“Law enforcement responses to more than 13,000 protests show a clear disparity in responses,” reports The Guardian in January 2021, citing statistics from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data (“ACLED”) project.
For that project, Princeton University researchers joined with the nonprofit experienced at monitoring unrest in the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America to create the U.S. Crisis Monitor (USCM).
That database tracked information from those 13,000-plus protests across the U.S. over 10 months. Included were leftwing BLM demonstrations, pro-Biden rallies, protests by Abolish ICE, the NAACP, Democratic Socialists of America, anti-fascists, and left-leaning militia groups, as well as right-leaning Blue Lives Matter movements, pro-Trump rallies, protests against coronavirus restrictions, Q’Anon conspiracy supporters, Save Our Children, and Stop The Steal rallies.
Data show that teargas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and batons have been used by police in 511 leftwing events out of the 10,800 recorded and only 33 of the 2,300 rightwing events. That’s a difference of 4.7% for the left as compared to 1.4% for the right, meaning that police used violent tactics against leftwing protestors at three times the rate of that against their rightwing counterparts.
Former President Barak Obama said the failure of the police to prevent the looting of the Capitol on January 6, 2021, gave a “useful frame of reference” to the violence and aggression shown by the same police during Black protests as compared to White ones.
The database showed that the majority of protests across the U.S. in the past year have been peaceful, but even then, police have been more prone to violence and securing arrests at leftwing events than right. “Police are not just engaging more because [leftwing protestors] are more violent,” said ACLED’s director of research and innovation Dr. Roudabeh Kishi. “They’re engaging more even with peaceful protestors. That’s the clear trend.”
Law enforcement made arrests in 9% of the leftwing events covered in the database but only 4% of the right. Half of the leftwing events where arrests were made recorded a use of force as compared to a third of the right.
A report prepared by the USCM suggests the violence was excessive and unnecessary. The overall percentage of peaceful protests was 94% for the left and 96% for the right despite what media coverage purported.
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