HOUSTON, TX - The headline splashed nationwide; "There is no racial bias in Houston police shootings."
It all started when Harvard professor and economist, Roland Fryer, studied data supplied by police departments in 10 major US cities. His research found no distinction between Houston Blacks, Latinos or Whites during officer involved shootings in city. According to the study, Houstonians are all equal when police fire their weapons.
Not so, says the Greater Houston Coalition for Justice. Coalition member, Agustin Pinedo says, "We're here today to denounce the findings of that study, that there's no disparity in the shootings and killings between Black, White and Latino. We beg to differ."
The group cites numerous cases of excessive and deadly force against Houston minorities by HPD over the last few years that remain unresolved. The coalition claims the study is flawed, because the data comes from the very same department it's supposed to be looking into. Coalition member, Johnny Mata says, "Officers or police departments are not going to put something in writing that will make the police department look bad."
The group also cites a New York Times article from February of this year, which seems to contradict the Harvard findings. Pinedo reads, "The HPD officers have shot more civilians than the police departments of several other large cities. The vast majority of unarmed shooting victims have been African-Americans or Latinos."
So which is it? Are police shootings in Houston really color blind, or is the study not as black and white as it suggests? You be the judge.