Ron Johnson slapped down for misusing data for his racist BLM attacks

In an interview with the Washington Post, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is accused of misusing data from a study on violence in America in his attempts to defend his racist remarks about Black Lives Matter.

Well over a week ago, Johnson attempted to defend the right-wing Capitol rioters by saying in an interview with conservative Joe Pags, "Now, had the tables been turned — Joe, this could get me in trouble — had the tables been turned and President Trump won the election and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned."

Since that time, Johnson has been hammered over his comments from both sides of the aisle and has been attempting to clean up the mess he made.

According to the Post, Johnson issued a statement on March 13 where he claimed, "Out of 7,750 protests last summer associated with BLM and Antifa, 570 turned into violent riots that killed 25 people and caused $1- $2 billion of property damage. That's why I would have been more concerned."

Speaking with the Post's Glenn Kessler, a spokesperson for the organization that compiled the study said the Republican is improperly using his data to cover for himself.

According to the report, Johnson confirmed he was using a report created by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), "a nonprofit data collection, analysis and crisis mapping project."

ACLED spokesperson Sam Jones accused Johnson of overstating his case.

With Kessler writing, "Johnson's biggest problem is that he assumes that any violent action or deaths can be attributed to Black Lives Matter or antifa. It's important to remember that antifa is a moniker, not a single group with a clear organizational structure or leader," Jones added, "The specific '570' number he referred to was the total number of all violent or destructive demonstrations recorded in the U.S. between May and August 2020, not just events that may have been linked to the Black Lives Matter movement Ultimately, ACLED recorded more than 10,300 demonstrations associated with the BLM movement in the U.S. during all of last year. It was an overwhelmingly peaceful movement: The vast majority of events — 94 percent — involved no violent or destructive activity."

Johnson went on to add, "ACLED data indicate that BLM-linked demonstrations faced much higher levels of police intervention and force than other types of demonstrations, for example, and in many of these cases police took a heavy-handed approach to break up the protests, prompting clashes with demonstrators and escalating the events into violence. Additionally, in some cases, violent or destructive behavior may have broken out as a result of aggressive intervention by counterdemonstrators or nonstate actors like militia groups, and BLM-linked demonstrations were also targeted in dozens of car-ramming attacks throughout the year."

According to Kessler, "In other words, Johnson carelessly suggests the BLM and antifa demonstrations are the cause of 25 deaths, but the list cites numerous examples of deaths linked to far-right actions."

"Johnson attributes 570 'riots' and 25 deaths to Black Lives Matter and antifa. But in reality not all of these events were associated with BLM or antifa, and even so, there is no information on the perpetrator or instigator of the violence. Johnson's use of the death statistic is especially misleading because a significant portion of the deaths are related to right-wing violence," the Washington Post reports with Kessler adding, "If the senator had studied the data more closely, perhaps he would have been more concerned about the crowd that gathered at the Capitol on Jan. 6."

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