Black lives that didn’t matter enough in Baltimore

Yesterday, I pointed out that the annual number of homicides in Baltimore was around 215 in the five years before the left and the Obama administration undermined the police force there following the death of Freddy Gray. In the five years since, the average number of homicides per year is around 335.

That’s 625 excess deaths.

How many of the lives lost were black lives? To me it doesn’t matter. Black lives and white lives are of equal value. However, the racial breakdown should matter to the BlackLivesMatter movement.

According to this article in the Baltimore Sun, nearly all of Baltimore’s homicide victims in 2019 were black. I infer that nearly all of the 625 victims whose deaths we can attribute to the diminution of policing in the city since mid 2015 were black.

Were any lives saved by Baltimore’s passive policing? According to the ACLU, in the five years before the change of policing in Baltimore, 109 civilians died in police encounters in the entire state of Maryland. Blacks made up 69 percent of this group, so 75 of those who died at the hands of the police in Maryland were black.

In Baltimore City, there were 31 such deaths during this period. I think we should assume that all, or virtually all, of the dead were black.

The ACLU says that around 59 percent of the blacks in Maryland who died in police encounters during this five year period were armed. Applying this percentage (which may or may not be reliable) to Baltimore, the result is 12 unarmed blacks killed in encounters with the police in the five years.

What about the five years since the Freddy Gray killing? According to the Washington Post’s database, the police have shot and killed 79 people in Maryland since 2015 (if I’m reading the study correctly). That’s a four-and-a-half year period, and the number does not include deaths by other than shooting. Nor does it tell us (1) how many of those shot and killed were black or (2) how many of these shootings occurred in Baltimore.

The ACLU has posted the names of approximately 125 African-Americans it says died at the hands of the police since Gray’s death. Again, I can’t tell how many of these deaths occurred in Baltimore.

Therefore, I don’t know whether or what extent the alteration in policing in Baltimore reduced the number of blacks killed in encounters with police. But let’s assume for the sake of argument that the alteration in policing eliminated killings of blacks in Baltimore by the police (and let’s put aside the question of the extent to which some killings of blacks by police from 2010 through 2014 were justified).

Even in this utterly implausible scenario, Baltimore’s black lives trade-off from reduced policing was around 600 blacks killed vs. 31 black lives saved.

No rational person to whom black lives matter would accept this trade-off.

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