13. That means 41 percent of unarmed people killed by police during that time in the database (with an identified race) were African-American, far out of proportion in a country that was 14 percent African-American in 2013. Among people who were armed when killed by police and for whom researchers had race data, 25 percent were African-American.

Watch the clip below, but remember to take O'Reilly's "facts" with a healthy dose of skepticism:

Joanna Rothkopf

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Bill O'reilly Crime Fox News Police Police Shootings The O'reilly Factor Video Walter L. Scott