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News > U.S.

Study: US Police 3x More Likely to Use Force Against the Left

  • The police in the United States is three times as likely to use force against leftwing protesters, data finds.

    The police in the United States is three times as likely to use force against leftwing protesters, data finds. | Photo: Twitter/@sinelo1968

Published 14 January 2021

According to new data from a non-profit that collects data on violence worlwide, police in the United States are three times as likely to deploy violence on leftwing protesters than rightwing protesters. 

The data find that police have used tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray, and beatings at a significantly higher percentage at Black Lives Matter protests than at pro-Trump protests.

Whether or not protests remained peaceful or not, police were far more likely to use force against the left-wing demonstrators.


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The study's statistics are based on police interactions in the United States since April 2020, demonstrating a clear disparity in how law enforcement agencies have treated groups from different ends of the political spectrum.

The data come from the US Crisis Monitor, a database created this spring by researchers at Princeton and the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit that has previously monitored civil unrest in the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America.

The study's researchers found that a vast majority of the thousands of the protests in the United States have remained peaceful and that most were not met with violent force from state security forces.

That said, according to the data upload this week, since April at 511 left-wing protests, versus only 33 right-wing protests, were met with police brutality. This means that 4.7% of leftwing protests versus 1.4% of rightwing protests receive acts of brutality from the police. 

When comparing peaceful leftwing to peaceful rightwing protests, the disparity only grows. Law enforcement officers were about 3.5 times more likely to use force against left-wing protests than right-wing protests, with about 1.8% of peaceful left-wing protests and only half a percent of peaceful right-wing protests met with teargas, rubber bullets, or other types of force.

Furthermore, U.S. law enforcement agencies made arrests or similar interventions in 9% of the 10,863 Black Lives Matter and other leftwing protests between April 1, 2020, and January 8, 2021, compared with only 4% of the 2,295 rightwing protests.

The US Crisis Monitor has previously found that, despite Trump’s rhetoric and the intense media coverage of property damage or violence during this summer's BLM protests, more than 93% of Black Lives Matter protests since April had involved no harm to people or damage to property.

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