Eric Thompson

Black Harvard Professor Claims ‘All Hell Broke Loose’ Over His Findings On Racial Bias In Police Shootings

A Harvard professor’s work on police shootings landed him in the crosshairs of racial bias when “all hell broke loose” over publishing his findings.

“…I realized people lose their minds if they don’t like the result.”

Recently, journalist Bari Weiss sat down for a live Q&A with Harvard Economics professor Roland Fryer at the fledgling University of Austin where she is a founding trustee. As they engaged in a discussion before prospective students, the award-winning academic addressed a 2016 controversy that involved his findings that determined no “racial bias in police shooting.”

Explaining that he himself “expected to see it,” Fryer’s analysis showed that while non-fatal physical force from police officers was twice as likely to be used against blacks and Hispanics, the same could not be said for shootings. His research found officers were 23.8% less likely to shoot at blacks and 8.5% less likely to shoot at Hispanics than white perpetrators.

“When I found this surprising result, I hired 8 fresh [resident advisor] and redid it to make sure they came up with the same exact answer and I thought it was robust,” he explained to Weiss. “And I went to go give it and, my God, all hell broke loose.”

“It was in this moment, 2016, that I realized people lose their minds if they don’t like the result,” detailed Fryer who said peers who liked the first half of his findings were encouraging him not to publish the second half.

“I had colleagues take me to the side and say, ‘Don’t publish this. You’ll ruin your career,’” the professor recounted as he detailed one critique calling his work “full of sh*t” only minutes after publishing to dense analysis comprising over 100 pages. He also recounted a 30 to 40-day period where he had to live with security. At that time, Fryer’s daughter was also only seven days old and he said, “I was going to the grocery store to get diapers with the armed guard. It was crazy. It was really, truly crazy.”

As it happened, the now-former president of Harvard Claudine Gay, who resigned in disgrace following plagiarism allegations and her caged response to Congress on condemning campus antisemitism, had asserted Fryer had “exhibited a pattern of behavior” that didn’t meet the expectations of the community when he faced a two-year suspension for alleged “unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.”

“The totality of these behaviors,” Gay had said regarding his analysis as well, “is a clear violation of institutional norms and a betrayal of the trust.”

When asked by Weiss about karma following the president’s resignation, Fryer had remarked, “I hear it’s a motherf*cker.”

Additionally, he was asked about the disparity between himself and his colleagues who had discouraged him from publishing his findings on police shootings. In response, the professor expressed, “I don’t covet what they covet. And I tell my undergraduates every year in the final lecture of my undergraduate class, each one of them, the key to Harvard is get a great education without letting this place change you.”

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