Gov. Mike Pence (R) asserted during the vice presidential debate that police officers do not have implicit biases, despite the fact that black men and women are pulled over at far higher rates than white people.
Pence claimed that people “seize upon tragedy in the wake of police action shootings” and “use a broad brush to accuse law enforcement of implicit bias or institutional racism and that really has got to stop.”
As the Black Lives Matter has brought to national attention, police fatally shoot unarmed black men at disproportionate rates. A recent study documenting that disparity noted that officers may be biased in how they perceive threats.
Study after study finds that police use their personal biases in their work.
“The only thing that was significant in predicting whether someone shot and killed by police was unarmed was whether or not they were black,” Justin Nix, a criminal-justice researcher at the University of Louisville and an author of one recent report, told the Washington Post. “Crime variables did not matter in terms of predicting whether the person killed was unarmed.”
At least 194 black Americans have been killed by police so far this year.
Recently when Pence spoke about policing, after the shootings in Charlotte, North Carolina and Tulsa, Oklahoma, he said that there is too much talk of “institutional racism and institutional bias.”
Kaine has also said that “we need to step away from efforts by Hillary Clinton and others to paint law enforcement in this country with the broad brush of racial bias.”
Since high-profile police shootings have demanded the national spotlight, Democrats like Clinton have become more vocal about the rate at which black men and women are stopped and killed by police. Trump, Pence, and other conservatives like to claim that they are being too tough on law enforcement and that police officers are being unfairly targeted.
But Clinton has met with top law enforcement officers and has stated her support for the profession.
“I want to support them — our police officers — with the resources they need to do their jobs,” Clinton said. “I believe supporting our police officers and improving policing go hand in hand. Everyone is safer when there is respect for the law and when everyone is respected by the law.”
During the VP debate, Clinton also tweeted her disagreement with Pence about “implicit bias.”
Implicit bias is real. It hurts Americans. Anyone who'd outright deny its existence is unfit for the White House. #VPDebate
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 5, 2016