New data from Princeton University show that riots associated with the Black Lives Matter movement took place in 48 out of the 50 largest cities in the United States.
The study found:
In more than 93% of all demonstrations connected to the movement, demonstrators have not engaged in violence or destructive activity. Peaceful protests are reported in over 2,400 distinct locations around the country. Violent demonstrations, meanwhile, have been limited to fewer than 220 locations — under 10% of the areas that experienced peaceful protests.
Mainstream media seized on the data last week to argue that the “Trump narrative” of violent demonstrations was false. The study itself speculated that public perceptions of riots were skewed by “political orientation and biased media framing” and “disproportionate coverage of violent demonstrations.”
Princeton University group studies 3 months of Black Lives Matter protests. Intent is to show they are 'overwhelmingly peaceful.' But report reveals nearly 570 violent demonstrations–riots–in nearly 220 locations spread all across country. https://t.co/it60GBbTZT pic.twitter.com/Ph8iECyHIf
— Byron York (@ByronYork) September 5, 2020
However, public perceptions may simply have reflected the wide geographic distribution of the violence.
The Princeton data set shows that nearly every major city in the United States experienced riots from late May to the end of August — even under the narrow definition that the study used to classify riots (as separate from events described as police violence against protesters).
The only exceptions within the top 50 cities by population were Fresno, California, and Mesa, Arizona.
Thus in the public imagination, the proportion that matters most may not be the 7% of protests that were violent, but the 96% of major urban areas that experienced rioting.
Within the largest 100 cities by population, 74 experienced riots.
Several smaller communities have also experienced riots, including — most recently — Rochester, New York, and Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.