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Numbers of black Americans murdered increased in wake of defund the police movement, report

The murder rate for all Americans skyrocketed in 2020, but the disconcerting crime pattern disproportionately impacted black communities.

Published: April 19, 2022 10:10am

Updated: April 19, 2022 11:54am

Support for calls across the nation to to defund police departments nationwide and pandemic-related factors has led to an increase in the number of murders of black Americans, according to an analysis by the Manhattan Institute.

The overall murder rate increased 30% from 2020 to 2021, according to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Among white Americans, the figure rose about 21%, and among black Americans, the figure rose by more than 32%.

Calls to defund police departments followed the May 2020 death of George Floyd, a black male, while in the custody on Minneapolis police. 

In 2019, just under 7,500 black Americans were killed. That number increased to nearly 10,000 in 2020. 

Hannah Meyers, director of the policing and public safety initiative at the conservative-leaning institute, told Fox news that the post-George Floyd 2020 riots "followed a pattern of spiking violence that we've seen following past viral police incidents, such as the deaths of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray. This pattern has been termed the 'Ferguson Effect': police pull back while violent crime spikes precipitously." 

Brown, a black male, died during a 2014 encounter with a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

The crime spike of 2020 arrived "with a speed and magnitude that make Ferguson 1.0 seem tranquil," wrote the Manhattan Institute's Heath Mac Donald during the summer of 2020. "George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police in late May was justly condemned – but the event has now spurred an outpouring of contempt against the pillars of law and order that has no precedent in American history."

Floyd's death followed a summer of nationwide social justice protests amid the pandemic, which challenged police efforts across the country.

FBI data also shows that in 2020, 7,043 white people were murdered – about 3,000 fewer than blacks, despite about 60% of the U.S. population being white and just 13.4% being black, according to data from the most recent U.S. census. The increase in black murders is also a 43% in 2020, as compared to the previous 10-year average. 

Rafael Mangual, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, testified before the Senate last year explaining that various studies have found that increased policing leads to less crime and directly benefits communities of color and their life expectancies. 

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